BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Critics were quick to jump on quarterback Lamar Jackson after the Ravens fell to the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Round.
Most notably, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman didn’t hold back when talking about Jackson’s performance on the popular talk show, First Take.
“There’s a difference between a running quarterback, and a quarterback who happens to run,” Smith said. “A running quarterback is somebody, who for some inexplicable reason, John Harbaugh having throw the football 59 times. Stop it. It wasn’t perfect.”
Kellerman said, for the second consecutive year, Jackson cracked under the pressure of a big game.
“When Mahomes fell down big early, what happened? He was like, ‘Oh, you need me to throw 11,000 touchdowns? I’ll do it,” Kellerman said. “Lamar fell down and there was no coming back.”
Harbaugh, however, was quick to defend Jackson in his season-ending press conference on Friday.
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“He’s 23-years-old,” Harbaugh said. “He’s younger than Joe Burrow, okay? [Joe] Montana, [Steve] Young and [Brett] Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third season.”
Jackson was named MVP and Offensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Writers. He threw for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns in the regular season. He also rushed for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns.
In the AFC Divisional Round game against the Titans, Jackson completed 31-of-59 passes, threw one touchdown and two interceptions.
“[Jackson’s] got a pretty good head start right now. I mean, he’s along the way.”