Lamar Jackson continues to make fools of his critics

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Dan Kubus/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Dan Kubus/Getty Images) /

Baltimore’s star QB, Lamar Jackson, just keeps winning games by continuing to baffle opposing defenses.

I am not a Lamar Jackson guy. I didn’t like the pick at the time and I can admit that I thought it was a wasted draft pick overall. I was not confident that Lamar Jackson could get it done at the NFL level and as the draft approached, quarterback was in no way, shape, or form a perceived need for me.

Once Jackson arrived in Baltimore, the thought of him being our franchise quarterback of the future disappointed me. I was hesitant when the Ravens turned the keys over to the rookie sensation last season and sent Joe Flacco to the bench. But in time, I came to the realization that this was the right move at the time and gave the Ravens the best chance to win football games.

When Jackson flamed out in the playoff game, I’ll admit that I wasn’t surprised. He wasn’t ready for that moment yet and he looked nothing like a future franchise quarterback. Jackson worked tirelessly in the offseason to make sure he wouldn’t look a fool again.

Here we are now seven weeks into Jackson’s first full season as the lead man in Baltimore and I am here to tell you that I was wrong about Lamar Jackson.

Yesterday in Seattle was the first time I can honestly say that the Ravens would have been bludgeoned in that contest without Jackson. While his numbers say he was 9/20 for 146 yards, we know that there were six drops mixed in there that prevented Jackson from adding more yards to that total. We also know that the turf and Jackson’s spikes prevented the rushing totals from soaring over 150 on the ground again.

He is a dynamic showman that consistently makes plays in big moments. He is infectious and his energy is radiating throughout this 5-2 start. Check this out:

John Harbaugh believes in his quarterback. Listen to Marshal Yanda‘s excitement when Jackson asks if he wants to go for it. Two cornerstone pillars of Ravens football over the past decade plus are completely on board with Jackson and it’s beautiful. His teammates and foes rave about his play on the field and his confidence and motivation off of it. Jackson possesses the sort of calming influence that 10 years veterans possess at age 22 and yet to start a full season worth of regular season games.

It should matter that the Ravens offense had one touchdown and three field goals yesterday. You don’t win many games like that. But it doesn’t. No matter what obstacle is put in front of this team, Jackson guides them through the disappointment and emerges victorious.

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It should matter that his biggest strength is running the football in a world where quarterback play is predicated upon being able to sling the rock successfully. But it doesn’t. Defenses try as they may, but they cannot stop Lamar Jackson from beating them.

It should have mattered that the Ravens had one viable passing catching option in Mark Andrews yesterday in Seattle and he had four freaking drops but for some reason, it doesn’t matter. It should matter that Jackson’s top wide receiver has missed the last two games completely taking away any deep threat the Ravens have (Boykin from yesterday aside). But it doesn’t matter. Two games without Hollywood Brown: 2-0.

We were told that the Ravens hadn’t beaten a team with a winning record all week and the Ravens just went into Seattle and silenced the Seahawks. Yes the defense was huge yesterday and that is to be commended but the story remains Jackson.

Jackson has proven that he is capable of throwing the ball well enough when he needs to to win games. Is he perfect in that realm? Of course he’s not. Not many are. He’s not even to this point an above average consistent passer in the NFL but he’s “not bad for a running back.” And guess what: it doesn’t matter.

Fanbases, ours included, continue to tear into Jackson when he struggles passing, misses a receiver, or runs for over 100 yards while failing to throw for 150 or more. I have been guilty of heaping unfair amounts of blame on Jackson at times. But no more.

I cannot explain it. I am not head over heels in love with having a starting quarterback that runs the ball better than he throws it. I am not sure how well this style of play lends itself to long term success in the NFL. But the reason I am not sure is because we have simply never seen this type of talent on display. Jackson is the one and only in that regard.

A quarterback that ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing yards. A quarterback that completes 63% of his passes on the season with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. A quarterback that has been getting it done without his only deep threat, holes at LG and C, and a defense that is just starting to get cooking.

Jackson is going to have bad games. Every quarterback in the NFL does. Hell after the bye, Jackson will be tasked with trying to solve Bill Belichick’s Patriots defense. Belichick makes the whole league look relatively bad on a consistent basis and this will be the largest challenge to date for Jackson. But I get the sense that it won’t matter.

If Belichick takes away his running game, Jackson will find a way to make enough plays through the air to give the Ravens a chance to win the game. Because for whatever reason, nothing seems to be able to prevent this guy from winning games.

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The Ravens are 5-2 and Jackson is running his way through the NFL. And I am all the way here for it.