On the eve of the 2019 NFL season Lamar Jackson was asked his thoughts on the Ravens offence coming into the new season. Jackson raised eyebrows by replying “hopefully it’s the best offence they’ve ever seen.” Jackson set the bar high heading into the season opener against Miami and proceeded to smash it.
Jackson finished the game by the start of the fourth quarter with the Ravens up 52-10, with a personal stat line of: 324 yards, 17 of 20 with an 85% completion percentage, 5 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. “Not bad for a running back”, Jackson joked in his post-game press conference, however, one can’t help but take this comment as a warning to the rest of the league.
Coming into the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson faced his fair share of criticism from certain analysts regarding his accuracy issues, as well as the tired criticism of athletic quarterbacks that they may struggle to grasp a pro NFL offence. Jackson’s “not bad for a running back” is a pointed comment which should put to rest the tired suggestions that Jackson should play running back or even wide receiver.
Looking at the game itself, it was over by the end of the first quarter. The explosion of Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown was one of the headlines on Sunday. Jackson and Brown should real signs of a dangerous quarterback and wide receiver duo on Sunday. The pair connected four times resulting in 147 receiving yards for Brown and two touchdowns. The pair of touchdowns coming on Brown’s first two catches were truly electric. With Tyreek Hill expected to miss a few weeks with a shoulder injury, the door is wide open for the NFL to be conquered by another speedster.
On Brown’s first touchdown, a 3rd & 3 deep shot, the rookie WR beat his man on a deadly post route and had the ball dropped perfectly into his hands by Jackson, resulting in a 83 yard touchdown. The poise shown by Jackson on this throw was exceptional. Reworking his throwing mechanics was a point of emphasis for Jackson this offseason and that hard work has clearly paid off. Combining his natural arm strength with a new and improved, silky smooth throwing motion makes Jackson one of the more deadly quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Mike Vick comparisons are obvious. With just a flick of his wrist Jackson can launch the pig-skin down the field. However, unlike Vick, it appears that Jackson has developed his accuracy skills. Jackson’s first in-completion came with three minutes left in the 2nd quarter.
Jackson hoped that fans would witness the best offence they’ve ever seen. By the end of the game, Jackson had broken one franchise record – most points scored in the first half and tied the franchise record for most touchdown passes with 5.
While it is true that the Ravens were playing the pitiful Dolphins, it was still an impressive performance nonetheless. A mouth-watering fixture presents itself next week with Baltimore going up against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals. If the Ravens can maintain this level of offence then they are sure to be contenders for the Lombardi trophy come January.