A loss to the Titans ended the Ravens’ season a year ago, but they’ll march on in the playoffs this time.
Cornerback Marcus Peters picked Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill off on the first play after the two-minute warning and Lamar Jackson ran for 33 yards a couple of plays later to help ensure that the clock would run out on the Titans. The 20-13 win is the change in narrative that Jackson was looking for after losses in their last two playoff openers and he had a lot to do with it.
Jackson was 17-of-24 for 179 yards through the air and he ran 15 times for 137 yards and a touchdown. He and Colin Kaepernick are the only two quarterbacks with multiple 100-yard rushing games in the postseason.
Jackson’s 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter erased what was left of an early 10-0 Titans lead and the Ravens took the lead for good on J.K. Dobbins‘ third-quarter touchdown run.
The Ravens may not have been able to change the narrative about their team if Titans head coach Mike Vrabel had been a bit more aggressive in the fourth quarter. He opted to punt on 4th-and-2 from the Ravens’ 40-yard line while down four points with 10 minutes left in the game.
Baltimore drove for a field goal on the ensuing drive, although it could have been more if not for a questionable offensive pass interference call on wide receiver Willie Snead. Snead’s penalty wiped out a fourth down conversion that would have kept Baltimore driving inside of five minutes, but they settled for a field goal that extended their lead to seven points.
The Titans got the ball back, but Tannehill’s interception gave the Ravens a chance to run out the clock. It also ended a bad day all around for the Titans Offense. Derrick Henry only managed 40 yards on 18 carries and they picked up just 139 yards outside of a first-quarter touchdown drive.
Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s work has earned him head coaching interviews. There’s been less buzz about Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, but his unit’s work on Sunday may earn him some consideration from the six teams looking for new head coaches.
Martindale still has plenty of work to do in Baltimore as well. They’ll play the Chiefs next week if the Steelers win on Sunday night or they’ll be in Buffalo if the Browns win in Pittsburgh.