was asked how the rain affected the passing game, and he let out a sigh of frustration before collapsing forward on the podium at his postgame media conference.
"You seen the balls. You seen them," Jackson said. "Horrible."
As ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley noted, Jackson's run of impressive passing numbers ended last Sunday, but his ability to lead the Ravens to victory did not. In a 20-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Jackson proved that he can knock off a top team when not at the top of his game.
This wasn't like the last three weeks when the Ravens were in so control of the game that Jackson spent his fourth quarters putting on sunglasses or dancing on the sideline with running back Mark Ingram
. This was a heavyweight fight, where Jackson had to rely as much on determination as his athleticism in the final moments.
Jackson finished with a season-low 105 yards passing and lost his first fumble of the season. But in leading his third career winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, Jackson completed all three of his passes for 27 yards to set up Justin Tucker
's 49-yard field goal.
Of course, Jackson entered Sunday's game on one of the best hot streaks by a quarterback.
The NFL Most Valuable Player front-runner had played three straight games with at least three touchdowns and no interceptions. Only four quarterbacks have had longer such streaks in NFL history: Tom Brady
(four straight in 2007), Peyton Manning (four in 2013), Aaron Rodgers
(four in 2014) and Russell Wilson
(five in 2015).
That wasn't going to happen in a constant downpour with winds that reached 15 mph. Jackson went 0-of-4 passing on third down. He entered the day completing 69% of his third-down passes, second-best in the NFL. Jackson was 3-of-6 for 18 yards when targeting wide receivers. That's the fewest passing yards to wide receivers by a starting quarterback in a win this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Jackson completed just four of 11 passes for 20 yards without the aid of play-action. That made it his worst passing game (completion percentage and yards) as a starter without play-action.
This isn't the first time the weather has affected Jackson. In his other rain game this season, against the Seattle Seahawks, he connected on only nine of 20 throws.
"I was throwing passes behind my receivers," Jackson said. "I hit Hayden [Hurst] on the sideline on the corner behind him [and] Seth [Roberts] on a drive route behind him. It was ticking me off. A lot of passes were getting away from me. It messed with me a lot."
Where Jackson really hurt the NFL's top-ranked defense
was with his legs. He ran for 101 yards and one touchdown, including a 7-yard run on which he faked K'Waun Williams so badly that the cornerback fell to the ground.
ESPN's Al Zeidenfeld points out that Jackson has had nine straight games with 60-plus rushing yards. That's the longest active streak in the league. Only RB Nick Chubb
(11) has had a longer one in 2019.
And it's that running ability -- along with an offense designed to maximize it -- that makes it impossible to sit Jackson regardless of matchup, weather or whatever else you can think of.
As ESPN's Mike Clay noted, "Jackson has finished sixth or better among quarterbacks during nine of 12 outings this season. Week 13 was simply confirmation that Jackson is a must-start regardless of matchup."
A reminder here: Marquise Brown
(ankle) and Seth Roberts
(knee) are listed as questionable
for this one. I'll be following up as needed through the inactive announcement in the 90 minutes leading up to tomorrow's kickoff.