BALTIMORE — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson would not repeat what he said to his teammates at halftime during the AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.
He said the language was inappropriate for a postgame press conference. That remark drew laughter, but no one was laughing in the Ravens’ locker room at halftime with the score tied, 10-10. Jackson was not happy with the way the offense was playing and let his teammates know it.
The Ravens responded to Jackson’s speech by scoring 24 consecutive points in the second half en route to a 34-10 victory. The Ravens earned the right to host the AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history.
“I was [angry]. We had no other choice – the offense as a unit,” Jackson said. “We just weren’t putting points … Well, we scored once. The first half, [we threw] the ball a couple times in the first half, but we didn’t really have success. Our defense was playing lights out, but we’re not responding. So, we just had to dial in at halftime. Like Coach [John Harbaugh] said, ‘Get the ball out quick and let the defense play us honest,’ and that’s what we did.”
After struggling to handle the blitz in the first half, Jackson adjusted by getting rid of the ball more quickly and finding seams in the Texans’ defensive line. He led the Ravens to four consecutive scoring drives in the second half in a dominant performance.
Jackson completed 16 of 22 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns. He also led the team with 100 yards rushing with another two scores. Jackson became the first player in Ravens playoff history with a rushing and passing touchdown in the same game.
Jackson’s teammates appreciated his tough words at halftime, and they responded with one of their best halves of football in the postseason.
“Lamar is a special talent who is a great guy, a great leader and just watching him flourish, it inspires everyone else on the team to push even harder,” guard Kevin Zeitler said.
Jackson and the Ravens are trying to stay grounded as they head to the AFC Championship Game against either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs and Bills play at 6:30 on Sunday.
Jackson is focused on the next game and not a possible Super Bowl berth.
“We have to finish. It’s still [the] playoffs,” Jackson said. “We’re not in the dance yet, but I’m looking forward to next week, to be honest with you. I’m not even thinking about the Super Bowl until we handle business.”