The Baltimore Ravens will rest potential MVP Lamar Jackson for their Week 18 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach John Harbaugh announced on Wednesday.
Tyler Huntley will start in his place. Harbaugh did not make any other announcements about other starters that he could potentially rest.
“The quarterback for this game will be Tyler,” Harbaugh said. “The backup will be Josh. That’s the way we’ll be going with it. Beyond that, there’s really not too much to talk about.”
John Harbaugh announced Lamar Jackson will not play in the regular season finale. Tyler Huntley will start. pic.twitter.com/JEY46qcvTz
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) January 3, 2024
Jackson is the runaway favorite to be the MVP and has been one of the best players in the NFL this season. He is fourth QBR (65.3) and third in adjusted net yards per attempt (7.34) among NFL starting quarterbacks. Jackson completed 307 of 457 passes (67.2%) for 3,678 yards. He also leads all NFL quarterbacks with 821 rushing yards and leads all NFL ballcarriers at 5.5 yards per attempt on the ground.
Against the Steelers in Week 5, Jackson was 22 of 38 for 236 yards, but did not have a touchdown and threw a key interception in the end zone to Joey Porter Jr.
Huntley has started eight games over the last four seasons for the Ravens, filling in while Jackson has dealt with injuries, and he made a surprise Pro Bowl appearance after the 2022 season, when he went 2-2 as a starter.
The Steelers are plenty familiar with Huntley. In fact, they’ve seen him three times, and played against Jackson only six times.
Huntley played two games against the Steelers in 2022, winning 16-14 in Pittsburgh and losing 16-13 in Baltimore. He also played against the Steelers in the final game of the 2021 season, losing 16-13 in Baltimore.
He has played in four games this season, all in relief. He threw seven times and completed five for 38 yards and a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9.