Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens got the proverbial monkey off of their backs with their 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday. It marked Jackson's first career playoff victory, and it also came against the team that upset the Ravens in the postseason last January. While Jackson had several highlight-reel plays, it was really Baltimore's defense that helped the Ravens secure the win. They held the Titans to just 209 yards of total offense and rushing champ Derrick Henry to just 40 yards on the ground. However, Baltimore will have its hands full defensively again this week as they travel to take on the No. 2 seed Buffalo Bills.
The Bills have the second-best scoring offense in the NFL this season (31.1 points per game), and have averaged 42.3 points per game over their past four contests. A big reason for Buffalo's offensive resurgence has been third-year quarterback Josh Allen, who has been responsible for 48 total touchdowns this season compared to just 45 Bills punts. Ravens defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale knows the kind of challenge he's up against when it comes to containing the versatile Allen, and he compared him to two NFL legends this week while previewing the matchup.
Allen's big frame helps him shake off would-be tacklers in the pocket and also assists him in the run game. His big arm is effective wherever he's firing from around the field, and he's become a more accurate thrower as the season has gone on.
"What he's done in the offseason and what he's done this season, it's amazing to see," Martindale said. "His accuracy on the move, his accuracy in the pocket, everything he's done, he's done accurately."
Allen completed 26 of 35 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns during the Bills' 27-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts last week, and he also led Buffalo in rushing with 54 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He finished the regular season having completed 69.2% of his passes for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and those 37 touchdown passes broke Jim Kelly's single-season record for the Bills, which was set during the 1991 season.
A recipe for a Ravens win on Saturday includes limiting Allen both through the air and on the ground. Martindale knows he's in for a special kind of battle this weekend.