Vindication Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens

Street Talk Vindication

Posted in Street Talk
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Calais Campbell had a few words for the Titans prior to their AFC wild-card matchup in Nashville.

The Tennessee players had chirped at the Ravens in their previous two meetings, so Campbell let them know his teammates were not going to be disrespected again.

This time, it was the Ravens who had the last word in a spirited 20-13 victory before a stunned, small crowd at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

“We haven’t won one of these for a while,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s been since 2014, I think, since we’ve won a playoff game. So, we weren’t in there for a few years, and then we haven’t won one [in the last few years]. So, to win it is very meaningful. It matters, but really all that stuff is just history. That’s just behind you. 

“We talked about that in terms of the game. The play is here and then it’s gone; you play the play that is in front of you. This was a game that was in front of us. So, that’s the focus. That’s what you try to make the main thing, and I thought our guys did a great job of making that the main thing.”

Campbell had missed the previous game against the Titans in Week 11 when running back Derrick Henry ran for 133 yards, including the game-winning touchdown, in the 30-24 victory. 

The Ravens completely shut down Henry when the stakes were even higher, holding the NFL rushing champion to just 40 yards on 18 carries.

This day belonged to Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens quarterback has been criticized for losing the first two playoff games of his young career even though he’s shattered numerous NFL records and was named league MVP last season.

After Baltimore fell behind 10-0, the day looked bleak once again, especially with Henry in the backfield and Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill effectively running the play-action.

Jackson flipped the script and completely changed the momentum of the game with a 43-yard touchdown run that tied the game 10-10. It was the longest scoring run by a quarterback in the NFL’s postseason history. 

The Ravens never trailed again.

Jackson finished with 136 yards rushing. He also completed 17 of 24 pass attempts for 179 yards and overcame an early interception that led to a Tennessee touchdown. 

Perhaps the most defining moment for the Ravens came after cornerback Marcus Peters managed an interception that sealed the win. Peter and several defensive players stomped on the Titans logo at midfield in retribution for the Tennessee players doing the same prior to that Week 11 matchup. 

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Ravens really waited since the playoff upset last season to quiet the brash Titans. 

“Man, it’s special. It’s very special to be able to suit up with this team, and to be able to walk into this building with these men and these coaches,” left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said. “Our front office is very special, and to do this, to win this game for the City of Baltimore – it’s a very gratifying feeling. But we understand the bigger goals at the end, and where we want to get.”

The postseason journey now continues with a game against the Buffalo Bills.  The Raves avoided a trip to Kansas City after the Browns upset the Steelers.

“We’ve got to focus on the next game, and that’s how you win playoff games,” Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe said. “You don’t think about all the other stuff – the offseason stuff that’s going to happen – because if we win a Super Bowl, we’ll be eternal.”

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About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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