CINCINNATI — An extremely frustrated J.K. Dobbins said he believes it would have been a different result had the Ravens given him the ball — and not quarterback Tyler Huntley — on a crucial fourth-quarter play near the goal line in Baltimore’s 24-17 wild-card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
Huntley made the game’s most critical mistake when he fumbled with the score tied at 17, losing the ball on a leap toward the end zone and having his turnover returned 98 yards for a touchdown by Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard. The Ravens went from being on the verge of taking a touchdown lead to falling behind by seven points with 11:39 remaining.
“He should have never been in that situation,” Dobbins said of Huntley. “I don’t get a single carry. I didn’t get a single carry. He should never have been in that situation. I believe I would have put it in the end zone, again.”
The Ravens running back was upset that he was limited to 62 yards on 13 carries and didn’t receive another red zone touch after powering his way to a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter. In that critical fourth-quarter series, Baltimore ran three plays inside the Bengals’ 3-yard line, and Dobbins didn’t get the ball once.
“I’m a guy who feels like I should be on the field all the time,” Dobbins said. “It’s the playoffs. Why am I not out there?”
This isn’t the first time Dobbins has vented about his desire to get the ball more. On Friday, he told reporters he wanted the game “on my back.” Following Sunday’s defeat, Dobbins mentioned that he told coaches on the sideline he wanted to be more involved.
“I should be the guy. I’m tired of holding that back,” said Dobbins, who had averaged 6.9 yards per carry in four games since having a knee scoped. “I’m a playmaker. I’m a guy that my teammates feed off me when I’m on the field.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked whether there was any discussion of giving the ball to Dobbins or running back Gus Edwards instead of going with the quarterback sneak.
“We felt like we had a good call; it was a push-sneak play. It wasn’t executed just the correct way,” Harbaugh said. “Tyler went over the top. That’s a ‘burrow’ play; he has to go low on that. That’s the way the play is designed. We felt like that was the best call; we just didn’t execute it right.”
Many Ravens players said they didn’t think about whether they would have won if their quarterback had been Lamar Jackson instead of Huntley, who also threw an interception on the opening drive. Jackson missed his sixth straight game with a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey estimated that Jackson is 50 percent to 60 percent healthy.
“I just don’t think he really was healthy enough to really go out there,” Humphrey said of Jackson. “There was a lot of speculation with him not having the contract. I don’t even know if I should say this, but he’s like limping around the facility. That’s kind of the crazy thing that people don’t see. Obviously, we knew that he wasn’t going to be out there with us, but hopefully, we sign him to a big-term deal and he’s a Raven with me forever.”
Dobbins didn’t hold back on how much the return of Jackson would’ve impacted Sunday’s playoff game, either.
“If we’d have had Lamar, we’d have won too,” Dobbins said.