The Baltimore Ravens came into the season feeling good about their title chances. They had offensive MVP Lamar Jackson on their side, an impressive defense, and several players and coaches who had seen postseason success. But Jackson struggled with injuries and though the Ravens made the playoffs, they lost in the divisional round — to their AFC North rival the Cincinnati Bengals, no less.
Beginning in Week 13, the Ravens turned to third-year quarterback Tyler Huntley. The offense almost immediately sputtered, with the Ravens scoring a combined 59 points in the five games where Huntley took over. That's fewer than 12 points per game. It's not all on Huntley, of course; the team was missing other key pieces. Yet there was a clear difference in performance between the Jackson-helmed offense and the one Huntley led.
By the end of the season, Huntley finished 75 for 112 for 658 yards (48th in the NFL), two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Yet through a combination of injuries and other players declining their invitations, Huntley is on his way to the Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas.
Huntley's two touchdown passes are the fewest for a Pro Bowl quarterback since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. Here's how he received the honor.
The league announced Pro Bowl rosters in December. The AFC quarterbacks included Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Josh Allen. The alternates were Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jackson.
Mahomes is in the Super Bowl, so he has to miss the Pro Bowl. Allen and all three alternates are injured and can't (or have decided not to) play. Burrow, who just lost in the AFC Championship Game, is skipping the exhibition, too.
That opened the door for Huntley as the fourth alternate. Derek Carr and Trevor Lawrence will join Huntley as other Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Carr seemed a bit surprised by his inclusion.
Well… maybe this invitation got lost in the mail from past seasons but I'm going back to pro bowl #4. See you soon Vegas!
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) January 31, 2023
Instead of the usual exhibition game, this year's Pro Bowl has skills competitions and flag football games throughout the week. The grand finale will be on Sunday night.
Even though the Pro Bowl Games are an exhibition, there's still a bit of incentive to try. Each competition awards points. At the end of the event, the winning team will take home $84,000, while the losers only get $42,000. For Huntley, that's a big perk. His 2022 salary was $895,000, so he'd make about a 10% bonus if the AFC emerges victorious.
Either way, Huntley will enjoy his time in Las Vegas. After all, it's not every day you start the year as a backup and end it with a trip to the league's all-star game.