Chargers Beat Ravens to Open Playoffs

Bolts advance to face Patriots in the divisional round

The Ravens defense is extremely good. Baltimore owns the #1-ranked D in the NFL. It’s so good that it’s easy in overlook the fact the Chargers have a pretty good defense, too.

That combined with the atrocious play of rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson led to a 23-17 Chargers win in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.

For the first 52 minutes of the game the Ravens were held to three points and 74 yards of total offense and turned the ball over twice to give the Chargers short fields. Amazingly Baltimore held the Bolts to field goals after both turnovers they were only down 12-0 at halftime.

In the 3rd quarter the Ravens special teams and defense tried to take the game over. A blocked field goal, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt put them in position to score but all that only earned them three points because Jackson simply could not move the ball. At least, he couldn’t move it forward.

The rookie QB was sacked seven times, twice by Melvin Ingram, and at one point in the 4th quarter only had 32 yards of total offense.

A Melvin Gordon 1-yard TD run and Michael Badgley’s 5th field goal of the day put the Chargers on top 23-3 with 9:14 to play and then finally the Ravens got something going. They went 75 yards on one drive, more than doubling their output for the entire day, and Jackson hit Michael Crabtree for a 31-yard touchdown that cut the lead to 23-10.

After that they were able to make it awfully interesting.

The Chargers, in their typical full-metal conservative mode, went 3-and-out and the Ravens went on the march again. Jackson found Crabtree in the end zone on 4th and 6 to cut the lead to 23-17 right at the two minute warning.

Again in conservative mode, the Chargers went 3-and-out to give Jackson one more shot. He had the game taken right out of his hands. Rookie linebacker Uchenna Nwosu made a fantastic play, coming through to swat the ball out of the QB’s hands for a clean fumble that was recovered by Ingram.

Philip Rivers, who was 22/32 for only 160 yards, no touchdowns, and no turnovers, ran out the clock in victory formation. The Bolts advance to face the Patriots in New England next Sunday afternoon.

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