The whimsical social media moshpit was very critical of Lamar Jackson after he passed for just 97 yards and had a passer rating of 73.1 in a 30-24 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Wk 3.
Then again, some of those same critics were the ones suggesting that he be moved to wide receiver, prior to the 2018 Draft, so really they ain’t saying nothing.
Jackson assumed the starting position 9 games into his rookie season and led Baltimore to a 6-1 record down the stretch and into the playoffs. They took the AFC North the next season and he won MVP. He has a 23-4 career record out the gate.
For some reason, people keep raising the bar before Lamar can even get a couple of full seasons under his belt. Last year was his first full season as a starter and he did as well as a 23-year-old QB could possibly do. He fell short in the playoffs, but so has Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson at one time or another.
As amazing as he’s been, Jackson is still developing. He isn’t a finished product, but he showed his resilience and ability to shut out the white noise and handle business by bouncing back this Sunday in a 31-17 win over Washington.
Lamar threw for 193 yards, 3 total TDs and tallied a passer rating of 107.8.
Lamar Jackson's 50-yard TD was the longest rushing score by a QB in the last 5 seasons.
It was also the longest rush of his career. pic.twitter.com/pAbEk55yHc
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 4, 2020
The Ravens are 3-1 and fighting for a division in the improved AFC North. It’s not going to be easy and for those thinking Jackson is supposed to go out each week and dominate like a video game, they need to go play Madden because the NFL is the real deal.
Analysts are already pitting him against Patrick Mahomes, creating a “Lamar can’t get past Mahomes” scenario after just one full season of these guys going head to head. And this year we are in a pandemic and players are testing for COVID as the season progresses. Let’s give it some time.
Mahomes has a better team right now. Jackson has a skill set that no one else in the league possesses. He set a single-season rushing record for QBs with 1,206 yards in 2019. He also tossed a league-high 36 TDs with a QBR of 82.3., so he’s no slouch with the wing. Let’s not forget the 365 passing yards he posted in a playoff loss.
Still, he was forced to remind everyone: “I hope people know I can throw now…,” Jackson told WBAL-TV while walking off the field after winning one of the 13 games he led the Ravens to in 2019.
Mahomes is 27-7 in his career. He's won his last 12 games.
Lamar is 21-4 in his career. He's only lost 1 game vs teams without Mahomes. But because he's 0-3 against who everyone considers the best QB, he can't win.
Mahomes: 109.4 rating
Lamar: 105.6 rating
— ZΛᄃK ✊🏻✊🏽✊🏿 #RavensFlock *CUP CHAMPS* (@PhantomKrueger) October 5, 2020
Mahomes has talents that are unique to him as well and a Super Bowl which puts him in very rare company. It’s also “early in the game,” as they say. I personally look forward to seeing how the respective front offices keep these teams competitive over the next half-decade and how both these QBs rank among the new generation of quarterbacks that will follow them.