Lamar Jackson seems to be back, and back in a big way. Granted, the level of competition hasn’t been overwhelmingly elite, but sometimes there are circumstances where you can just see that a player is in star form, especially when you’ve seen him or her do it before.
I still believe that the 2019 MVP season constructed by Jackson was the most electrifying I’ve ever seen out of a young QB with limited weapons on offense.
It truly felt like every week he was shredding defenses apart with his arm, his legs, his pure ability to make professional defenders miss and took over perhaps every game except the playoff game against Tennessee. 2020 was good as well, however, teams seemed to figure his style of play out a bit, and he struggled in the playoff game in Buffalo, where he was not effective, as Baltimore lost again.
An injury-ridden ‘21 saw his Ravens miss the playoffs, but fans knew Lamar would be back, and so would the team. A dominant win against the hapless Jets was expected, and in the ensuing week, his defense failed him as Mike MacDonald’s unit allowed an unseemly number of yards and points to Tua and the Fins, in what could only be touted as a heartbreaking loss.
Every loss starts with the quarterback, but I have reason to object in this case. Jackson accounted for over 400 yards and had his side ahead 35-14 in the fourth quarter. How do you lose that game, especially at home?
Lamar put the game behind him as soon as he could, and the team traveled to Foxborough, Massachusetts for a clash with the not-so-menacing New England Patriots. I thought ‘Number Eight’ did everything he could in this game. After it being close for a short duration, Baltimore quickly took the lead and never looked back.
Too Reliant On Jackson? #8 v #17
Jackson once again rushed for over 100 yards, while also throwing four touchdown passes. Analysts frequently wonder if the Bills are too Josh Allen-dependent, and I think the answer could be yes, but I know that the Ravens are too reliant on their QB. There is simply never a touchdown that the team scores that doesn’t involve Jackson in some way, whether he’s running it in himself or finding Mark Andrews or Rashod Bateman for a score.
Speaking of those Bills, by the way, they make the trip to Maryland this week to face Lamar and the purple birds on the road. Through three weeks, I’d say with confidence Allen and Jackson are in the top three for the MVP, along with Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. Allen leads the league in passing yards with 1,014, his best friend and favorite target Stefon Diggs leads the league in receiving yards with 344, and it feels like 2020 all over again when the Allen-Diggs connection finished the year at the top of both lists.
Bills Ravens Preview…
In a potential monster game, look for Jackson to take the over in this one, as the Bills’ defense is still decimated by injuries, and Baltimore’s hasn’t looked the same since Wink Martindale left to take the Giants’ job. As I said, this is a potential game of the week, and I thought it should’ve been on Sunday night.
Going back to the question I raised in the beginning of the article; I would have to say it’s too early to tell. Lamar looks great, throwing the football better than we’ve ever seen, and he will always be a threat with his legs. However, there are so many other guys that have shown signs of dominance such as Allen and Hurts, so while Jackson may be the frontrunner today, the headline could be very different in three weeks.
Don’t put all of your stock in the Ravens superstar just yet for MVP, however, lock him in for another elite season regardless of end of the season awards.