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PFF: Lamar Jackson’s first NFL start, Gus Edwards Jr. dominates & Michael Pierce among the leagues best

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The joy still looms large today as the Baltimore Ravens came back and won at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-21. As you know, we weren’t the only ones watching. PFF had their eyes on the matchup and with it comes their grading.

OFFENSE

On his first NFL start, QB Lamar Jackson struggled to a 50.0 overall grade. When under pressure he completed three-of-seven attempts for 40 yards and an interception, and he had the highest average time to throw among QBs in Week 11 (3.82 seconds).

Few things of note here. First, it’s not surprising that the pass grade suffered. He only threw the ball 19 times. This is why I harped on Marty Mornhinweg in my article yesterday; get Jackson some better concepts and schemes to incorporate his passing ability. If two of your receivers are voicing their frustration and the ball is thrown only 19 times, I think it’s fair to say the playcalling is suspect. This certainly impacted Lamar’s play. Next, I don’t care about the overall grade much. He did well. The cause for concern is the the time to throw. Lamar won’t be given all day like he did against the Bengals. He’ll be forced to make better reads in the future. By then, I hope Marty formulates a better strategy.

HB Gus Edwards saw his highest snap count of the season so far against the Bengals (47), and made the most of it with a team-high 90.4 overall game grade. Edwards led all runnings backs in Week 11 with a 251.9 elusive rating, forcing eight missed tackles and averaging 5.35 yards after contact per attempt.

The Gus Bus bulldozed through Cincinnati in a way we haven’t witnessed in awhile. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap couldn’t contain the run and the Bengals’ linebackers are their weak point on defense. Once past the front four, Edwards Jr. punished those who attempted to tackle the 6-foot-1 inch, 238-pound running back that he is. What’s more impressive is the ridiculous elusiveness rating. A man this big shouldn’t be capable of forcing eight missed tackles.

DEFENSE

LB C.J. Mosley recorded a season high 90.6 overall game grade. He particularly excelled in pass coverage, allowing three of six targets for 26 yards and a pass breakup.

I enjoy when Mosley plays well. I hope he always has a good game. I think he played well against the Bengals but the receiving and tight end unit is not the best with A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert both missing. Nonetheless, he played well and I hope this streak continues.

DI Michael Pierce graded at 89.1 overall, recording two hurries and one defensive stop. He now sits at sixth overall this season among defensive interior players with a 90.8 overall grade.

Love seeing the big man dominate the trenches. He’s a monster in the middle and generating pressure from the interior is the best approach to winning. Can’t step up in the pocket when the pocket is nowhere to be found.