The Baltimore Ravens squandered an MVP performance by Lamar Jackson with an epic fourth-quarter collapse in a home loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. The most dynamic dual-threat quarterback in league history had another prolific outing in Week 3 against the New England Patriots where he led his team to a bounce-back victory 37-26.
Jackson threw for three or more touchdowns for the third straight game and for the second week in a row, he recorded four or more total touchdowns and over 300 yards of total offense. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns and led the team in rushing for the third game in a row by recording his second straight game of 100 or more yards and a touchdown to bring his combined total to five
“I just want to win, and by doing that, I just got to do what I do, play Lamar football,” Jackson said in his postgame press conference on September 25, 2022.
He now leads the NFL in passing touchdowns with 10 and total touchdowns with 12 through three games. After the game, his teammates and head coach couldn’t be any more effusive in their praise for the face of the franchise who is one of the brightest and most electrifying stars in all of sports.
“I’m amazed every time,” veteran defensive end Calais Campbell said in his postgame press conference. “It’s a front row seating, watching greatness. I’m glad I don’t have to play against him.”
“I was watching [Matthew] Judon trying to chase him down,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said postgame press conference. “We all used to be on defense like, ‘Dang, I don’t want to play against that guy.’ … What the guy does day in and day out, I don’t think anybody can duplicate it in the league.”
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh gave Jackson a game ball for “taking the game on his shoulders” and leading his team to victory.
“No one has to tell me about Lamar Jackson,” he said in his post-game press conference. “I believe in him. I love him. I just believed him the first day we drafted him, the first day we talked about drafting him. Felt like he could be everything he is.”
Many of the 25-year-old signal caller’s relentless and senseless doubters and skeptics are likely utterly mystified and dumbfounded by what he has been doing this year from the pocket as a passer especially. However, Harbaugh isn’t surprised by anything his quarterback does because of all the work he puts in in addition to his generational God-given athletic ability.
“I just think it’s a natural next step in terms of like finding his rhythm during the week, what he’s looking at, how he studies defenses, how he breaks defenses down,” he said. “It’s not a lightbulb thing, it’s an evolution of studying the game that you see quarterbacks go through.”
Lamar Lethal Against The Blitz Again
A week after he had all the answers for the Dolphins’ vaunted all-out pressures and ‘Cover 0’ blitzes to the tune of a perfect passer rating and just three incompletions, Jackson carved up the Patriots defense when they brought more than four rushers. According to Next Gen Stats, he threw three touchdowns against the blitz for the second week in a row.
Per ESPN Stats & Info, he went 9-of-10 for 110 yards against the blitz, all four of his passing touchdowns against the New England came when the defense was sending extra rushers which brings his total for the season through three games to six after having just five in 12 games in 2021.
Rookie Offensive Tackle “Dominated” After Rough Start
While Jackson was able to make the Patriots pay for blitzing, they were still able to corral him for four sacks although the first came when former Ravens’ outside linebacker Matt Judon pushed him out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage. The other three belonged to Deatrich Wise who spent most of the game lined up across from rookie offensive tackle Daniel Faalele who was thrust into action at left tackle after Patrick Makari left the game with an ankle injury.
Following a rough start, the first-year pro who the team selected in the fourth round out of Minnestoa settled down and according to Jackson, was a force to be reckoned with the rest of the way.
“Faalele is a rookie, so I knew that was kind of (what would) happen to see where he was, but I guess one sack happened after that, and he just started dominating like he did in college,” Jackson said. “I didn’t doubt him at all. None of us did. Mekari left it out on the field for us, and the linemen said it; we was all dialed in. Shout out to Faalele because he stepped up major.”
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman helped Faalele gain his barrings in his first extensive NFL action by having tight ends and running backs stay back and help him with chip blocks as well. One of Wise’s three sacks wasn’t charged to the offensive line because it occurred in another instance where he escaped the pocket on a scramble.
Jackson Is Still Improving With Even More Room To Grow
“He’s still a young quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “You watch him play, does it look like he understands what he’s going up against and what he’s dealing with out there? That’s the result of that process.”