Jackson Leads the Way!

The Baltimore Ravens have been sharply criticized for how they use Lamar Jackson. It seems everyone holds their breath every time he runs the ball. I don’t. Jackson is a different player. He is unlike anything we have ever seen. He is bigger, quicker, and faster than Michael Vick and RGIII. He has more touch and more zip on the ball than those quarterbacks as well. More importantly, he has an offensive coordinator in Greg Roman who knows how to use a quarterback of Jackson’s talents. It wasn’t too long ago that Greg Roman was calling plays for Colin Kaepernick. Folks are all too willing to forget the 180-yard rushing day he put on the Green Bay Packers to get to the Superbowl. Lamar Jackson is here to stay. He can run. He can throw. He can take care of himself. He is in an offense that maximizes his talents. Now, he finally has a victory over the seemingly invincible Chiefs.

The Chiefs have finally come back to earth. They are mere mortals. They are not the giant slayers that everyone has appointed them to be. We saw a preview of that last week against the Browns. The Chief’s defense has always been problematic. However, figuring out how to stop Patrick Mahomes is the puzzle everyone is working on solving. It appears the rest of the NFL is catching up with Tampa Bay on that score. Regardless, it is difficult to keep the Chiefs bottled up. The Ravens showed they are equally as difficult to keep down. Both teams executed several explosive plays to get their team to victory. Ultimately, the Ravens frustrated the Mahomes enough to get the win. Here is how it all went down.

Honey Badger

Honey Badger kicked off Sunday night football with a Pick Six. Next, the Ravens march right back down the field in 6 plays and score a touchdown. Their scoring play came on the heels of a 31-yard run from D. Freeman. The score was unorthodox. Tyson Williams takes the hand off, fumbles it into the hands of Devin Duvernay for the tying score. The Chiefs score on their next possession. The scoring play was a 33-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson. These are the highlights of the first nine minutes of Sunday night’s game.

Tyrann Mathieu picked off Lamar Jackson during the Ravens third possession. The Chiefs could not convert the turnover into points. Both teams punted the ball back to each other over the next two possessions. Then, the Ravens put together a nine play 72-yard drive ending with a Latavius Murray run into the endzone. The Chiefs answered with their own touch down on their next possession. Darrel Williams ran it in for touch down with only 51 seconds on the clock. The Ravens used that clock wisely and drove it far enough to kick a field goal right before half time.

The second act was even better than the first. The big plays returned. The Chiefs opening possession ended with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle. He outran the Raven defense for most of the yardage. The Ravens, not to be out done, executed their own 42-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Hollywood Brown. This was not a simple pass, catch and run. Lamar Jackson was under duress. As Jackson is scrambling, he sees Brown break open up the middle of the field. Jackson runs and launches himself in the air throwing the ball at Brown who catches and scampers home for the touchdown. Jackson was IN THE AIR when he thru that pass. It looked like a Tim Tebow jump pass, except that the play went for 42 yards and a touchdown. This was backyard football at its finest. It was and always will be an iconic play. However, the big plays didn’t end there. The Chiefs next possession culminated in a Travis Kelce reception, where he delivered a wicked stiff arm to a defender, juked a couple of more defenders out of their shoes and ran it in for the touchdown. At this point the score is now 35 to 24.

The Chiefs forced the Ravens to punt on the next possession. Then the Ravens defense put Patrick Mahomes under such pressure as he was scrambling, he tossed the football up hoping to throw it away. That throw away turned into an interception. Lamar Jackson turned that turnover into six points shortly thereafter. The Raven’s defense was able to force the Chiefs to punt. Lamar Jackson put the Ravens on his back and willed them down the field for another score. The two-point conversion failed but it didn’t matter. They were up by a point. The key to this drive was that it took 8 precious minutes off the clock. This left three minutes and 14 seconds for Patrick Mahomes to work with. The Chiefs final drive was going very well until Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled the ball away less than 90 seconds left in the game. The fumble was caused by Ravens rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh. The Chiefs used their time outs effectively and forced a 4th and one with a little over a minute left to play. John Harbaugh looks at Lamar Jackson and asks him if he wants to go for it. Coach nodded his assent. Lamar Jackson ended the game converting the fourth down with his legs.

Both young guns had themselves a game. It is hard to scheme against either of these quarterbacks. Only a few teams have been able to successfully do it. Patrick Mahomes threw for 343 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Lamar Jackson threw for 239 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. However, Lamar Jackson also carried the ball 16 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns. This game is an instant classic. It started with a bang. It ended in dramatic fashion. Lamar Jackson finally achieved a win against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs after coming up short two years in a row.

This win is an important one for the Baltimore Ravens. They have 15 players on injured reserve. They lost three running backs to the injured reserve in 12 days. Yet, the team racked up 251 rushing yards against the Super Bowl runner-up’s. Sunday Night’s result is a testament to the Coach Harbaugh’s ability to get his players and team ready to go despite adversity.

Both the Chiefs and the Ravens have things to work on. The season has 15 games left to go. I think we all have great things to look forward to from these two teams.

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