Ravens vs. Chiefs: 5 questions with KC Kingdom
Question 1: Is their a way to stop Patrick Mahomes? What has worked best for the Chiefs’ opponents so far?
Cullen Jekel: His two worst games, passer-rating wise, came in consecutive weeks last season against the Broncos and Jaguars. While the Chiefs ended up winning both of those games, Mahomes had relatively low completion percentages and threw just one touchdown versus two interceptions. Then take two of his losses last year, against the Chargers and Seahawks. The commonality there is that he threw for under 300 yards. In games in which he threw for under 300 yards in 2018, the Chiefs went 3-2.
Perhaps therein lies the key or keys: keep him out of the end zone and bottle up his receivers after they make the catch. Also, he’s still a bit hobbled after suffering an ankle injury in Week One. If the Ravens can put a few good licks on him, that could force him to shy away from staying in the pocket and looking for the big play, instead settling on shorter passes to his running backs who’ve under-performed so far in 2019.
Question 2: Lamar Jackson has a long line of doubters. So far he is proving the doubters wrong. What was your first impression of Lamar Jackson and what do you think of him now?
Cullen Jekel: Hate to see a guy lose his job due to injury, but there’s no doubting that Lamar Jackson provided a much-needed spark for the Ravens last year. His duality is such a change of pace from Joe Flacco it’s indescribable. The fact that he’s 8-1 in the regular season as a starting QB is not all that surprising to me.
While offenses shift to heavy passing attacks–I believe there are something like nine current starting QBs in the league right now who come from Air Raid offenses, including Mahomes–the Ravens went with a dual-threat QB. He’s definitely passing the ball better this year than I had expected. Amazing what an offseason with him installed as the starter can do. But I tell you what, he’s a coach saver. I firmly believe Harbaugh would be out of Baltimore had Jackson not rallied the Ravens last year, and Jackson’s college head coach, the inscrutable Bobby Petrino, crashed and burned once Jackson left.