Lamar winless no more, leads Ravens past Titans; Saints beat Bears

  • Associated Press Baltimore Ravens players stake their claim it to the Tennessee Titans' logo at the 50-yard line Sunday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Lamar Jackson finally has his first postseason victory — and on the road, no less.

Combine that with Baltimore smothering 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry, and the Ravens look playoff tough.

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Jackson ran for 136 yards and a 48-yard touchdown while throwing for 179 more as the Ravens rallied from 10 points down and beat the Tennessee Titans 20-13 Sunday in their AFC wild-card game.

Baltimore also held Tennessee to its fewest points all season.

The Titans (11-6) had the ball and a chance to tie when Marcus Peters intercepted Ryan Tannehill’s pass intended for Kalif Raymond with 1:50 left. After the turnover, the Ravens came onto the field and started waving good-bye to the Titans — drawing a taunting penalty they didn’t mind at all.

“We finished finally,” Jackson said. “We finally finished.”

Tannehill thought Raymond was bumped by Peters.

“It definitely looked like it could’ve been a flag and probably should’ve been, but it wasn’t thrown so here we are,” Tannehill said.

The Ravens (12-5) snapped a string of 21 straight games lost by the franchise in either the regular season or playoffs when trailing by 10 or more. They will play either top-seeded Kansas City or Buffalo in a divisional game set up by how Baltimore stopped Henry for the first time in three games.

The All-Pro ran all over the Ravens with 328 yards rushing combined in the past two meetings. With both Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams back on the Baltimore D-line, Henry had his worst performance this season with 18 carries for 40 yards.

“Our defense was tired of hearing the noise,” Jackson said. “And they did what they were supposed to do.”

Henry credited the Ravens with being the better team.

“This definitely is going to sting probably in my mind for the rest of this year until we suit back up,” said Henry, who missed two key plays following an 8-yard carry early in the fourth quarter after losing a shoe.

Baltimore also slowed a Tennessee offense that tied for fourth averaging 30.7 points a game and had more offensive yards per game during the season than any team but Kansas City. The Ravens finished with a 401-209 yards edge in total offense.

“This may be the best win I’ve ever been associated with …,” said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, who won a Super Bowl eight years ago and now has eight road playoff victories, surpassing the career mark of Hall of Famer Tom Landry and Tom Coughlin. “It was a very strong effort. Our tackling was strong, all the outside backers. That kind of physicality. We were able to hit him with multiple helmets and take him back.”

The Titans lost their first home playoff game in 12 years and now have had three of their past eight postseasons ended on their own field by Baltimore.

“We won the division, hosted a home playoff game,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “Wasn’t good enough today. Our guys competed and battled and came up short.”

Tennessee sacked Jackson five times and got an interception. But the Titans couldn’t slow Jackson enough after halftime. Jackson turned in the sixth 100-yard rushing game by a quarterback in the postseason, and joined Colin Kaepernick with two.

The Titans took a 10-0 lead with Tannehill tossing a 10-yard TD pass to Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown. Stephen Gostkowski kicked a field goal set up by Malcolm Butler’s interception, his first in the postseason since picking off Russell Wilson in Super Bowl 49 to preserve New England’s win over the Seahawks.

“We didn’t get rattled,” Jackson said.

Baltimore’s defense, the second-stingiest scoring unit in the NFL, took over. The Ravens held Tennessee to minus-7 yards in the second quarter, the third fewest in any quarter of a playoff game since the 2000 season.

The 2019 NFL MVP set up a 33-yard field goal by Justin Tucker with a 28-yard pass to Marquise Brown. Jackson then tied it by breaking loose for a 48-yard TD run, diving for the pylon —the second-longest TD run by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era behind Kaepernick’s 56-yarder for the 49ers against the Packers on Jan. 12, 2013.

“It’s the best run I’ve seen by a quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “It just got us back in the game. We needed points at that point.”

Rookie J.K. Dobbins made it 17-10 with a 4-yard TD run to open the third quarter. That gave him a rushing TD in seven straight games, second only to Maurice Jones-Drew ‘s eight in 2006 since the 1970 merger.

SAINTS 21, BEARS 9

NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees completed 28 of 39 passes for 265 yards, connecting with Michael Thomas and Latavius Murray for touchdowns, and New Orleans defeated Chicago in an NFC wild-card game.

Alvin Kamara rushed for 99 yards and added a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter after sitting out the regular-season finale and not practicing this past week because of COVID-19 protocols.

The victory for the Saints (13-4) and Brees, who turns 42 on Friday, sets up a divisional-round meeting next weekend in the Superdome with Tampa Bay and 43-year-old QB Tom Brady.

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The Bears (8-9) put forth a scrappy performance defensively that prevented the Saints from building more than a one-touchdown lead until Murray’s 6-yard catch-and-run score made it 14-3 late in the third quarter.

But the Chicago offense struggled most of the game against a defense that ranked fourth in the NFL. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky completed 19 of 29 passes for 199 yards and one inconsequential TD pass to tight end Jimmy Graham as time expired. The Bears were held to 48 yards rushing.

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