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The Lamar Jackson Show

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Take a second and think about these two outcomes:

• Option A) The Ravens lose in Seattle and go into the bye week. They’re 4-3 and have only beaten non-playoff teams this year.

• Option B) The Ravens win – let’s just say 30-16 going into the bye week. They’re 5-2, just beat Seattle in the dreaded 12th man stadium and get to rest for a week before taking on the Patriots at home.

How much better is option B?

There’s no sugar coating how massive this win is for the Ravens. It’s the ultimate confidence booster and it shreds the label that Baltimore can only beat bad teams.

Let’s break down how it happened

Offense – Overall: B-

The Ravens still struggled to finish drives this week and it raises a lot of questions about the red zone offense. It seems every time they get inside their opponents 20 yard line something happens. Drops, bad play calls, penalties, bad blocking. You name it, the Ravens do it.

That said, they moved the ball when it mattered, particularly in the 4th quarter during a 13 play, 9-minute, 86-yard drive that resulted in a field goal that made it a two-possession game. There’s room for improvement, but they got it done when called upon.

Jackson on Jackson – A

The passing statistics do not tell the story of Lamar Jackson’s game. He took this football game over and he did it with his best asset, his legs.

Lamar did what great offensive players do, and that’s put the team on his back when it matters. Whether it’s in the air or on the ground, it really doesn’t matter. He passed when he needed to and he ran when he needed to. That’s the thing MVP candidates do. In fact, that’s what Russell Wilson has been doing all year, and Lamar just did it in Russell’s house. That’s a statement and leads to an A grade.

Running back – B

Well I look pretty silly for playing Justice Hill in my daily fantasy line up thinking last week’s performance would lead to more work. He didn’t register an offensive statistic today. That said, Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards ran hard and picked up yards when needed against an impressive front. The blocking wasn’t always there, but you can see both fighting for extra yards which is crucial for an offense that is built around running the rock.

Wide Receiver – C+

Another game where Miles Boykin makes a splash play. The Boykin coming out party is coming and you will all be invited, but it wasn’t today. With only 9 completions on the day, it was a quiet workload for the receiver group. Not much to grade here.

Offensive Line – B

It was just a solid day for the offensive line taking on a pretty stout front 7. Jadeveon Clowney made a splash play by cutting inside Ronnie Stanley on 3rd and 2 (Q1, 11:03) to halt the Ravens in the red zone, which stood out as a negative. Other than that Stanley and Marshal Yanda stood out with some powerful blocks in the run game. Lamar seems to really enjoy running outside the left edge because Stanley is so athletic.

The pass protection wasn’t called upon significantly but it was strong. Lamar was only sacked one time today and that was the only time he was hit in the pocket, which is great.

Tight Ends – C-

The broadcast team credited Mark Andrews with 3 drops, but I counted 4.

Overall, it’s unacceptable. Now it is Andrews and we know what he can do. So I fully expect a strong bounce back, but when you factor in 4 drops, that improves Lamar Jackson’s numbers to 13/20, which are a heck of a lot different.

Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle made positive catches and all 3 made crucial blocks, but those drops negatively impacted the offense and really pushed the limits of a failing grade.

[cardoza_wp_poll id=”1659″]

Defense – A

The defensive adjustment at halftime was something we got used to last year, but hadn’t made its way into 2019. Don ‘Wink’ Martindale was taking some heat from the fan base, but he answered the bell today. The Ravens gave up 223 yards in the first half and only 124 in the second half (which included one 48-yard play).

That’s the adjustment we need to see, and the fact that it came against Russell Wilson who was having an MVP season is just gravy for Wink.

Defensive Line – B+

The pass rush remains the concern for the Ravens. They did get to Wilson more than they have other QB’s in previous weeks, racking up 8 QB hits from 7 different defenders. That said, they still are having an issue getting home on the QB and the sack numbers are non-existent. This has to be a focus of the bye week. Luckily, the improvements made in the secondary allowed the Ravens to send extra defenders which aided the rush.

The run defense, the big adjustment. The Ravens only allowed 24 yards on 10 carries in the second half after having difficulty against the run in the first half. Those adjustments forced the Seahawks away from the strength of their offense and that played into the Ravens hands with their secondary playing well. Overall, a strong day from the defensive line, but more so in the second half.

Linebackers – A

The combination of Josh Bynes and LJ Fort has been such a noticeable upgrade for this defense. They lack athletic upside, but they are savvy veterans and they play like it. Fort was a stud today and filled the stat sheet, while Bynes led the team in tackles. They’ve provided steadiness to a position that seemed all over the place and they allowed the Ravens the flexibility to include Kenny Young in the trade that brought in Marcus Peters.

Defensive Backs – A+

Welcome to Baltimore, Marcus Peters! What a debut for the former 1st round pick. He brought a reputation as a guy who may give up a few big plays, but can also make plays. Well, today he made the momentum turning play that tied the game and marked the defensive turnaround for the Ravens.

It feels like it’s been forever since the Ravens had a defensive touchdown so to get two from the secondary is a strong exclamation point. They limited Russell Wilson and stuck with the Seahawks receivers today. Marlon Humphrey didn’t have his best day, especially on the Tyler Lockett touchdown where it looked like he gave up on the play, but he took the ball home when it mattered.

Chuck Clark taking the green dot has really turned the defensive alignment around as they aren’t structurally giving up big plays like they were before. Earl Thomas was great once again. Overall, can’t ask for more from the DB group.

Special Teams – A

It’s going to be fun to watch Justin Tucker hit big kicks in the playoffs that will solidify his status as the GOAT Kicker, isn’t it?

Coaching – A

By special request, we’ve brought back the coaching grades. We already talked about Wink’s defensive adjustments, which of course bump this grade. Greg Roman stuck to the identity of the Ravens with the ground and pound style and mixture of zone and power runs, which is what the team needed.

John Harbaugh has been a hot topic this year with the analytics and the play calls in the KC game. I personally disagreed with going for it on 4th down, but it worked and sometimes the outcome is more important. Harbaugh showed that he trusted his guys and he brought them to Seattle ready to play in a momentum changing game. Major Kudos and an A for Harbaugh today.

Game Ball

Back-to-back weeks it goes to the real-life video game star, Lamar Jackson. Lamar took the game and made it his today. He also showed great leadership and emotion which is something the sideline needs right now.

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