Week 4 was a great bounce-back game for Baltimore after a rough performance against the Chiefs the game prior. After a bit of a slow start in the first quarter, the Ravens got it together and handedly defeated the Washington Football Team by a score of 31-17.
Lamar Jackson had a great game, completing 14-of-21 passes and throwing two touchdowns, plus rushing for 53 yards and another touchdown. The biggest reason why Baltimore looked so great is probably the easiest answer; Lamar Jackson is a Top-3 quarterback and there’s very little lesser teams can do to stop him.
Today we’re gonna take a deeper look into the touchdowns by Jackson and the Ravens offense to see how they so easily walked through this Washington defense.
Today’s first play comes with 10:05 left in the 2nd quarter. At this point, Baltimore is up 7-0, and it’s 3rd-&-4 on the 50 yard line. As you can see, the Ravens are in a shotgun formation with four receivers out wide and Dobbins to Jackson’s left. Washington is sending four people on a blitz, but Baltimore is running an option play.
At the decisive point, a defender has chosen to cover Lamar on the option, but has slid too far to the left and Lamar keeps the ball and runs right past him. Another defender had completely bitten on the play, believing Dobbins had received the handoff, and couldn’t at all react in time to catch Jackson. Bozeman makes a great block, Jackson sends the last defender to eat some dirt, and it’s an easy touchdown.
This play is, in a lot of ways, the perfect Lamar showcase. He sees the coverage, makes a quick decision, beats people with his speed, never even looks at the defender he stiff arms, and cruises into the end zone. Jackson has proven time and time again that he is faster than 99% of the NFL, and here it’s clear that there is nobody on the Washington defense that can even dream of catching him.
The next play comes with 1:57 left in the 2nd quarter. It’s 3rd-&-7 and the Ravens are sitting at the Washington 25 yard line with a 14-7. Jackson is once again in shotgun, with Dobbins to his left and four receivers wide out. Washington sends four again, and Jackson immediately has three options to throw to down low. It’s third down, so he is hesitant to check down for a short pass and wants to wait for something to open up deep.
Andrews moves behind the lineman that are sitting in a zone, and as he frees himself up Lamar begins to feel pressure and moves to his left. Jackson quickly sees that Andrews is open by the sideline, turns his hips, and delivers a perfect pass right into his tight end’s hands for the touchdown.
The previous play was a fantastic Lamar run, this one is a beautiful Lamar pass. The patience to pass up the easy option and wait for something to open up is something that he’s been criticized in the past for not doing, and here shows that’s an area he’s improved in. He senses the pressure without panicking, and delivers a perfect long ball to Andrews.
All of the things Jackson does well in this play are things that people have criticized him for having issues with in the past, showing a marked improvement in these areas that have caused him significant trouble.
Our final play comes with 8:45 left in the 3rd quarter, with the Ravens facing a 3rd-&-9 from the Washington 22 yard line. At this point, Baltimore has a comfortable lead, but they can’t let off the gas just yet. Lamar is in the pistol formation, and with only one wide receiver out, he has a lot of size near him. Washington has a wall built behind their line, preparing for a probable run from either Jackson or Edwards, but it’s a play action pass. All three linebackers bite on the play action for just a moment, but that’s enough time for Andrews to sneak past them and Jackson to hit him — resulting in another easy six points for Baltimore.
This play doesn’t showcase Lamar quite as much as the other two plays, but more the plan from the coaching staff. Washington is expecting a run, especially since the Ravens ran a run up the middle in literally the same exact same formation just one play before. They knew if the linebackers bit on the play action just a little bit that Andrews would be able to get by them, and that’s exactly what happened. Jackson threw a great ball, Edwards got a good block, but it’s the design of the play itself and the ones before it that allowed this to work so well.
All in all, it was a great performance by all involved on Baltimore's side, but Jackson definitely deserves all the praise he isn’t really getting after this performance.