Surprise, surprise, the MVP of Week 1 for the Ravens is, well, the 2019 NFL unanimous MVP.
QB Lamar Jackson quickly dispelled any notions of opposing defenses adjusting to him over the offseason. The Browns did a good job of stifling the Ravens’ rushing attack, but it didn’t matter as Jackson took control of the game with his arm to the tune of 275 yards, three touchdowns, and a near-perfect passer rating. This earned Jackson his sixth AFC Offensive Player of the Week award.
Your AFC Offensive Player of the Week is @Lj_era8 pic.twitter.com/gahWWNn5bJ— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 16, 2020
Jackson’s first touchdown came on the team’s first offensive drive. On 2nd-&-goal at the five-yard line, Jackson connected with his favorite target, TE Mark Andrews, in the back of the end zone for the score.
The duo is back! @Lj_era8 to @Mandrews_81 for the TOUCHDOWN! pic.twitter.com/jwAN7q1iIr— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 13, 2020
Jackson’s most impressive drive was perhaps one that didn’t end in him scoring. After starting at their own one-yard line, Jackson orchestrated a 99-yard drive flawlessly, ending in a touchdown run from rookie running back J.K. Dobbins to go up 17-6. On the drive, Jackson connected with WR Miles Boykin for a gain of 25 yards, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for a gain of 21, and Willie Snead IV for a gain of 16.
Jackson’s second of three touchdowns came with under a minute left in the first half. Starting at Baltimore’s 31-yard line with 41 seconds left in the second quarter, Jackson drove the offense down the field to Cleveland’s nine-yard line with just four passes. On 3rd-&-goal, Jackson found Andrews once again in the end zone, this time on a back-shoulder throw away from the nearest defender.
Numero ✌ for @Lj_era8 and @Mandrews_81! pic.twitter.com/06bj6xSSnM— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 13, 2020
Jackson’s third touchdown was a 19-yard pass to Snead. Jackson displayed nice touch on the pass to put the ball right on the outstretched hands of Snead in the end zone an out of reach of the trailing defender.
Need IV Snead❗️@Lj_era8 ➡️ @Willie_Snead4G ❗️ pic.twitter.com/LOSr3ZEnqQ— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 13, 2020
Jackson finished the game with 25 passing attempts to only seven rushing attempts. As hard as it is to fathom, the reigning MVP seems to have gotten better over the offseason. If this first game is any indication of how far Jackson has progressed mentally, than the rest of the league will have an even harder time stopping the already nearly-unstoppable force.