After a disappointing loss in the Wild Card matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, many are speculating whether Joe Flacco should’ve came in for relief of Lamar Jackson.
Here’s three reasons why the Ravens made the right call in keeping Jackson in:
Outplaying His Competition
After starting 4-5 with Flacco, the Ravens needed to switch things up, thus going with Jackson as the Ravens starter.
In the next half of the season, the Ravens went 6-1, finishing 10-6. Jackson led the Ravens to a division title and a playoff berth.
As a starter, Jackson nearly matched Flacco’s 61.2 completion percentage by locking in a 58.2 percentage. In addition, he gained around 7.1 yards per attempt, beating Flacco’s 6.5 yards per attempt. Flacco threw six interceptions in his nine games played, whereas Jackson only threw three.
Jackson’s completion percentage and having less interceptions than Flacco showed that he had a better impact. Yesterday, just wasn’t his day to get a win, but he still shined by throwing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone.
The Louisville standout showed to be more effective than Flacco. Both from a statistical perspective as well as simply using the eye test.
Saving Grace (or Harbaugh)
The team was energized by the quarterback change. They went from playing listless and lifeless to playing with animation. Their confidence rose with each win down the stretch of the year beating the likes of the Chargers and Browns to get in the postseason.
This was all the perfect recipe for head coach John Harbaugh. There were rumors all year concerning the status. It was simple for him: Make the playoffs or else.
It just may be possible that Jackson saved Harbaugh’s job. That just goes to show that the Ravens made the right call in starting him. If Harbaugh would have kept starting Flacco, the Ravens may have continued to shoot themselves in the foot.
Keeping Jackson in through the second half was a wise move. The fact of the matter is you keep the player in that got you to the playoffs. However, there is a new narrative coming to life.
Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston said, with a first-round loss to LA, those rumors could be coming back. So, it remains to be seen what happens with Harbaugh.
Jackson was the only quarterback drafted in the first round to appear in a playoff game this season. He was the youngest quarterback to start a playoff game ever.
The former Heisman Trophy winner got this far by playing with a chip on his shoulder. The odds were stacked against him as he was viewed as a receiver by some teams heading into last spring’s NFL Draft. Jackson played with a chip on his shoulder that was felt by his team. Benching Jackson would have took the wind out of their sails.
Despite the quick playoff exit, Flacco wasn’t mad about not playing. In fact, he felt Jackson’s performance was great and even told reporters “not to go there” and that “he did a great job of hanging in there and giving [the Ravens] a chance at the end.”
It’s evident that Jackson is the Ravens quarterback for years to come. Benching him would have ruined his psyche and stunted his growth as a player.