Ravens stand by QB Lamar Jackson after loss
The Ravens made it clear Sunday that they are ready to move forward with Lamar Jackson as their quarterback despite their wild-card loss to the Chargers.
‘‘Lamar’s our quarterback going forward. There’s no question about that,’’ coach John Harbaugh said after the loss, in which Jackson struggled.
The Heisman Trophy winner from Louisville finished 14 for 29 for 194 yards, with two fourth-quarter touchdowns making the score respectable. He had one interception, one lost fumble and two more fumbles recovered by Baltimore. He was sacked seven times.
Still Harbaugh said he never considered going back to veteran Joe Flacco, who lost the starting job to Jackson midseason.
“In the end — talk about the fourth quarter — Lamar played really well in two-minute,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think Joe would have played any better in two-minute. You have to say, based on that part of it [and] at that point in time in the game, it was the right decision.”
In fact, Harbaugh made it pretty clear the team is ready to deal the 11-year starter and MVP of Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.
“Joe Flacco is going to do really well in this league. Joe can still play,” he said.
“I think we saw that the first half of the season. Joe’s going to have a market. A lot of teams are going to want Joe because they understand that and I’ll be in Joe’s corner wherever he’s at. He’s special. Joe Flacco is a great talent. He’s an even better person.
“He’s the best quarterback in the history of the Ravens no question. That’s not even just cause I’m biased; that’s just a fact . . . He’s going to do just fine.”
Flacco, 33, has three years remaining on his 10-year, $120 million contract he signed after his Super Bowl win.
Hurns prognosis good
Cowboys wide receiver Allen Hurns, who suffered a gruesome injury to his left ankle early in the wild-card win Saturday over the Seahawks, underwent surgery immediately Saturday evening and the team hopes he’ll be ready to go next season.
On the Cowboys’ second possession, Hurns had hauled in a 14-yard catch when Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald fell on his leg. His ankle snapped and he remained face down on the field, his fist pounding it as his foot remained bent at an unnatural angle. Fox showed a replay before determining that, even in an NFL season of unusually gruesome leg injuries, it was not suitable for showing again.
Hurns, surrounded by his teammates and coaches as well as the Seahawks, wiped away tears as his lower leg was placed in an air cast and he was carted off the AT&T Stadium field.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters that Hurns suffered a dislocated left ankle in addition to fractures and underwent surgery following the win.
“I’ll be good to go by the beginning of the season,” the wideout told NFL Network’s Jane Slater post surgery on his broken fibula.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter had a positive report Sunday, tweeting ‘‘as difficult as the injury was to see, Hurns is expected to be ready to return to football by August if there no complications or anything out of the ordinary.’’
Texans stay optimistic
Houston’s impressive turnaround after a 0-3 start ended in disappointment with a loss to the Colts in the wild-card round.
Still, the Texans remain optimistic about their future because they’re confident they’ve finally found their franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson after years of misfires at the position.
‘‘Every position is important . . . but you have to have a quarterback, and we have a quarterback,’’ coach Bill O’Brien said Sunday. ‘‘There’s no doubt in my mind that we have the type of person and the type of quarterback that you need here to win in this league.’’
Watson’s play has been a revelation for a team that has started 11 different quarterbacks since 2011. The 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft started each game this season after he was limited to just seven as a rookie after tearing a knee ligament in practice. He threw for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns this season to become the second player in team history and first since Matt Schaub in 2012 to throw for 4,000 yards. He added 551 yards rushing and five touchdowns to become the first player to have at least 4,000 yards passing and 25 touchdowns and 500 yards rushing and five scores in a season in NFL history.
He was disappointed that he was unable to move the offense effectively on Saturday, but is looking forward to what this team can do next year and beyond.
‘‘The organization, [its] future, it’s bright,’’ Watson said.
The Browns interviewed Indianapolis defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who padded his coaching résumé Saturday with an impressive playoff performance. Eberflus met with Cleveland general manager John Dorsey and other members of the Browns front office one day after his defense bottled up Houston’s offense in the Colts’ 21-7 wild-card win. Eberflus, 48, was one of the three assistants hired last year by Josh McDaniels, who agreed to become the Colts coach before changing his mind and staying in New England. General manager Chris Ballard promised to keep the new coaches before hiring Frank Reich, who didn’t know Eberflus. But Reich was convinced to keep him and that decision couldn’t have gone better. Eberflus previously worked with the Browns as their linebackers coach in 2009-10 . . . Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard met with representatives from the Dolphins and Jets about their head coaching vacancies. Richard, 39, took over the Cowboys’ play-calling duties this season from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli . . . The Broncos, looking for a head coach, blocked other teams from trying to hire former head coach Gary Kubiak as an offensive coordinator, ESPN reported, citing league sources. The Falcons and Bengals requested permission to interview Kubiak, who currently works as a senior personnel adviser with the Broncos, for their offensive coordinator jobs, according to the report. But Denver plans to keep Kubiak, according to sources, and would like him to work with whomever the Broncos hire as their next head coach . . . Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said he intends to return for a 17th season. ‘‘Absolutely,’’ he said. ‘‘I would love it to be here. I would like to be a Raven life-timer.’’ . . . Kwamie Lassiter, the former Arizona safety who had four interceptions in the Cardinals’ season-ending win that clinched a playoff berth in 1998, died. He was 49. Arizona Sports, the website of the team’s flagship radio station, said Lassiter had a heart attack while working out.