Pro Sports

Lights, Camera, Jackson! How Lamar Jackson is proving the doubters wrong

(Left-Right) Head Coach John Harbaugh, Running Back, Mark Ingram, Safety Earl Thomas, General Manager, Eric DeCosta.

After the 2018 Week 8 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens bye week would one of the biggest in the team’s history. Their next opponent was the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Flacco was mediocre at best. The Ravens spent a 2017 1st round draft pick on Louisville quarterback, Lamar Jackson. For many analysts, Lamar was considered the best mobile quarter back since Mike Vick. Lamar’s speed and sense of pressure was his best weapon, while his arm is something that would have to be improved upon. Jackson would be thrust into the starting role after the bye week, relegating Joe Flacco to the backup role. Jackson finished the regular season 6-1, leading Baltimore to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. In the AFC Wild Card game, Jackson wasn’t ready for the Chargers defensive scheme, and he made some “rookie” mistakes. Nevertheless, he led a rejuvenated Ravens team to the playoffs.

Over the off-season, Baltimore added a plethora of weapons, including elite safety Earl Thomas III , who was looking for a clean slate in Baltimore. They also added Heisman winner Mark Ingram. Ingram has always been in the shadow of better backs while in New Orleans. Ingram now has the opportunity to be a workhorse back in the Ravens run-first offense, and he could be an elite back by the end of the season.

Lamar Jackson took the loss to the Chargers to heart. He heard fans chant, “We want Joe.” People often forget that Lamar made the game competitive in the 4th quarter. He took the hate and turned it into motivation to make 2019 his break-out season. He also wanted to prove to people he isn’t just a running quarterback. Lamar went in to this off-season with motivation, determined to improve upon his first year. He worked out with some of his receivers months before any organized football was scheduled. He also worked with his own quarterback trainer. With his hard work, the rest of the NFL was about to know why the Ravens drafted him.

The 2019 season will hopefully be a huge season for Baltimore, as they’ve given Lamar the talent to succeed, having they built the offense around him. Their first play for the season, from scrimmage was a 49-yard-run by Mark Ingram. That set up Lamar with a drive in Miami territory. Lamar lead the Ravens to the goal-line, with the drive being capped-off by a Mark Ingram rushing touchdown. Later, Lamar launched a bomb to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, with Brown’s first catch in the NFL being his first TD. His second catch was a 83-yard touchdown. The Lamar threw 3 more TD’s to Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, and Mark Andrews. The Ravens came out of Miami with a blowout 59-10 win. The Ravens record scoring day built hype for week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Lamar’s week one performance had put the rest of the NFL on notice. He won the Fed-Ex Player of the Week. He also won the AFC Player of the Week. Lamar had to keep proving people wrong.

Against the Cardinals, Lamar had his struggles throughout the game but he always came back stronger. Kicker Justin Tucker made some clutch field goals and Lamar had another great drive towards the end of the first half. He kept making clutch throws and ran the offense like he was in full control. The Ravens didn’t have it easy in the second half. First overall pick, Kyler Murray, threw for over 300 yards. Arizona got within 3 points but the Ravens defense closed up around them. The Ravens won 23-17, and at that point were 2-0 on the season. They would play Kansas City the following week, and this game would be a true test for the Ravens. Baltimore had been playing great, but against sub-par teams, and KC was going to be the first real test of the season.

The Ravens journeyed to Kansas City, the game a duel between two of the best QB’s of 2019. Lamar Jackson vs Patrick Mahomes. The game started off with the Ravens driving down the field ending in a Mark Ingram TD. The Ravens went for 2 and failed. Patrick Mahomes took over and led the Chiefs to 3 second quarter touchdowns. The Ravens were trailing big time, down 30-13 going in to the fourth quarter. The Ravens made an attempt at a comeback, but Kansas City hung on for the win. Lamar Jackson has his struggles throughout, but he kept his team in it throughout the process. However, defensive secondary struggled to contain the Chiefs receivers. You cant give up 300+ yards to opposing QB’s and expect to win. The Ravens were then looking to bounce back in a crucial game against the Cleveland Browns at home.

Lamar Jackson vs Baker Mayfield. Both young, brash, competitive quarterbacks. This game could have massive implications come December. The game was competitive for the first half, as Cleveland held to a 10-7 lead. However, the Ravens fell apart in the second half. The defense could not stop running back Nick Chubb, nor could they effectively stop the wide-receiving group of the Browns. Chubb had a career day rushing for 3 touchdowns and over 165 yards, while Jarvis Landry gained 167 receiving. The Ravens ultimately lost to the Browns 40-25, an absolute embarrassment at home. Next, the Ravens face the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday. It is almost a must-win affair for Lamar and the squad.

Andrew Sheppard is a junior member of The Quill, and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.