Ryan Wormeli

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If this is the end for Marshal Yanda, it’s been a Hall of Fame ride

If this is the end for Marshal Yanda, it’s been a Hall of Fame ride

Despite long ago establishing himself as one of the best players of his generation, Marshal Yanda isn’t interested in talking about himself.

That’s been true every step of the way, from his draft selection in the third round in 2007 through his seven First or Second-Team All-Pro selections. It will be true if (when) he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. And it was true Saturday night after one of the most crushing losses of his storied career.

“No, no,” Yanda said while he quickly shut down any questions about his potential retirement. “I am not going to talk about my future right now.”

It’s hard for Ravens fans not to consider it, however. Yanda contemplated retirement after the 2018 season, and though he is still playing at a high level, it’s only a matter of time before his days in purple and black are over.

Yanda may not be the best offensive lineman in the league anymore, but he still made the Pro Bowl in 2019. In fact, he hasn’t missed a Pro Bowl for reasons other than injury since 2010.

It was a legendary decade for one of the greatest Ravens in franchise history, and fans everywhere were hoping to see him cap his career - if this indeed is the end - with another Super Bowl run.

Count Yanda among those hoping for it.

“I’m not assessing my whole career and whatnot,” he began. “But it definitely is a tough way to end. How hot we ended the season, a 12-game streak, and to have them come into our house, and beat us at home, that is tough.”

“It is tough to reflect right now just because of the loss and all of the emotions going into it,” Yanda continued. “Yes, we had a great year, but still at the end of the day, we want to keep going. We want to keep playing. We had bigger goals than to be one and done in the playoffs. But that is playoff football."

The most common word used by Yanda and the rest of the team describing Saturday’s loss was “tough.” It’s never easy when a team’s season suddenly ends, and it was especially difficult for a Ravens team not used to being the hunted.

The Titans earned their victory, out-Ravens-ing the Ravens from the moment the game began. They were tough, physical, and played their brand of football, while the Ravens found themselves out of sorts for most of the night.

It’s not an excuse the Ravens are pointing to, but Yanda did accuse Tennessee of some extracurricular activities on the field that certainly didn't help.

What makes this accusation extra shocking is who it comes from; Yanda is among the most level-headed players in Ravens history, and he has never publicly called out an individual player before.

If Tennessee’s Simmons is smart, he’ll listen to what Yanda has to say. The big guard has earned the respect and admiration of his coaches and peers, and he’s seen it all in his 13 NFL seasons.

That experience was key for a Ravens offensive line this season that mostly relied on its youth in the process of blocking for the best offense in the league.

Baltimore shattered decades-old NFL records while revolutionizing modern offense. It’s not hyperbolic to suggest the Ravens laid a foundation for offense that will be copied around the league for years to come. Lamar Jackson deservedly gets the bulk of the credit, while Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown are mentioned often too.

But the 2019 season doesn’t happen without the offensive line, and the offensive line doesn’t happen without Yanda. His veteran presence helped young players like Orlando Brown Jr. and Ronnie Stanley develop into Pro Bowl bookend tackles, while he played the latter part of the season next to an undrafted rookie center in Patrick Mekari.

It may not be the most obvious piece of the puzzle, but every great offense throughout NFL history can point to a strong offensive line, and Yanda was as crucial a piece of the Ravens’ puzzle as anyone.

Whatever his ultimate decision, Yanda’s optimism for the team isn’t going anywhere.

“We have a good football team. We did not play our best football today, but that does not take away from us winning 12 games in a row and a really good regular season,” he said proudly. “This is a young, good football team, and they are going to do some great things.”

Ravens fans everywhere are hoping what Yanda really meant to say was “we are going to do some great things.”

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All the impressive NFL records Lamar Jackson set before his 23rd birthday

All the impressive NFL records Lamar Jackson set before his 23rd birthday

Lamar Jackson’s laundry list of incredible accomplishments in his young career is already enough to make most NFL players blush. 

The breakout star of the 2019 season holds a 20-4 career record, leading the Ravens to the top overall seed in the league this year while establishing himself as the heavy favorite to take home the Most Valuable Player award.

What makes his stardom so impressive isn’t just how early it’s come in his career; it’s how early it’s come in his life.

On Tuesday, Jackson celebrated his 23rd birthday.

Let that sink in. 23 years of age. And he’s already playing in his second NFL postseason.

Feeling old yet?

To celebrate Jackson’s big day, several reporters and outlets took to Twitter to recognize some of the ludicrous numbers the quarterback has compiled in his career to date. Here are some of the most jaw-dropping.

The Ravens’ social team put together a graphic highlighting Jackson’s historic season, in which he played the entire year as a 22-year old.

Per Pro-Football-Reference, many of these are NFL records for his age. Jackson is the youngest 1st Team All-Pro quarterback in league history. His five 100-yard rushing games are the most ever by a 22-year old quarterback, with only one other player having as many as three.

His 36 passing touchdowns are the most in a single season for a quarterback under the age of 23, with no one else above 30. 

His 113.3 season passer rating is also a record-high at his age, with only Deshaun Watson (103.0) and Robert Griffin III (102.4) even above 100. No other quarterback so young has enjoyed multiple games with a perfect passer rating in the same season before.

His 1,206 rushing yards are, of course, the most for any quarterback in NFL history at any age.

His yards per carry is also the second-highest total for anybody age-22 or younger, at any position, in NFL history, and his seven rushing touchdowns are the third-most.

Jackson is the only player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 30 touchdowns in the same season. His feat is likely going to make him only the second NFL MVP younger than 23, alongside the legendary Jim Brown.

As other outlets have mentioned, his improbably resume extends both back to college, and looking forward to his potential achievements this postseason.

With talent like his, it's no surprise Jackson is considered one of the future faces of the NFL. What is surprising is the sheer totality of a portfolio like this one on his 23rd birthday.

In reality, Jackson is already one of the two or three faces of the league. Accordingly, plenty of celebrities -- both local and international -- chimed in to wish the fully-fledged star a happy 23rd birthday.

If anybody can break the infamous Drake curse, it's Lamar Jackson. 

Ultimately, Jackson doesn't care about any of these individual accolades, an unsurprising note from somebody who has yet to open the box containing his Heisman Trophy.

Jackson's eyes remain on the same thing they always have -- a Super Bowl victory. If it happens, it will be a month late, but there isn't a better possible belated gift for the biggest name in Baltimore.

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How to watch Wizards vs Celtics 'Predict the Game' broadcast

How to watch Wizards vs Celtics 'Predict the Game' broadcast

The Washington Wizards are playing host to the Boston Celtics Monday night in the nation's capital. The Celtics enter Monday's contest having won eight of their last nine games, though the Wizards are coming off perhaps the biggest win of their season, a 128-114 rout of the Nuggets.

The 25-8 Celtics are currently in second place in the top-heavy Eastern Conference, while the 11-24 Wizards are in 12th. The Wizards do have the advantage of rest, as Monday's matchup will be their sixth consecutive home game.

Thanks to fluctuating rosters, the Wizards-Celtics rivalry isn't quite what it was a few years ago, but the Wizards will still be prepared to take on their Eastern Conference foe. As always, Isaiah Thomas matching up with the Celtics is especially exciting as well, considering his history with the franchise.

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS VS. CELTICS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics, 2019-20 NBA Regular Season Game 36

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Celtics will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, and the Predict The Game broadcast will be on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Celtics on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS VS. CELTICS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders
6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Wizards vs. Celtics (Regular broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, Predict the Game broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus)
9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Wizards Talk

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

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