Last January, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson saw his MVP-winning season come to an abrupt halt at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, who dismantled last year's top-seed, 28–12.
One year later, and this time playing a road game in Nashville, Jackson ensured his team would return home with a different result.
The always-elusive Jackson starred in Baltimore's 20–13 win on Sunday afternoon, firing a number of timely darts through the air and breaking out multiple head-turning runs. The biggest came with just over two minutes to play in the first half and the Ravens trailing 10–3, when Jackson scrambled up the teeth of the Titans' defense for a 48-yard score, the second longest touchdown run by a quarterback in postseason history.
It marked the last time that the Ravens trailed throughout the contest.
Jackson and the Ravens took a 17–10 lead early in the third quarter and traded field goals with the Titans throughout the remainder of the second half.
In all, last year's MVP rushed for 136 yards and one touchdown, while adding 179 passing yards and one interception through the air. Jackson, who lost his first two career postseason games, recorded just the sixth 100-yard rushing game for a quarterback in postseason history, joining former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the lone players to do so twice.
As important, though, was Baltimore's ability to stifle 2020 rushing leader Derrick Henry and the Titans' running attack. The bruising 6'3'' back, who averaged almost 127 yards per game this season, recorded just 40 yards on the ground, with his longest carry going for just eight. It was a far cry from his 195-yard postseason performance last January and his 133-yard rushing game this past November when the Titans beat the Ravens in overtime.
"Derrick Henry is one of the best running backs to ever play this game," Ravens veteran Calais Campbell said earlier this week. "He's in a zone right now. I take pride in the challenge of lining up and trying to shut him down."
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill finished the game with 165 passing yards, his second-lowest mark since the two teams met back on Nov. 22. His only passing touchdown opened the game's scoring, but his interception proved costly, coming with 1:50 to go in the game and the Titans eyeing a game-tying touchdown drive.
With the victory, the Ravens have now won six consecutive contests.
While they didn't steamroll their opponents throughout this year's regular season like they did in last year's 14-2 campaign, the Ravens, led by their dangerous signal-caller, can't be counted out.
"We finished. We finished," Jackson told ESPN after his first playoff victory. "We finally finished"