Superlatives for Baltimore Ravens at halfway point of the season

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes past defensive end John Simon #55 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 3, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 03: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes past defensive end John Simon #55 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 3, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

We’re now officially halfway through the Baltimore Ravens 2019 season and it’s time to hand out some superlatives for everyone’s performances thus far.

Star-turning performances by Lamar Jackson, Marlon Humphrey have the Baltimore Ravens in good shape halfway through the 2019 season.

With a 6-2 mark, and quality back-to-back wins over the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens are enjoying a comfortable perch atop the AFC North standings. They’re certainly in a good spot at the halfway point, with a two-game lead over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers and a four-game spread over the Clevel… oh, never mind them.

Related Story. All aboard the 2019 Baltimore Ravens bandwagon!. light

With a clear understanding that there is still a half of a season to go, let’s take a moment and recognize the top performers for these first eight games of the year.

Most Valuable Player, Lamar Jackson

This really isn’t up for debate. The young signal-caller has both elevated his play this season and emerged as the clear leader of this new incarnation of the Ravens. He has an infectious attitude that seems to elevate his teammates, coaches and, yes, fans, and it is clear that his work ethic has contributed to his standing within the organization.

As great as attitude and “try-hard” is, his performance has him on the shortlist of candidates for the league’s MVP award, as well. Jackson is currently on pace to throw for 3,626 yards, with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions — good enough for a passer rating of 95.4. Those are excellent passing statistics for a second-year quarterback. And it only tells half his story.

Jackson is also on pace to run for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns, picking up yards at a clip of 6.4 yards per carry. If these numbers hold up, Jackson will have contributed nearly 5,000 yards of total offense, to go with 34 touchdowns. He won’t turn 23 until January, by the way.

Defensive Player of the Year, Marlon Humphrey

Jackson was a no-brainer as MVP. Humphrey is in the same class when discussing the most valuable member of the Ravens defense. The third-year corner is now firmly in the “lock-down” stratosphere, as Ravens coaches have sent him traveling with the opposing team’s top receiver, if it’s Odell Beckham Jr. on the outside or Julian Edelman in the slot, and he is crushing it weekly.

Humphrey’s 70-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against New England cemented that win, and he also had a finishing blast on Seattle with a scoop-and-score in that game. On the season, Humphrey has two picks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He is a human eraser at cornerback, which is more than enough. Add in his playmaking and, well, you have a star.

Rookie of the Year, Marquise Brown

He’s been hobbled a bit by injuries and has missed some games because of it, but when he is on the field, the Ravens offense instantly becomes more dynamic. Brown is on pace for 48 catches and 748 yards, to go along with six touchdowns, numbers that will surely improve if he can stay healthy and on the field.

Numbers aside, the fleet-footed Brown changes everything. He is adept at short crosses and screens, along with vertical routes. The more he is involved with the offense, the more likely it is that a defender has to take his eye off Jackson. That is a dangerous place to be for opposing defenses.

Top Newcomer, Mark Ingram

There are some names on the defensive side, such as Marcus Peters, Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort who have been critical to that unit’s turnaround. But Ingram has been carrying the rock for the Ravens from the opener through Sunday night’s game, and his power, acceleration through holes and willingness to finish runs has been a revelation for the Ravens.

Ingram is on pace to rush for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns, at a rate of 5.1 yards per carry. He has also brought a healthy dose of attitude to the unit, bringing back memories of Jamal Lewis, Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith Sr. and Ray Rice, as emotional leaders on that side of the ball. Paired with Jackson, and spelled by Gus Edwards, Ingram has landed in a place that best suits his talents and abilities and it has worked for both parties — the Ravens are happy to have him on board.

Top coach, Joe D’Alessandris

The Ravens came into this season feeling pretty good about their young starting tackles and hoping to get another quality season from All-World guard Marshal Yanda. Other than that, the alarm bells were ringing. Perceived to be a potential weakness of this year’s team, the line has been steady from the start, and downright dominant at times.

Next. Ravens lead AFC North, Steelers not going away. dark

The Ravens lead the league in rushing at 204.9 yards per game, have only allowed 18 sacks and have inspired enough confidence in coach John Harbaugh that he has consistently gone for it on fourth and short. The unit is stronger than the sum of its parts, and that speaks to coaching.