Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson suffered a right ankle sprain in Sunday’s 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns, which puts a major question mark over the final four games of the regular season for Baltimore.
The Ravens are expecting Jackson to be diagnosed with a low ankle sprain, a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini. Jackson walked out of the locker room in a protective boot.
“We’ll look at it more [Monday] and we’ll see where we’re at,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
Asked if Jackson has to undergo more testing, Harbaugh said, “We’ll see how he responds [Monday], we’ll see how it responds.”
With four weeks left, the Ravens (8-5) currently lead the AFC North by a game over the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) and Browns (7-6). Baltimore has one of the toughest remaining schedules: home against the Green Bay Packers, at the Bengals and home against the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers.
After backup quarterback Tyler Huntley nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback Sunday, the Ravens believe they are still a playoff team even if Jackson is sidelined.
“Tyler showed a lot of grit, and I felt like the whole team did that,” Harbaugh said. “That’s who we are and that’s why we have a chance to still win the championship in the AFC North and go on from there. That’s what we’ll be fighting to do in the next four weeks.”
Jackson was hurt on the first play of the second quarter after throwing a short pass to tight end Mark Andrews. Browns linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah dove at the back of Jackson’s lower right leg. Jackson immediately fell to the ground and grabbed his ankle.
After spending four minutes in the medical tent, Jackson couldn’t put any weight on his right leg before getting carted into the locker room.
Last week, Jackson rolled his right ankle when he stepped on the yard marker after a run out of bounds. He had the ankle taped during the week.
Jackson has never missed a game because of injury in his four-year NFL career. He has been sidelined twice by illness, and he sat out the 2019 season finale after Baltimore had already clinched the top seed that year.
After Sunday’s game, Jackson told Huntley that he was proud of him for giving the Ravens a chance to win the game.
“He is going to be ready to work and come back whenever they do their tests to make sure he is OK,” Huntley said. “He will be back.”
When Jackson left the game, the Ravens were down 10-0, and Baltimore wide receiver Sammy Watkins told teammates in the huddle, “Let go play for Lamar.”
The Ravens’ deficit grew to 24-3 by late in the first half before Huntley rallied Baltimore with elusive scrambles and big throws downfield. After Baltimore scored 19 straight points, Huntley’s two-yard pass on fourth-and-six with 56 seconds remaining sealed the Ravens’ first back-to-back losses since December of last year.
“There’s a lot of teams that would’ve given up in that situation. There’s a lot of pause,” Andrews said. “We fought, and we fought the whole game. There wasn’t a second that we were out there that we didn’t believe that we weren’t going to come back — and that’s rare for a team when you’re in situations like that.”
Injuries have depleted the Ravens, who have placed 23 players on injured reserve at some point this season. On Sunday, Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell suffered a thigh injury before Jackson went down.
The injury to Jackson comes at a time when he has taken contact at a historic rate. Jackson is being hit an average of 16 times per game this year, the highest rate by any quarterback in the last 15 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
With a revamped offensive line and backfield, Jackson has been mired in the worst slump of his career. The NFL MVP two years ago, Jackson had been picked off in each of his previous four games, totaling eight interceptions. He was 4-of-4 for 17 yards Sunday before leaving Sunday’s game.
Still, Jackson has accounted for 78% of the Ravens’ offense entering Sunday. That was the seventh-highest rate in the league despite Jackson missing one game this season.
Now, there’s a possibility that the Ravens could be without Jackson as they look to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight year. Baltimore’s hopes would rest with Huntley, who went undrafted in 2019 and totaled 315 yards on Sunday.
“We just have to go out there and give our highest level of effort,” Huntley said. “That is what I plan on doing. I know the Ravens — the whole organization — we are going to give our best effort so we are looking forward to whatever.”
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