It must be tough for a team to have a good passing offense when they have a running back playing quarterback. At least, that’s what non-Baltimore Ravens fans would have you believe.
Meanwhile, if you are a Ravens fan, you’re more than content sitting back to enjoy watching the Ravens pass the ball, with the knowledge that your running back for a quarterback is actually a better quarterback than most in the league.
In Sunday’s victory over the Denver Broncos, Lamar Jackson put the offense on his right arm, as the Broncos held the Ravens rushing attack in check and left it all for Jackson to throw for.
His response? A 23-7 Ravens victory, and a performance signaling he is so very far beyond being a running back posing as a QB.
Lamar Jackson put the Ravens on his arm
The Ravens have had an up-and-down start to the season despite their 3-1 record, but Jackson has been steadily showing his improvement as a passer.
Part of the Ravens’ perceived struggles has come from the team not having the trademark rushing performances we have become used to.
As a result, more pressure has been put on Jackson to throw the team to victory. On Sunday against Denver, that was more evident than ever.
The Broncos did an excellent job defending the run, effectively (but not technically) holding the Ravens to fewer than 100 yards rushing for the first time in 43 games.
The burden to move the ball, therefore, fell on Jackson’s arm, and he delivered.
While it may not have been the most explosive passing performance, with the Ravens reaching the endzone just once, Jackson did eclipse the 300-yard passing mark for the first time in his regular-season career, and just the second time ever.
In doing so, he had his share of big-time throws.
On the Ravens’ first scoring drive, his 24-yard pass to Mark Andrews was excellent, leading Andrews upfield away from the coverage, giving him space from the sideline, and floating the ball over a defensive back accurately. It was an excellent throw.
Of course, it’s hard not to talk about his bomb to Marquise Brown, which traveled 60.8 yards in the air — the second-longest throw of the year. While Brown had to dive, it was a hell of a throw 60-yards downfield.
More impressively, though, was the totality of his game. He was a lot calmer in the pocket and showed more composure. He routinely stood in the pocket and scanned the field well, working through his progressions.
Among the big throws were multiple on-time, accurate passes to move the chains. He moved well in the pocket and scrambled well when he had to — but he was a lot more patient before doing so.
It was a mature, calm, and authoritative quarterback performance which really highlighted his progression.