For most of the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens looked like the class of the NFL. Lamar Jackson might have seemed unstoppable, but, on Saturday night, the Tennessee Titans had other plans. The visiting team came into Maryland, punched the Ravens in the gut, and left with the win. Everyone, from head coach John Harbaugh down, was stunned.
Although it will take a while to perform a proper postmortem, Harbaugh already has an idea of what went wrong. After the game, the head coach revealed that his team failed in one specific area.
The Baltimore Ravens’ shocking loss
While the Tennessee Titans came to Baltimore as the sixth seed, the visiting club didn’t show any fear. The forced an early turnover, produced some highlight-reel plays, started feeding Derrick Henry, and never looked back; according to head coach Mike Vrabel, that hot start was the key to success. “They were beating people with shock and awe in the first quarter,” he explained. “We knew we had to do it with some turnovers and fourth-down stops. That’s the only way you can do it. Make Tucker kick some field goals.”
While the Ravens did make a bit of a comeback, Lamar Jackson never truly found his feet. The young quarterback’s stat line may have looked impressive from afar—365 passing yards and 143 rushing yards—he turned the ball over three times and only completed 31 of 59 passes. The Titans forced Baltimore to become a passing team, and, at the end of the night, their aerial attack wasn’t good enough to win.
John Harbaugh reveals how the Tennessee Titans beat his team
While no playoff game will ever be easy, the Baltimore Ravens were supposed to dispatch the Tennessee Titans without too many problems. Despite their talent, though, John Harbaugh’s men didn’t come out on top.
“I felt like this was the best football team that it could be this year,” the Ravens’ coach said. “With the group that we had, we made the most of us, becoming the best football team we could be. We just weren’t that today, and that’s the disappointing thing.”
The coach went on to reveal where he felt his team lost the game. For all of the Ravens’ offensive and defensive potential, they failed to do the little things and win at the line of scrimmage.
“The trenches on both sides, they played extremely well,” Harbaugh explained. “That was the biggest difference.”
What comes next for the Titans and the Ravens?
After knocking off the top seed in the AFC, the Tennessee Titans have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. While they’ll face a trip to either Kansas City of Houston next weekend, the team is no stranger to winning as an underdog; with Derrick Henry in the backfield and plenty of swagger, the Titans are capable of beating any opponent at the moment.
In Baltimore, however, things will be much less exciting. Over the coming weeks and months, there will be plenty of painful memories and uncomfortable conversations. When the dust clears, though, the Ravens still have plenty of potential. Despite Saturday’s loss, the club still boasts talent on both sides of the ball; two playoff losses, no matter how painful they are, shouldn’t overshadow Lamar Jackson’s elite skill set.
“We’re a young team, especially on our offense,” Jackson said after the game. “We’re going to get better. We only can get better. It’s only up from here.” Ravens fans will have to hope that he’s right.