Baltimore Ravens: Lamar Jackson has been proving critics wrong

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

With critics since day one, Lamar Jackson has been out to prove them all wrong. They may still question him, but Jackson keeps exceeding expectations.

As if it wasn’t already obvious, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is the best player on the team. Jackson is no stranger to breaking records and is considered one of the best rushing quarterbacks ever in the NFL. After taking over for former quarterback Joe Flacco in week eight 2018, Jackson became the most sensational player around the league. The former NFL MVP does things on the field that many can’t duplicate.

In three seasons with the Ravens, Lamar Jackson has proven naysayers wrong about what his professional position in the league should be. A Los Angeles Chargers scout once asked Jackson to try out at wide receiver. Puzzled by the question, Jackson made it evident that he was going to play quarterback in the NFL. Receiver is not the only position Jackson has been compared to. Many analysts and NFL fans have called Jackson a running back. Following a huge week one performance in 2019, Jackson threw for 324-yards and five touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins, he took a jab at his critics after the big win.

Jackson’s most electrifying plays come when he runs the ball. In 2019, Jackson surpassed Michael Vick for rushing yards by a quarterback by week 15. Jackson would finish the season with 1,206 rushing yards. His best rushing performance came in week six against the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson rushed for 152-yards and a touchdown.

At the conclusion of the 2019 season, Lamar Jackson became the unanimous NFL MVP and cemented history by becoming the first Ravens player to win the prestigious honor.

While the 2020 season in no way can be compared to what he accomplished in 2019, he did not perform terribly despite what some may have you believe. Last season Jackson started in 15 games and had a quarterback passing rating of 73.7 (7th overall). The rating is down from what it was in 2019 (83.0, first-overall) but not terrible in a passing league.

What many people know Lamar Jackson for is his rushing ability and he has plenty of it. Jackson became -the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000-yards in back-to-back seasons in 2019 and 2020. He may have rushed for over 1,000-yards in 2018 if he would have had the starting job to begin the season. Jackson also moved into12th all-time on the quarterback rushing yards list with 2,906 in just 37 starts.

Another “narrative” that critics brought up during Lamar Jackson’s career was that he could not win when it mattered most. Before the 2020 season, Jackson and the Ravens had been in the playoffs in 2018 and 2019. In both games, Baltimore was not competitive despite losing in 2018 to the Chargers by only one score. During the 2018 playoff loss, Jackson was a rookie and the youngest quarterback to start an NFL playoff game. The loss that shocked people most of all was in 2019 when the Ravens finished with a 14-2 record with the No. 1 overall seed. Baltimore hosted the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium and got steamrolled. The blame was brought on Jackson despite him throwing for 365-yards and a touchdown. Jackson would get his revenge in the 2020 AFC wild-card round.

After starting his postseason career 0-2, Jackson changed the “narrative” and won his first playoff game at Tennessee. Jackson was not perfect, but he did just enough to lead the team to the divisional round and proved the doubters wrong.

Jackson has thrived off of not being who everyone thinks he is. He’s quickly risen up the ranks in the NFL, shattered records, won the NFL’s MVP award, and led the team to a 30-7 record as a starter with three trips to the playoffs.

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Lamar Jackson is an electric player unlike any we’ve seen before. As many continue to awe in the success that Jackson provides around the league, don’t take it for granted. Even if you’re a critic, appreciate the greatness that he provides on Sundays. You will never see it from another quarterback again.