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Ravens Fans Clamor for Lamar Jackson's Return from Knee Injury After Loss to Steelers

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 2, 2023

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 01: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens (C) looks on against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers overcame a 13-3 second-half deficit to defeat the Baltimore Ravens 16-13 after quarterback Kenny Pickett evaded a sack and found running back Najee Harris for a 10-yard touchdown with 56 seconds remaining.

NFL @NFL

The game-winner <a href="https://twitter.com/steelers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Steelers</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsBAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsBAL</a> <a href="https://t.co/FgZE4hOCI1">pic.twitter.com/FgZE4hOCI1</a>

An ugly offensive night for the Ravens culminated with quarterback Tyler Huntley throwing an interception to Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick at the Pittsburgh 40-yard line with less than 20 seconds left during a desperate last-ditch attempt to set up a game-tying field goal.

NFL @NFL

MINKAH CALLED GAME <br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PITvsBAL?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PITvsBAL</a> on NBC<br>📱: Stream on NFL+ <a href="https://t.co/K8OMv0nWCp">https://t.co/K8OMv0nWCp</a> <a href="https://t.co/z4t6tHRWKj">pic.twitter.com/z4t6tHRWKj</a>

The Ravens have struggled scoring since starting quarterback Lamar Jackson suffered a sprained PCL in the first quarter of his team's 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos on Dec. 4. Baltimore has now scored just 59 points (11.8 PPG) since that date.

On Sunday, Baltimore scored only three second-half points off a 51-yard Justin Tucker field goal with 9:31 left in the third quarter. Its final four drives went for a combined 44 yards.

Huntley has quarterbacked the Ravens for the vast majority of snaps since Jackson was declared out. He's completed 67 percent of his passes for 658 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in addition to 137 rushing yards and a score.

Those aren't good numbers, but in Huntley's defense, he's been asked to take on a gargantuan task filling in the 2019 NFL MVP's shoes in the middle of an AFC North race with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson was having a solid year (2,242 passing yards and 17 touchdowns; 764 rushing yards, three scores) before the injury. He is just 16th in quarterback rating, but his rushing productivity, as usual, made him one of the most valuable signal-callers in football. Any backup would have trouble trying to step in for Jackson.

Plus, the Ravens are going forth without two of their top playmakers in wideouts Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay, both of whom are out for the season with injuries.

But the offense just hasn't gotten it going at all. Kicker Justin Tucker and the Ravens defense have largely been carrying the team during this stretch sans Jackson, which has seen Baltimore go 3-2.

The defense and special teams weren't enough to overcome the Ravens amassing just 240 yards on the evening. Huntley completed just 14 of 21 passes for 130 yards, one touchdown and one interception. All players outside tight end Mark Andrews (nine catches, 100 yards) had just 30 receiving yards total.

During and after the game, Twitter noted how important Jackson, who is seeking a long-term contract, is to the team while lamenting the current state of the Ravens offense.

The Ravens Realm @RealmRavens

This is why you pay Lamar Jackson <a href="https://t.co/O8jJJVUtqn">pic.twitter.com/O8jJJVUtqn</a>

Matthew Huff @erichuff_

I miss Lamar Jackson

Tony X @soIoucity

Lamar jackson watching this game <a href="https://t.co/LZt0QZV6r1">pic.twitter.com/LZt0QZV6r1</a>

NFL Memes @NFL_Memes

The Ravens GM showing up to Lamar Jackson's home tomorrow morning <a href="https://t.co/An2SoGEKPQ">pic.twitter.com/An2SoGEKPQ</a>

Kevin Oestreicher @koestreicher34

The Ravens NEED Lamar Jackson back<br><br>No questions asked

Louie $. Lattimore @THE_ButlerDavis

This Ravens offense needs Lamar Jackson back bad man.

RavenQ. @ImARavensFan25

This offense is just horrible to watch......Greg has ran his course here.....we need a new and innovative OC who know how to balance play calls based on how the game is going and not how he feels he wants the plays to go. <a href="https://twitter.com/Ravens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ravens</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GORAVENS4LIFE?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GORAVENS4LIFE</a>

Ariel Epstein @ArielEpstein

Another great fourth quarter of play calls for the Ravens offense 🫠

biran. @bmanak99

Bruh the offense only on the field for 30 seconds <a href="https://twitter.com/Ravens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ravens</a>. Not helping the defense at all

Fear The Raven @Feartheraven27

Back to back AWFUL drives by the offense late in the game but let's get ready to blame the tired defense

Ryan @ryguyblake

Nobody ever compare Tyler Huntley to Lamar Jackson again

Giants Daily @NYGDaily

Tyler Huntley has somehow made Lamar Jackson more money these last few weeks.

Baltimore is locked into the playoffs no matter what and will finish the season Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens need to beat the Bengals and hope Cincinnati loses to the Buffalo Bills on Monday to secure the AFC North title.

Regardless of where they finish, the Ravens will play sometime during Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 14-16), so Jackson has a couple of weeks to return.