If you’re not buying Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s early-season breakout performances as a sign of things to come, maybe you should. The former Heisman Trophy winner has been dynamic, as well as competent in his decision making and is leading Baltimore (2-0) to a hot start this season.
Jackson, a former Louisville product, is even hotter and the results he has cooked up are boiling, ultimately making you want to scream. Last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, he piled up 120 rushing yards which set a record for the most ever by a QB throwing for over 250 yards in a single game. Thus far on the season, Lamar has completed 71.9% of his passes to go along with seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.
In an age where offensive coordinators are focusing on getting their players with speed into space, Lamar is becoming the poster-boy for evolution in the modern NFL game. Putting up video game-like numbers is something he has been doing dating back to college, which is why Baltimore felt he would be most successful adapting their offense to best utilize his skill set this past off-season.
According to ESPN, Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh says, “it’s just going to be a real conundrum for [opposing defenses]. It’s going to be a real challenge for them to figure that out.”
Jackson’s ability to both run and pass effectively makes him a dangerous threat to break away and put points on the board at any given moment. However, he isn’t the only Raven making waves. The front office felt it necessary to surround their quarterback with more weapons after last season, via both the draft and free agency.
Baltimore complimented Jackson’s late-season performance by taking a receiver in the first round of last April’s NFL Draft. With the 25th overall pick, they selected the speedy Marquise Brown from Oklahoma University. So far, the pair’s connections have been electrifying. Brown, 22, is averaging 19.4 yards per catch. All together, the duo has connected 12 times for 233 yards and 2 TD’s.
The buck doesn’t stop there either, the team invested in former New Orleans running-back Mark Ingram II to help carry the load in the team’s ground attack. Ingram, another former Heisman Trophy winner, is proving to be a nice compliment to Jackson. On the season he has carried the ball 27 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Currently, he is averaging 5.7 yards per attempt.
A case can be made that Lamar’s eye-popping numbers can be attributed to poor performances of lowly teams like Miami and Arizona. However, it’s important not to negate the fact Jackson is a winner. Since taking over for the departed Joe Flacco (Broncos) last season, the second-year signal caller is 8-1, which is something only 12 other QBs have done in the modern era.
Time will tell whether or not Jackson and the Ravens can continue their torrid pace. In the meantime, make sure you are hitting the record button for all of the Ravens’ games because Lamar Jackson’s play has the potential to become alien-like while reaching out-of-this-world heights. The guy is currently on a planet of his own and if able to stay healthy, may very well display the most diverse, statistical performance the National Football League has ever seen in any season.
Header Photo Credit: Courier-Journal