The Ravens didn’t forget what happened the last time they met the Tennessee Titans.
After cornerback Marcus Peters intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill with 1:50 left in Sunday’s wild-card game in Nashville, the Ravens defense ran to the Titans logo at midfield and started to celebrate, with some players stomping on the grass and others waving at the Tennessee sideline.
The Ravens were flagged for taunting, which moved the ball back 15 yards to their own 38-yard line. It didn’t end up costing Baltimore, which picked up a first down on a 33-yard run by quarterback Lamar Jackson and ran out the remaining clock to seal a 20-13 victory, their first in the playoffs in six years.
The celebration returned the favor after a similar move by the Titans earlier this season.
In Week 11, a 30-24 overtime win by Tennessee at M&T Bank Stadium, the Titans gathered on the Ravens logo at midfield before the game, drawing the ire of coach John Harbaugh. Several Titans players, including cornerback Malcolm Butler and wide receiver A.J. Brown, argued with Harbaugh before being sent back to the sideline. The Ravens players had yet to be introduced and were still waiting in the tunnel.
The confrontation led to a heated discussion between Harbaugh and Titans coach Mike Vrabel, with Harbaugh shouting, “It’s disrespectful!” as Vrabel talked to officials.
It was the latest unforgettable moment from a rivalry that dates to when the teams were AFC Central rivals early in the Ravens’ existence as a franchise. Last season, the Titans eliminated a top-seeded Ravens team that had eyes on advancing to the Super Bowl after a record-setting 14-2 regular season.
Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe said the logo stomp wasn’t planned.
“Sometimes you act on emotion,” he said after the game. “And it felt like it was a good time to go ahead and do that.”
Added Wolfe: “It wasn’t a disrespect thing. It was more like a team unity thing.”
Lamar Jackson, who ran off the field at the end of the game without greeting any Tennessee players, said he didn’t respect the Titans for what they’ve done in the past, stomping on the Ravens’ logo. By leading the Ravens off the field before the clock expired, he said they could be the “bigger man.”
“There wasn’t a reason to shake hands after that,” Jackson said.
When asked about the celebration by reporters, Vrabel said, “I coach the Titans, not the Ravens.”
- Harbaugh won his eighth road playoff game, the most by a head coach in NFL history. Tom Landry and Tom Coughlin have seven each.
- The Ravens improved to 8-2 all time in the wild-card round, including a 6-0 record when playing on the road. Their six road wild-card wins are the most in NFL history.
- The Ravens came back from a 10-0 deficit, marking their largest comeback in franchise postseason history.
- The Ravens’ 236 rushing yards are the most in franchise postseason history, eclipsing their previous high of 234 rushing yards in a road wild-card win over the New England Patriots on Jan. 10, 2010.
- According to NFL Research, Jackson joins Dan Marino and Patrick Mahomes as the only players in NFL history to have an MVP and a playoff win by the end of their age-23 season.