You cannot blame Lamar Jackson for the Ravens loss to the New England Patriots:
Lamar Jackson played well against the New England Patriots. In fact, this may be one of his best games of the 2020 season. The result may not be what you wanted, but the performance was impressive. That man played his heart out.
Jackson was the only thing going for the Ravens. The defense gave a very problematic effort. The offensive line was horrible and Matt Skura had a couple of bad snaps that weighed heavily on the game. Don’t blame Jackson for this, it wouldn’t have been a game without him.
Jackson was 24-34 passing. That’s right, he connected on all but 10 of his passes. He had 249 yards in the air. This was the most passing yards he has had since the season opener. He chipped in 55 yards in the run game, giving him 304 total yards. He had two passing touchdowns and an interception.
Let’s talk about that interception. Jackson gave Marquise “Hollywood” Brown a chance to win a one on one match up. The fact of the matter is that you can’t blame Jackson for diagnosing that as the spot he should go with the football. Now, the ball was a little underthrown and Jackson had to lead Brown there. It wasn’t perfect but he took a chance for the one player on this offense that is supposed to make that play.
It’s not Jackson’s fault that he doesn’t have receivers beating cornerbacks. That wasn’t the greatest route, by Brown and he didn’t exactly fight for the ball. Brown had two receptions for 14 yards and he’s supposed to be the number one receiver.
Once again, Willie Snead was the most productive receiver for the offense. Once again, Brown failed to make a big impact on a game. Jackson doesn’t have enough help in this offense. He played efficiently and his numbers would be better without a few drops by his passing targets.
Is it Jackson’s fault that when the Ravens had a chance for a go-ahead scoring drive with about six minutes to go, Skura had a bad snap that basically killed the drive? Is that Jackson’s fault? Is it Jackson’s fault that Skura had a bad snap earlier in the game when they put Mark Ingram behind center on a fourth and short? Nope.
The offense needed to score 24 points to win this game. Jackson was the leading rusher and had a passer rating of 98.8. The Ravens weren’t expected to throw the ball 34 times in those conditions. Jackson wasn’t supposed to have to lift this team completely on his back. Things didn’t go as planned.
Jackson didn’t have a chance to show he could pull off a comeback. Situations he could not control hindered his ability to be the game-winning hero. That man tried so hard though, it has to make a fan out of you. If it didn’t win you over in the frustration of the game, let it win you over in retrospect.
That being said he was the best player on the entire field for either team on Sunday night. He played his heart out and was seemingly the only Ravens player who didn’t let the elements bother him. Remember, the drops, the bad snaps, that’s a bad look. The Patriots didn’t let critical mistakes happen just because it was yucky outside.
Jackson lost control of the ball once, but he picked it up and saved it from being a negative play. He was proficient, his scrambles were gutsy and inspired and when everything went wrong around him he kept slinging the football. Give Jackson an A grade for this game. He did what he could and the negatives were mostly on his teammates. He overcame a lot and still lost.
Jackson is on a very short list of Ravens whose performance you can even call acceptable. The effort in this game really has to come into question. This was not a Baltimore team that looked hungry and determined. The Patriots took the Ravens’ lunch money. The state of mind of the team has to be questioned. Do you know what you can’t call into question? The effort of the reigning MVP.
The bottom line:
Blaming Jackson for the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers is valid. Jackson objectively played poorly in that game. Blaming him for the loss to the Patriots, or even being disappointed in him feels wrong.
If you’re down on Jackson right now you either didn’t watch the game or you were frustrated and you emotionally just blamed the quarterback. Ravens fans can’t blame this on Jackson. They just can’t. Even in a loss here, Jackson deserves praise.