Richard Sherman defends 49ers’ hits on Lamar Jackson: ‘It is a tough position to put the defense in’


BALTIMORE — After Sunday’s game, there was somewhat of a bitter taste in the mouths of some Ravens players about the hits that Lamar Jackson took from the 49ers. 

One, in particular, a hit from 49ers safety Jimmie Ward in the third quarter, left Ravens players and coaches — notably coach John Harbaugh — furious with the lack of a penalty. 

"I don't care,” Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference. “I’m not getting into it. Our job is to protect our quarterback. The officials’ job is to officiate the game. They called two roughing the passer (penalties) when he was in the pocket. It is what it is."

Harbaugh had to be held back by Jackson after the hit in question from Ward. 

Richard Sherman, who received an earful from Harbaugh after the play, had his own version of the play. 

“...That’s the thing the league needs to clarify as a defensive player, you don’t want to hit the quarterback, you want to stay off of him, but when he is about to run, there is a fine line between him faking like he is going out and getting an extra six or seven yards, and him going out of bounds,” Sherman said. 

While he clearly took issue with the outrage, Sherman sees an issue for players that could pop up as they face more mobile quarterbacks who frequently escape the pocket.

“That is where it is tough on defensive players,” Sherman continued. “Every play where the quarterback slides, they are like, ‘Oh my God, that should be a flag,’ but he was running just a half-second ago, and you are making a split-second decision like, ‘Hey I’ve got to tackle him,’ and then he slides. It is a tough position to put the defense in, but I think our guys did a great job.”  


Jackson was on the receiving end of two roughing the passer penalties but otherwise didn’t draw a call outside the pocket all afternoon. 

“They were going after him for sure,” Marshal Yanda said. “That’s football. Obviously, when he is a runner, they are not going to let up. That is part of the playing and that is good defense.”

Sunday’s game was the first time in weeks where the Ravens found themselves in a close game, and against one of the NFL’s top defenses, there was a fair share of big hits to go around.

“I think they definitely were trying to take advantage of him as far as once he got past the line of scrimmage or running out of bounds,” Orlando Brown Jr. said. “A few times, I think it should’ve been a penalty but that’s not my responsibility, that’s on the refs, but Lamar did a great job popping back up and getting right back to it.”

If anything, the 49ers may have given the Ravens a look at what opposing defenses may do to take Jackson off his game.

“We’re just going to fight our way out of it,” Mark Ingram said. “Of course they’re going to take shots at Lamar. He’s an electric athlete. When he has the ball in his hands, standing in the pocket, he can deliver it. But we’ve got his back. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure they don’t get to him.”