Barring a miracle, Lamar Jackson’s 2021 season is over.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced during his Friday press conference that Tyler Huntley would be the starter for Baltimore against the Steelers on Sunday, and the team’s injury report listed Jackson as out for the regular-season finale.
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Jackson has not played since being carted off the field with an ankle injury during the team’s Week 14 loss to the Browns and did not practice this week.
The week before Jackson’s injury, the Ravens fell to the Steelers 20-19 when Baltimore scored a late touchdown that would have tied the game with a made point-after try, but instead the Ravens went for two to try and take a 21-20 lead, and the attempt came up short.
To keep their season alive and give Jackson a chance to return, the Ravens will need to beat the Steelers this time and get some help from other teams. They would need the Patriots to beat or tie the Dolphins. They also need to hope that the Raiders can beat the Chargers on “Sunday Night Football.” And perhaps the tallest task, they need the Jaguars to beat the Colts.
With all that taking place, the Ravens would sneak into the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in the AFC, setting up a wild-card matchup against the AFC’s No. 2 team.
If Baltimore cannot get all the results to fall its way this weekend, Jackson will have to wait until 2022 to appear again in a Ravens uniform. He would finish the regular season with a 7-5 record, a completion percentage of 64.4 percent, 16 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also has rushed 133 times for 767 yards and two more touchdowns.
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Huntley has proven himself more than adequate filling in for Jackson as the starting quarterback. Huntley turned in a stellar performance against the Packers in his first start for Baltimore in Week 15, passing for 215 yards, two touchdowns and rushing for 73 yards and two scores. Overall on the year, he has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 940 yards, three touchdowns and two picks with 222 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
If Baltimore misses the playoffs, it will be the first time in four years that the Ravens are not among the last teams vying for a Super Bowl. They were division champions in 2018 and 2019 and made it to the playoffs as a wild-card team in 2020. It will also be the first time during that span that the Ravens (8-8) haven’t tallied at least 10 wins.