Baltimore Ravens Report Card: Grading Lamar Jackson’s first start

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Ravens quarterback, Lamar Jackson, totaled 267 yards from scrimmage in his first career start. More importantly he got the much needed victory:

Lamar Jackson was impressive in his first start for the Baltimore Ravens. The rookie quarterback led the Ravens to a 24-21 victory, which was their first win since beating the Tennessee Titans about a month ago. Jackson stepped in for the injured Joe Flacco and it seemed like a completely different team.

Jackson made his biggest impact as a running threat. Even when he didn’t carry the football, the threat of him doing so changed the game. Gus Edwards racked up 115 yards on the ground. This shows that Edwards may be the answer at running back, but it also shows that the run game is completely different with Jackson under center. Jackson had 27 carries for 117 yards.

While it wasn’t what you typically see from an NFL quarterback, Jackson made some big plays with his throwing arm. Jackson was a surprisingly efficient 13-19 passing for 150 yards. Other than a picked pass and a couple of ugly sidearm misses, Jackson passed the football well. He had some clutch passes that kept things going for the offense. Jackson was the biggest reason the Ravens won. While the passing game is still a work in progress, think about what Jackson accomplished. He led an offense that dominated time of possession 38:09 to 21:51.

Baltimore Ravens. LAMAR JACKSON. A-. Jackson was incredibly impressive in this game. His elusiveness made up for a lack of polish that would have landed most rookie passers into trouble. His biggest flaw is that he never gives up on a play. However when he keeps his eyes downfield and he can make something happen with his insane ability, it’s hard to blame him. Jackson made one really poor mistake. The interception was a forced pass on a scramble that should have seen him throw the football away. Jackson will learn from that. Jackson’s mechanics are out of whack in the passing game. He loves to force sidearm passes when it isn’t helpful or called for. There were five positives from Jackson’s performance. First his poise and smooth leadership was on display in this game. He had fun and he didn’t get shaken. Secondly he kept his focus downfield and made some good throws over the middle of the field. Next, you have to credit him for taking what the defense gave him. When there was no Bengal in the middle of the field he made them pay with a big run. Jackson did a good job of avoiding unnecessary hits as well. Fourth on the list of praise is he made something out of nothing several times in this game. Jackson is incredibly hard to sack and his slippery and quick pocket presence paid off big for the Ravens in this game. Finally, you have to credit Jackson for the impact he had on the running game. Not only did he run for over 100 yards, but they dynamic he added to the offense changed the running game completely. Jackson, Edwards and the Ravens kept the Bengals guessing and the offense was incredibly productive even if it was done so in an unconventional fashion.. QB

The Bottom Line:

The Ravens didn’t walk into this game with a fanbase filled with confidence. They entered Sunday’s contest with hesitation. The purple and black had just lost three straight games, including a heart breaker against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jackson came into this game not because Flacco was benched, but because Flacco was unable to go. Nobody knew what to expect from Jackson.

Next. Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards make history. dark

Jackson exceeded any reasonable expectation. The offense controlled the football and it was very much because of Jackson. Jackson didn’t have a perfect performance. However he put together a performance that provided M&T Bank Stadium as much energy as it has seen since the Ravens’ last Super Bowl season. You have to judge this game by the total impact that Jackson had. His passing numbers are nothing special, but when you combine the rushing total, and account for his impact on the overall rushing attack, Jackson did a great job.