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Where was Joe Flacco in the Ravens' playoff loss to the Chargers?

Where was Joe Flacco in the Ravens' playoff loss to the Chargers?

It will be a question that will linger well into the offseason for the Baltimore Ravens.

With the season on the line in a home playoff game and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson struggling, should head coach John Harbaugh have made the move to bring in Joe Flacco to provide the sputtering Ravens offense with a much-needed spark?

The Ravens fell to the Los Angeles Chargers 23-17 on Sunday, bringing an end to their season. And while Jackson’s final stat line of 194 yards and two touchdowns and 54 yards rushing can be considered respectable for a rookie making his first playoff start after having been inserted in the starting lineup midway through the season, his first half performance (1 INT, 2 fumbles) put the team in a hole they couldn’t climb out of.

Even with Jackson leading a late-game comeback effort, the Ravens’ offense appeared out of sync from the opening snap.

As Flacco sat on the sidelines, those in favor of making that move would point to his 10-5 record as a starting quarterback in the playoffs, his Super Bowl MVP and his overall experience on the big stage where the game speeds up and the stakes are higher.

And in the playoffs, in a win-or-go-home scenario, it’s bigger that both Jackson and Flacco, it’s about doing what’s best for the team to advance and live to play another weekend.

But the Ravens would not have been in the position they were on Sunday had it not been for Jackson. He, along with a stifling defense, led the team unlikely division title, something that seemed far-fetched when he took over as the starter. Those in favor of Harbaugh’s decision to stick with Jackson would point to the thinking that you stick with what got you to this point.

There will be second-guessing, but whether not Flacco could’ve made the difference against a Chargers team looking for revenge for a Week 16 loss will never be known.

Once Harbaugh committed to Jackson during the season, there no turning back, not even in the playoffs.

And with Jackson the presumptive future face of the team, Harbaugh made the call to win or lose with Jackson, which was the right one.  Now that Jackson has gotten his first taste of postseason football, there will undoubtedly be motivation for him to come back better next season to avenge today’s performance.

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Hayden Hurst sending signed jersey to fan he headbutted in TD celebration

Hayden Hurst sending signed jersey to fan he headbutted in TD celebration

Ravens tight end and self-proclaimed #HockeyGuy Hayden Hurst is spreading the holiday cheer as he makes amends for a celebration injury he caused a fan in the stands.

Over Week 14 in Buffalo, Hurst caught a 61-yard toss from QB Lamar Jackson and rushed in to the end zone for his second touchdown of the season. With excitement, Hurst leaped in to the stands to celebrate with fans. In the process, there was some helmet-to-head contact.

Shortly thereafter, Hurst found this tweet that was sent out after the Ravens beat the Bills:

Thanks to social media, a connection was made, and the lucky fan with not only get his gloves but a signed jersey as well.

With warning to future fans down front, Hurst has well established that he is, indeed, a Hockey Guy and will continue to "crash the boards" aka leap in to the stands. 

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Ronnie Stanley absent from practice for second day in a row with concussion

Ronnie Stanley absent from practice for second day in a row with concussion

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — While the Ravens appear to have dodged a sticky situation with Lamar Jackson, the same can’t be said for left tackle Ronnie Stanley. 

He missed Tuesday’s practice with a concussion, and didn’t practice on Monday either. Meaning, the odds don’t look great for Stanley's chances to play on Thursday against the Jets. 

“I’m not going to get into injuries,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday when asked about Stanley’s injury specifically. “We just got done playing the game 24 hours ago. We’re going to play a game Thursday night. The guys that are ready to play will play, the guys that aren’t won’t. So, just look at the injury report and take it from there.”

Should Stanley be unable to play, the presumed starter would be James Hurst, a sixth-year tackle. Hurst has played in every game thus far, but hasn’t played meaningful snaps at tackle for a long stretch of time all year. 

Parker Ehringer, on the roster as a guard, played a bit of everything in college at Cincinnati, and could be called upon to be the backup swing tackle on Thursday.

It’s the second injury the offensive line has faced in recent weeks, as former starting center Matt Skura was lost for the season with a knee injury. Because of that, left guard Bradley Bozeman has had new partners on his left and his right in recent weeks.

“Me and James are good, we call each other brothers,” Bozeman said. “Me, Ben (Powers) and James, they say we all look alike...but we work together a lot. We’re good on our combinations, so it’ll be fine. No matter what happens, we’ll be good.”

If the Ravens have a new left tackle in Hurst on Thursday, there’s still a strong level of confidence in the NFL’s best rush offense. 

“That’s part of the O-line,” Bozeman said. “People go down, people get hurt. But it’s next guy up. All these guys are prepared and ready to roll. I’m not worried about a single guy that’s coming into play.”

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