Jackson out again; Huntley to start for the Ravens

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens are turning to quarterback Tyler Huntley to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Huntley starts Sunday’s regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, coach John Harbaugh said after Friday’s practice.

Lamar Jackson will miss his fourth game in a row with a right ankle injury. He has not trained all week and has only fit once in the last 26 days since he injured his ankle on Dec. 12 in Cleveland.

It’s the first time this season that Huntley has been named as the starter on his way into a match. Jackson had been listed as questionable on the team’s previous three injury reports.

“He’s played well. He can play better,” Harbaugh said of Huntley. “That’s what he’s aiming to do this week – to improve and build on his past performances. I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.”

Huntley starts his fourth career for Baltimore (8-8), which has a 3.3% chance of reaching the off-season, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. In addition to beating the Steelers (8-7-1), the Ravens need the Colts, Chargers and Dolphins for everyone to lose on Sunday.

Huntley, who was not drafted out of Utah in 2020, has been impressive in stepping up for Jackson. In three starts, Huntley has thrown in 631 yards and rushed in 167 yards, a total of four touchdowns (two passes and two rushing).

But Huntley comes after his most disappointing performance of the season in Sunday’s 20-19 loss to the Rams. He threw a critical interception late in the first half and failed to lead a touchdown drive, which was the first time the Baltimore offense had not reached the goal zone in a game in three years.

Huntley only had two days of training before the Rams game because he had just been activated from the reserve / COVID-19 list. He admitted that he still felt the effects in his chest last week and did not have the same energy level after not eating for a few days.

“I’m feeling a lot better this week,” Huntley said.

Jackson is facing a fifth game this season after missing just two games in his first three seasons. Jackson sat out the season finale in 2019 after the Ravens had already won the AFC’s topseed and missed a match in 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19.

This is the first time Jackson has been injured. When Jackson hurt his ankle in a 24-22 loss to Cleveland, the Ravens insisted it was a minor injury. But the only time Jackson practiced was on December 29, when he moved from practice to practice with a pronounced lameness.

“He wants to get out there every time,” Huntley said of Jackson. “It’s so hard not to see him go out there and be amazing as he usually is. He’s a big asset for this league and for this team. I can not wait to [him] to feel better. “

Baltimore seeks to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017, the season before the team drafted Jackson. The Ravens have lost five games in a row, the second longest losing streak in franchise history.

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