Forget what the rest of us think of Lamar Jackson.
You want to know who really loves the Ravens phenom of a quarterback? The guys blocking for him. And catching the ball from him. And coaching him. And working with him.
It’s the players right next to him.
We hit on part of this in last week’s Monday Afternoon Quarterback—it caught my attention how after Baltimore beat the Patriots in Week 9, Jackson stuck up for tight end Nick Boyle. And I had a similar moment with Jackson again at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon, as he called from a victorious Baltimore locker room with a budding juggernaut around him.
I wanted to talk about another ridiculous performance of his. He had other ideas, and that came out when I asked him what part of the Ravens’ 41–7 blowout of the Texans made him most proud.
“Seth [Roberts]’s first touchdown [as a Raven],” he said, referring to the wideout. “I’ve been wanting him to score his first touchdown forever—since the season started. He finally got it. That was probably my post proud moment of that game.”
“Because he hadn’t scored all year,” Jackson responded. “He’s been doing a great job blocking downfield, but he’s not a lineman and he’s not a tight end. He’s a receiver and he’s always with us. He’s versatile even if he’s not getting the ball.”
Defensive Notes vs Texans 11/17/19 - Ken McKusick
The Ravens did not chase De’Andre Hopkins with Marlon Humphrey in this game. That may have given us a clearer picture of just how effective he can be. Humphrey was targeted only twice as I scored it with a 37-yard incompletion to Hopkins down the right sideline and an 8-yard completion to Coutee (Q4, 8:21). In a game where Watson was frequently unable to find targets despite ATS, Humphrey’s lack of times targeted stands out.
Earl Thomas did his job by bracketing 2 of the few deep shots Watson took (Q2, 1:32; Q4, 14:50) and discouraging throws in the deep middle. Watson had just 4 completions of 10+ air yards (Clark 14+6, 15+0; Peters 17+0, Levine 11+0) and no completion for more than 20 yards. I scored Thomas as responsible for 1 reception of 10 yards.
Marcus Peters knocked away a 40-yard pass intended for Hopkins near the right sideline (Q2, 1:28). He had a drive-ending coverage negated by Bowser’s RTP (Q4, 8:27). He was targeted 5 times in total with 3 completions for 20 yards.
Jimmy Smith was targeted 5 times with just 2 completions for 15 yards. He forced the airborne Hopkins out of bounds for his PD (Q2, 0:17) which denied the Texans on 3rd and 2. On 2 other occasions, he had tight coverage on deep balls that fell incomplete (20 yards for Hopkins, 27 for Stills).
Brandon Carr was targeted 3 times with 1 reception for 6 yards among 33 pass snaps.
Only against Chuck Clark, who allowed 53 yards on 3 catches/5 targets, did the Texans have any repeated success. Of his 2 PDs, one was at the LoS and ended a drive (Q1, 0:14).
Andrews caught all four of his targets for 75 yards and a score in the Ravens’ blowout win over the Texans on Sunday. He also forced two missed tackles and gained 49 of his yards after the catch.
The Baltimore Ravens are the best and most exciting team in the NFL.
I’m not crowning anyone. Not even close. But if I had to pen the Power Rankings, the Ravens would be at the top of the charts. So these are big facts.
Lamar Jackson is everything. He’s majestic and simply dominant in every phase: great thrower, runner, leader and winner, with a likability that’s off the charts. Jackson, RB Mark Ingram, TE Mark Andrews and offensive coordinator Greg Roman (my current pick for Assistant Coach of the Year) absolutely pasted the Texans in Baltimore’s 41-7 win. This highly anticipated game was supposed to be a show, and the Ravenscertainly did their part, racking up 491 yards of offense, including a whopping 263 on the ground. That kind of explosive offense is what makes this team so thrilling. But what puts Baltimore over the top, when you’re talking about the league pecking order, is the revitalized defense.
Frankly, defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s unit was terrible in the opening stretch of this season. But, as safety Earl Thomas told me a few weeks ago, everything changed with the Seattle game. And everything changed with general manager Eric DeCosta’s brilliant deal for cornerback Marcus Peters in October. The defense stymied the Patriots in Week 9 and suffocated the Texans on Sunday. John Harbaugh, who remains one of the very best coaches in the league, has this team surging with six straight wins, including victories over Seattle (8-2), New England (9-1) and Houston (6-4) in the past month. This is heady stuff.
“I just had to come out and get a good start,” Judon said. “It’s not like I’ve been rushing bad. I just feel like some of the quarterbacks we’ve been facing got the ball out of their hands quicker, and I just stayed in pursuit today like I’ve been doing the whole year. We all know, man, you can go on a drought, and then you can catch fire in an instant.”
“It wasn’t bad before, it was good before,” Harbaugh said of Baltimore’s pass rush. “Nothing’s different we just got there. We’ve been getting quarterback hits up to that point. I really think the pass rush has been good all year. The fact that we got the seven sacks and got the reward this game is awesome.”