The Baltimore Ravens (3-2) couldn't stop hurting their chances at beating the Steelers (3-2) last Sunday and they ended up losing (17-10 on the road) a game they simply dominated but failed to close for an endless amount of times.
One player who put on an extraordinary performance, even though the numbers might not yield that feeling entirely, was Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson completed 22 passes of the 38 he attempted (definitely not great) but between four and eight (depending on the source/stats you check) of those passes should have been caught by his receivers on Sunday, which would have painted a much better picture of his performance.
Lamar, even though completing only 57.8% of his throws, racked up 236 yards passing and he added 45 more yards on the ground through six carries. He failed to score a touchdown rushing and passing and he threw a rather horrible interception in the end zone.
That being said, Pro Football Focus graded his performance as the best one of Week 5 (PFF Grade 94.6) while naming him the Offensive Player of the Week and obviously the starting quarterback of the Team of Week 5.
"The Ravens' receivers let Jackson down at a near-historic level in Week 5. He had one of the best games of his career as a passer, throwing the ball downfield with poise and accuracy. On throws targeted 10 or more yards downfield, Jackson went 9-of-20 for 163 yards but suffered five drops from his receivers."- Gordon McGuinness, Pro Football Focus
In a piece highlighting the best players of Week 5, Gordon McGuinness of PFF kept giving Jackson his flowers, writing the following about the Ravens quarterback.
"Jackson’s raw stat line seems mediocre — 22-of-38 for 236 yards and a late interception. It doesn’t tell close to the full story. The Ravens' pass-catchers dropped seven balls against the Steelers, five of which came on throws targeted 10-plus yards downfield, letting Jackson down time and time again. Three potential Jackson touchdown passes — one each for Mark Andrews, Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor — slipped through receivers' hands. This was one of the best games of Jackson's career as a passer; it just doesn’t translate to the box score."- Gordon McGuinness, Pro Football Focus
As you can see, Lamar had barely anything to do with the Ravens' loss on Sunday, rendering all of the critics nil and, judging by the folks over PFF, making those haters look kind of bad, at best.
Jackson might have failed to accrue the numbers that a top-tier, elite-level, once-richest NFL player might be expected to get, but that was far from his own fault and more of an execution problem by the playmakers in the Ravens' pass-catching unit, from Zay Flowers to Mark Andrews and everyone in between.
The Ravens have already landed in London for their Week 6 game against the Tennessee Titans, and as long as Jackson keeps playing like he's been doing so far this season there is no reason for concern... as long as his receivers step up to the plate.