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Lamar Jackson's Locker Room Speech, Ravens Halftime Adjustments Spark Win

TE Isaiah Likely
TE Isaiah Likely

There was one person doing most of the talking in the Ravens halftime locker room – Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens were locked in a 10-10 tie at halftime with Houston following a Texans punt return for a touchdown and ferocious pass rush that dumped Jackson for sacks on back-to-back plays to basically finish the first half.

Jackson was composed coming off the field, but when he got to the locker room, he let loose. Head Coach John Harbaugh described his team as "edgy." How would Jackson sum it up?

"It would be inappropriate if I said it right here," Jackson said, eliciting laughter. "A lot of cursing.

"Our defense was playing lights out, but we're not responding. So, we just had to dial in at halftime."

Jackson has become more vocal this season, so his teammates weren't exactly shocked. But it did certainly snap them into it.

"I hear the message, not just the [curse] words," left tackle Ronnie Stanley said with a smile. "I know what he's trying to say. He's a very competitive player. He wears his heart on his sleeve. We all know what he wants, and that's just to win."

Beyond the speech, the Ravens made tangible changes to their offensive approach.

First and foremost, it was important to get the ball out of Jackson's hands quicker. His first two passes of the second half, to Nelson Agholor and Isaiah Likely, were both quick hitters that went for a combined 28 yards.

The Texans were blitz heavy and they have a pair of top-notch defensive ends in Jonathan Greenard and Will Anderson Jr. Houston sacked Jackson three times in the first half and affected him more than the stats show.

Jackson faced a career-high 75% blitz rate, per NextGenStats. The Ravens said they came into the game figuring the Texans were going to do a lot of blitzing, and practiced for it all last week. In the second half, they flipped protections, got the ball out, and burned it.

"He was just himself," Greenard said. "I mean, a guy like that, he's seen us already and saw how we wanted to attack him. We had his number for a little bit and then he just started to make more plays."

The Ravens burned the Texans with Jackson's legs throughout the game. Jackson ran for a touchdown in both halves, and at a key point in the third quarter, facing a fourth-and-1 from near midfield, Jackson kept on a naked bootleg keeper to move the chains with a wide-open 14-yard run that fooled the entire Texans defense.

At some of the most critical points in the game, it was Jackson toting the rock – once again in complete control.

"It means a lot for your [offensive coordinator] to trust in you to be out there and putting our team in a great situation," Jackson said. "That's all I need, and we're going to go from there."

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