OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens’ Super Bowl hopes rest on the play of quarterback Lamar Jackson, and they’re not taking any chances in the regular-season finale against the Steelers.
Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that Jackson will not play and that Tyler Huntley will get his first start of the season.
It’s a smart move considering the Ravens already have the No. 1 seed and have nothing at stake against the Steelers, who can still earn a postseason berth with a win.
“You just kind of consider all things,” Harbaugh said. “There’s not really any one thing that goes into it. Just all things considered, it seemed to be the right thing to do. You have conversations with Lamar and others, and you make the decision.”
Jackson is coming off a phenomenal performance against the Miami Dolphins in which he completed 18 of 21 passes (85.7%) for 321 yards and five touchdowns, finishing with a perfect passer rating (158.3) for the third time in his career. It earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season and 10th of his career.
This season, Jackson has thrown for 3,678 yards with 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also leads the team with 821 yards rushing with another five scores.
He is the favorite to be named NFL MVP for the second time in his career.
The only accolade that Jackson said he wants is a Lombardi Trophy. And the Ravens’ only chance to achieve that goal is to have Jackson healthy and on the field.
For now, Jackson is ready to support Huntley and enjoy a mini-break before the playoffs.
“I’m cool with it,” Jackson said. “Me and Coach talked about it. I felt like it was best for the both of us to sit me for this run. I believe ‘Snoop’ can get the job done. We have guys who can go out there and ball out. I have all the faith in my team.”