We knew Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens were going to be good this year. That much was safe to say with how well they played once he became the starter last season.
But with how the Los Angeles Chargers dominated them in the playoffs, the blueprint on how to beat them was there for the taking. Blueprints to victory only matter if a team has the personnel to implement them.
At this point in the season, it is safe to say that few teams, if any, can beat Jackson and the Ravens. Sunday, they faced one of the teams many (but not Earl Thomas) believed could be up to the task, the San Francisco 49ers.
How did it go? Well—it wasn’t easy.
Jackson and the Ravens knew they were going to have to work for it against the 49ers. San Francisco’s defense has been giving up almost 200 fewer yards a game (248.0 yards/game allowed) than the Ravens are accustomed to generating (433.3 yards/game).
As for the point differential—close to three touchdowns.
So, the Ravens knew they would need an incredible game out of their superstar quarterback, and they got it. Jackson did enough in the passing game to keep the 49ers defense honest (14-23 for 105 yards and a touchdown).
As usual, he did much of his damage in the run game (16 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown). By controlling the ball for nearly five more minutes than the 49ers, they were able to limit San Francisco’s opportunities to score.
The 49ers defense was able to limit them as well, though. Yet, as time expired, Justin Tucker connected on a 49-yard field goal to give the Ravens the win, 20-17.
It wasn’t the statistical giant of a game that fans have come to expect from Lamar Jackson; it was better. Jackson has led the Ravens to several high scoring wins, but he had yet to prove that he could grind one out against a quality opponent.
He had yet to prove he could win ‘ugly’—but he has now.
So, while the game did say a lot for Jackson and the Ravens, it also showed that they are beatable. Slow their run game down enough while not taking away from your pass coverage, and you have a chance. The 49ers defense was able to do just that, and they had a chance.
Now, they may be the only defense in the NFL that can match up with the Ravens offense. But at least we know someone can.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:41 PM UTC