Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson proved to be a mere mortal by turning in a mediocre performance in a 17-10 loss to Kansas City Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. It might be time to start thinking about why Jackson does not show up in the big games and could not get this win at home before a packed house and a national television audience.
There is no tomorrow for Baltimore as the loss ends the Ravens season and sends the Kansas City Chiefs to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl on February 11 against the NFC Champions, either the Detroit Lions or the San Francisco 49ers.
Jackson, the odds on favorite to win the Most Valuable Player Award for the regular season, sees his post season end in despair as he could never get on track against a stingy Kansas City defense.
Jackson finished the game by going 20-of-37 passing for 272 yards and one touchdown. He also suffered an interception.
"Our goal was short, but I'm very proud of my team in all phases," Jackson said after the game. "We made it all the way to this point, but we have to finish next time. I am not frustrated at all, I'm angry about losing, we were a game away from the Super Bowl. We've been waiting all this time, all these moments for an opportunity like this, and we fell short. We will try to be in this position again but on the other side of victory. "
Ravens coach John Harbaugh had his head held high after the game and was complimentary of Jackson and his team's performance.
"The quarterback made a statement the whole year," Harbaugh said. "The message is eyes straight ahead. Chin up, chest out and concentrate on what you did accomplish. The team had a lot of challenges and they proved a lot of people wrong all year."
Jackson and the Ravens could only muster one touchdown drive the entire game. During one first-half possession Jackson hit rookie Zay Flowers for a 30-yard touchdown that tied the game at 7-7.
That is where the fun ended for Jackson as his day progressively got worse.
"We had some opportunities," Jackson said after the loss. "We just didn't take advantage. Can't turn the ball over."
In the fourth quarter Flowers was on the receiving end of a 54-yard pass from Jackson and appeared as though he was on his way to score his second touchdown of the game, but he got hit at the one-yard line by Chiefs'' L'Jarius Sneed who jarred the ball loose. Trent McDuffie recovered the fumble in the end zone for a Kansas City touchback.
Finally, with 6:54 remaining to play in the game, Jackson was picked off by Deon Bush of the Chiefs as he was looking for tight end Isaiah Likely. The end zone interception spelled denial for Jackson and the Ravens were turned away once again. They could never muster any offense after that, despite a 43-yard Justin Tucker field goal with 2:34 to play in the contest.
All week Jackson kept saying that "to be a champion, you have got to go through a champion,". That did not happen on Sunday afternoon.
"My hat goes off to the Ravens, its a great environment to play in," Kansas City head coach Andy Reid said. "Our defense was outstanding."
The true highlight of the game for Jackson, despite the touchdown, was in the first half when he became a triple-threat quarterback. We knew he could run the ball and throw the ball, but he also caught one of his own passes that was batted in the air by the Chiefs defensive line and earned a first down.