For the better part of this week I’ve been traveling for work, and I have to tell ya – the Lamar Jackson hype train is really starting to reach into other fanbases.
“He made some unreal throws!”
“Lamar is winning with his arm, finally!”
“The Ravens will go as far as Lamar can carry them.”
“If the defense comes around, the Ravens are unstoppable.”
I must admit, it’s a far cry from the days of “pretty good for a running back,” and to hear these comments in WFT territory… from the Eagles nest… and Bills country??
That’s a great feeling.
Alas, let’s dig into this week’s 2MD!
About Last Week…
Ravens 31 Ponies 25
Another instant classic for the 2021 Ravens, as Lamar Jackson puts on what could be considered his best passing performance of all time.
400+ yards passing
Four touchdown passes
19-point comeback victory
AFC Offensive Player of the Week
Listen, we know that this version of the Baltimore Ravens is far from perfect. The defense can’t stop the run or the pass, the offensive line is in shambles, and the backfield leaves so much to be desired. But as long as Lamar Jackson is running this offense? The Ravens clearly are never out of any game.
With that said, let’s look ahead to the next opponent, a team I consider their toughest challenge thus far this season (yes, more than the Chiefs).
This Week: Bolts @ Birds
With the Bolts in town on Sunday, this game has the potential to be the biggest statement game of the early season for the Ravens, and quite frankly?
The defense is coming off a shaky game where Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor were able to do whatever they wanted… now that porous Ravens defense is tasked with stopping Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
In Herbert, the Ravens defense will see a QB whose passing stats nearly mimic that of their own.
Herbert: 139/207 (67.1%), 1576 yds, 13 TDs, 3 INTs
Jackson: 112/167 (67.1%), 1519 yds, 8 TDs, 3 INTs
You could take it a step further and note that Jackson has 24 plays of 20+ yards passing, while Herbert has a close 21 plays of his own, and Jackson has just eight fewer first downs throwing on the season (which surely are countered by Lamar’s ability with his legs).
So a damn good QB with some damn good weapons against a suspect Ravens defense, and I’m left wondering if Baltimore can force more than one punt this game.
Yes, I’m dead serious.
On the flip side, this has to be the most favorable run defense the Ravens have seen so far this season, as the Bolts rank 32nd in rushing yards allowed (788), 32nd in rushing yards per carry (5.6), and 15th in rushing TDs (12).
If ever there was a game for the Ravens ground game to get going? This is it.
The Ravens finally get the legs going early on with some chunk plays by Jackson and Latavius Murray… but with the defense unable to slow down the Chargers’ aerial assault, the Ravens find themselves in a two-score hole, and revert to a pass-heavy second half, only to come up short.
Lamar Jackson: 300 pass yards, 80 rush yards, 3 total TDs
Latavius Murray: 15 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD
Hollywood Brown: 5 rec, 60 yards, 1 TD
Rashod Bateman: 2 rec, 25 yards
Defensively, the secondary will struggle against Williams, who will put up 120 yards and a touchdown, while the linebackers simply cannot keep up with Ekeler, who will have 140 all purpose yards and two scores of his own. Herbert goes off for 350 yards and four passing touchdowns on the day, and the need for reinforcements in the Baltimore secondary becomes even more magnified.
Another Ravens game coming down to the wire, but Baltimore comes up short for the first time since Week One.
Chargers 38 Ravens 31
Best of the Rest
The 1 pm slate is lackluster, which is fine while you watch Ravens football.
Cards @ Browns (-3.5) 4:05 pm
The undefeated Cardinals head to Cleveland, and both teams have a chip on their shoulder, with the 5-0 Cards not being favored against a 3-2 team, while the Browns just had a heartbreak loss to the Bolts. This is must-watch tv.
Cowboys (-3.0) at Patriots 4:25 pm
I know the Pats are no longer a powerhouse per se, but Bill Belichick most certainly is, and seeing how he stifled the Tampa offense has me intrigued how he’ll handle the Dallas offense on Sunday.
Seahawks @ Steelers (-5.0) SNF
Is anyone excited for a primetime affair between Geno Smith and crusty ol’ Big Ben? I’m just watching because 1) it’s football, and 2) hopes to see Yinz fall to 2-4.
Bills (-5.5) @ Titans MNF
The Titans rushing assault is utterly insane this season, with Derrick Henry going nuts once again… but the Bills offense is on fire as well. I’m praying for a shootout here.
Random Ravens Thought
My first thought was that this section needs a new headline because this is weak… but let’s go with former New York Jet, Bart Scott, and his fiasco this week as our focus.
So a quick recap: The Mad Backer decided to go after Ravens WR Hollywood Brown, basically calling him an inferior wideout that wouldn’t start for not only any other AFC North team, and also a litany of other NFL teams that he strategically picked while disregarding other teams he’d most definitely start on. Yes, I know the intention was to hype up Lamar Jackson (whom Scott once said the Ravens shouldn’t pay until he wins a playoff game), but trashing another Raven isn’t the way to go about that message.
So here’s the thing: Scott mentioned 26 other wideouts, and of those wideouts, Brown ranks 9th in receptions, 5th in receiving yards, 3rd in touchdowns and 6th in yards per reception.
Easily top-10 in all categories, and yet Scott derides Brown as a lesser wideout than Tyler Boyd, Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Gallup, a washed Odell Beckham Jr, a hobbled Jarvis Landry, a well past prime A.J. Green… it’s all nonsense.
Do us all a favor Bartholomew: do some research before you go spouting off at the mouth, and most certainly don’t unnecessarily attack a player of a team you once played for and expect the fan base to have your back. The Jets can claim ya.