Following their historic fourth-quarter collapse against the Miami Dolphins last week, the Baltimore Ravens bounced back with a 37-26 road victory over the New England Patriots. Quarterback Lamar Jackson headlines the contest with another spectacular performance, while the defense found some redemption in the fourth quarter.
Return of “The Jackson 5”
As Jackson plays on the final year of his rookie deal, the price of his new contract is only going up with each passing week. Jackson followed his four-touchdown performance against the Dolphins with a five-touchdown showing this week. Jackson continues to show that he is one of the most electrifying players in football as he passed for 218 yards and four touchdowns to go with a team-leading 107 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground.
With a fourth-string left tackle protecting his blindside now, Jackson still put the team on his back — operating a clinic with his arm and legs. Through three games this season, Jackson has accounted for 12 touchdowns and 992 total yards. If he keeps this up, the 25-year-old quarterback could be on his way to a second MVP award.
A long way to go defensively, but still some encouraging signs
After blowing a three-touchdown lead a week ago, the defense of the Ravens struggled once again for a large portion of Sunday’s contest. Baltimore’s defense allowed 447 total yards and seemed unable to stop quarterback Mac Jones through the air to start the day. Things turned around near the end of the third quarter, however, as the defense notched four turnovers, including interceptions by cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, as well as inside linebacker Josh Bynes. Rookie Kyle Hamilton also forced a fumble that was recovered by Peters.
The Ravens have allowed 1,354 total yards in just three games this season. This is simply unacceptable for a defense with so much investment. However, allowing yards can be somewhat forgiven if the defense is able to take the ball away as many times as they did against the Patriots. With the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals looming on the horizon though, Baltimore has to tighten up on defense if they want to be a true competitor in a stacked AFC.
The run game awakens
Through two weeks to start the season, the Ravens struggled to move the ball on the ground outside of Jackson. Baltimore’s stable of running backs left a lot to be desired and the offensive line was unable to generate enough push in critical short-yardage situations. While it was not a dominant ground attack this Sunday like everyone had become accustomed to with offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Jackson at the helm, the Ravens were able to rip off chunk plays and sustain drives with the running game.
Running back Justice Hill had a strong performance, rushing for 60 yards on six carries, including a 34-yard gain. J.K. Dobbins saw his first game action since tearing his ACL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring over a year ago in the final preseason game and should only get better as he regains form.