The Baltimore Ravens’ offense struggled against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. When the Ravens were down 12-0 at halftime, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason called for the Ravens to bench rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and put veteran Joe Flacco, who hasn’t played in weeks, into the game.
Esiason wasn’t the only one. In the broadcast booth, Tony Romo wondered if it was worth giving Jackson one — two at most — series in the second half to see if he could right things before putting Flacco in.
And as Jackson continued to struggle in the third quarter, the home fans at M&T Bank Stadium began booing, too.
But at least one of Jackson’s teammates wasn’t having it.
CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said late in the game that cornerback Jimmy Smith was yelling to fans, asking them, “Who do you think got us here? No. 8 [Jackson]! Don’t be a fairweather fan!”
While Baltimore coach John Harbaugh likely did think about playing the playoff-tested Flacco, Smith had a point: the Ravens were 4-5 after Week 9, when Flacco suffered the hip injury that opened the door for Jackson to start.
With Jackson as their starter, the Ravens finished the season 6-1 and won the AFC North title for the first time since 2012; it was their first playoff appearance since 2014.
But Jackson certainly redeemed himself: the Ravens were down, 23-3, with nine minutes to play in the game. Jackson was 11-for-20 for 169 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth, narrowing the score to 23-17.
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