OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after the 23-17 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens players were still upset about the home crowd booing quarterback Lamar Jackson and chanting for Joe Flacco.
“It definitely did bother me,” left tackle Ronnie Stanley said after the final team meeting of the year. “As a football player, an athlete, a competitor, [we] sacrifice our whole lives to be in this position. We love our fans and everything they’ve done for us, but there are going to be good times and there are going to be bad times, and we expect your support in all of those times. If you’re not going to support us, then you’ve really got to question yourself on that one.”
Jackson struggled mightily for most of his playoff debut. Midway through the fourth quarter, Jackson was 3-of-10 for 25 yards and an interception. His quarterback rating was zero.
Fans booed Jackson and the offense every time they walked onto the field in the third quarter. There was even a chant for Flacco, the former Super Bowl MVP who was on the sideline as Jackson’s backup.
Running back Kenneth Dixon tweeted Monday morning: “You either with us or against us real spill. I’m ten toes behind [Jackson]. Keep ya boo’s (plain disrespectful) that man gave us life.”
In taking over for Flacco at midseason, Jackson helped turn a 4-5 team into a playoff one. He led the Ravens to their first AFC North title in six seasons by winning six of seven starts.
As players cleared out their lockers Monday, cornerback Marlon Humphrey said he prefers to play on the road because fans boo you whether you’re playing well or poorly. “It’s definitely different when you’re getting booed in your own stadium in a playoff game after the week before when it was electric,” Humphrey said. “All year, you hear something about Joe, ‘Oh, boo, take Joe out.’ Then, yesterday, it seemed like you were hearing Joe chants. It’s pretty interesting to me how the narrative switched pretty quickly.”
Backup quarterback Robert Griffin III can relate to Jackson because he’s been in a similar situation where he’s heard backlash from fans. But Griffin said it’s hard to be critical of them because they ultimately wants players to do better.
“You have to understand that when you have a guy who’s been here for 11 years, won a Super Bowl, been a Super Bowl MVP, and things aren’t going too great early on in the game or in the third quarter, yeah, maybe some fans might chant for that guy,” Griffin said. “I’ve had it happen for a guy who wasn’t a Super Bowl MVP. So it’s something you can’t take personally, and we’re sitting there right next to him, telling him don’t worry about that. As soon as he throws a touchdown pass and runs for a 10-yard gain — when he ran for 50 yards in the backfield — everyone’s going to be cheering.”
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith went over to fans behind the team’s bench who were chanting “Flacco.”
“Was I surprised? I wasn’t surprised. I was more just a little pissed,” Smith said. “We fought and this guy fought and was 6-1 as the starter. It got a little bit rough at the end and people were booing. Come on. Why would you do that? It was the same guy that helped us get here. Now, you’re booing him. I just thought it was a little foul.”
After the game, Jackson went around the stadium bowl and slapped hands with fans. He later said there were no hard feelings.
“They were looking for better in us,” he said. “We didn’t perform well. It happens sometimes.”