A season in which the Baltimore Ravens overcame a long list of obstacles to reach the playoffs ended with their star quarterback stuck in the locker room during the fourth quarter and the rest of the team shuffling off the field to join him after a disheartening 17-3 defeat.
The Ravens and Lamar Jackson were stymied for the much of Saturday night by a hustling, relentless Buffalo defense. Yet, in spite of managing only a field goal in the first half, Baltimore moved within striking distance of scoring the tying touchdown late in the third quarter.
Then, the biggest miscue on a night of missteps for the Ravens effectively put an end to an otherwise memorable season.
Jackson targeted tight end Mark Andrews in the end zone and fired a pass that was intercepted by Taron Johnson and taken the other way for a 101-yard touchdown.
Jackson was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the following series, making a Ravens comeback bid as futile as spitting into the formidable wind that blew hard throughout the 17-3 defeat.
“It’s playoff football. With the wind and the way the game was going, you knew it was going to be a tough day," defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “It was one of those games we knew was going to come down to one big play. They made the plays when it mattered, they made the big play. You’ve got to give them respect. They earned it."
The Ravens stormed into this second-round playoff game with a six-game winning streak generated by a strong offense and steady defense. But Baltimore failed to score a touchdown, not with Jackson taking the snaps nor with backup Tyler Huntley trying in vain to generate a rally.
Baltimore was done in by too many mistakes, most notably Jackson's ill-fated throw that produced a 14-point swing. The usually reliable Justin Tucker had two field-goal tries clang off the uprights, and veteran punter Sam Koch booted a wind-blown 23-yarder.