Wide receiver. Running back. These were some of the words used to project what the former Heisman award winning quarterback Lamar Jackson would play in the NFL.
Fast forward a season later and Jackson has left all the naysayers in the dust following his week one performance, which has made some Miami Dolphins players reconsider their futures. Jackson’s rookie season was highlighted by his ability to make plays with his legs. His season opener saw him shred Dolphins team through the air.
Jackson lit up the Dolphins to the tune of 10-of-11 for 210 yards and 4 TDs in the opening half. He went on to finish the game 17-of-20 for 324 yards and five touchdown passes, which is good for an otherworldly 16.2 yards per attempt and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He is the youngest quarterback ever to achieve a perfect passer rating in a game.
The Ravens set a franchise record for points in the first half, and an NFL record for points in the first half of an opener, taking a 42-10 lead at the break. They broke franchise marks for points and total yards with 643.
Now though this has a lot to do with Jackson, credit is due to the Ravens front office who built a team around him with the sole purpose of highlighting his strengths.
The Ravens offence is something out of the days of yesteryear; run the hell out of the football, then when the defence creeps up to stop the rush, throw it over their heads.
The first play of the year saw free agent acquisition Mark Ingram run the ball for 46 yards. The opening drive saw a plethora of different formations, personnel and an offence that never sat still. This resulted in an Ingram touchdown.
The second drive the Ravens faced, the Dolphins got caught creeping up on a play-action pass, and Jackson made them pay.
That was the first of two TDs on the day for Brown from Jackson. On the following drive, Jackson found Brown again for an 83 yard score. Jackson is a well established runner, but now has a target to throw to who is more explosive and fun then even his nickname would indicate.
What makes Jackson one of the more exciting players is because he is a special breed of insane athleticism and touch. This was never more evident on his fourth touchdown pass of the day when he threw a “fadeaway pass,” that would make Michael Jordan proud, after being chased 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
This was a rare instance in the game that saw the Dolphins get pressure through the Ravens’ offensive line, and even then Jackson look poised in delivering that TD pass.
It is worth reiterating that this all came against the Dolphins, a team that will find itself in the bottom of its division all year and has a real chance of going 0-and-16. But no one had expectations for the Ravens close to what they showed on Sunday. It would be unfair to expect the Ravens to perform at this level for the rest of the season. If the Ravens offense look half as good in the rest of their games as it did on Sunday, Lamar Jackson could be this year’s breakout star and Baltimore will be a conference favorite.