J.K. Dobbins was a big reason why the Ravens were in position to upset the defending AFC champion Bengals in Sunday night's Super Wild Card Weekend matchup. But for as well as he played, Dobbins felt like he should have been utilized more, especially when the game was in the balance in the fourth quarter.
Instead of giving the ball to Dobbins, the Ravens instead called for Tyler Huntley to attempt a quarterback sneak on third-and-goal from the Bengals' 1-yard-line was just under 12 minutes to play. Huntley fumbled, the ball was returned for a 98-yard score by defensive end Sam Hubbard, and the Ravens ended up on the short end of a 24-17 final score.
"He should have never been in that situation," Dobbins said of Huntley and the Ravens' decision to call a quarterback sneak at that point in the game, via The Athletic. "I don't get a single carry. I believe I would have put it in the end zone, again."
NO WORDS.#BALatCIN | 📺 NBC pic.twitter.com/pAFTy1yqpS— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 16, 2023
The Ravens' best offensive player on this night, Dobbins did not receive a single touch on the Ravens' 80-yard drive that ended with Huntley's critical fumble. He had three carries for 9 yards on the Ravens' next two drives that both ended with punts. He caught one pass for 11 yards on Baltimore's final drive that ended with Huntley's Hail Mary heave in the end zone falling incomplete as time expired.
"I'm a guy who feels like if I'm on the field all the time, I can help this team win, and I wasn't," Dobbins said. "It's the playoffs. Why am I not out there? (Thirteen) carries? It's the playoffs."
Dobbins' usage rate certainly could have been higher considering that the Ravens were playing with a relatively inexperienced quarterback in Huntley, who played well given he circumstances. The first of Huntley's two touchdown passes actually went to Dobbins, who had 105 total yards on 17 touches.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Dobbins felt that the outcome of Sunday night's game would have been different had the Ravens had their usual starting quarterback and former league MVP under center.
"If we would've had Lamar, we would've won, too," Dobbins said.
While Lamar Jackson's presence likely would have impacted the game, the Bengals also played without several starters on Sunday night. In fact, the Bengals lost their third starting offensive linemen in as many weeks when Jonah Williams left the game in the first half.
Despite those injuries, the Bengals actually improved their pass protection of quarterback Joe Burrow, who was taken down once in the second half after being sacked three times in the first half.
Cincinnati will now prepare to face Buffalo in the divisional round of the playoffs. Conversely, Dobbins and the rest of the Ravens will ponder what was another disappointing finish to a once promising season. Baltimore, a year after losing its final six games, finished the year with four losses in its final five games after a 9-4 start.