Ravens QB Lamar Jackson wins AFC Offensive Player of the Week
Not only did the Baltimore Ravens pick up where they left off in 2019 looking like the best team in the regular season, so did their franchise quarterback and reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson. For the second consecutive year, he opened the season by winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
He won it five times during his unanimous MVP winning breakout second season in 2019 and this makes the sixth time in his young career as he opens up his third season and just second as the full-time starter with yet another bang. Tom Brady (2007) and Cam Newton (2015) are the only other players to win the award five times in a single season but Jackson is off to another hot start and could break the record if he keeps up his current pace.
Jackson won the Week One honor to kick off last year by lighting up the Miami Dolphins in a homecoming of sorts for the Florida native to the tune of five touchdowns and a perfect passer rating. This time around he did it by opening up the year with an almost flawless performance in the Ravens commanding 38-6 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore.
He didn’t tie his career-high in passing touchdowns for a single game of five that he did twice 2019, but he did lead six scoring drives by mostly carving up Cleveland’s secondary and leading the way on the ground. Jackson finished 20-of-25 for 275 for three touchdowns and a nearly perfect passer rating of 152.1. Jackson also led the team in rushing as well with 45 yards on seven carries.
Jackson produced one of if not the best pure passing performance of his career to this point and Pro Football Focus, the leader in analytics, provided some analysis to back it up. According to PFF, only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers earned a higher passing grade from inside the pocket than Jackson in Week One (94.8 to 92.1) and no one was better when pressured in under 2 seconds than him, going a perfect 4/4 while all other quarterbacks only completed 42 percent of their passes in the same situations.
The Ravens face of the franchise continued to prove his critics wrong by displaying the leaps and bounds that he improved as a passer for the second straight season which is scary considering he led the league in passing touchdowns with 36 and posted a 6-1 touchdown to interception ratio.
Jackson showed that he can be a deadly accurate thrower both outside the numbers and deep down the field, two areas where his skeptics said he needed to improve and doubted he could, at least not this quick. Against the Browns, he was surgically accurate with several of his throws at every level of the field.
He threw a dime short on the run to his right to Miles Boykin on the boundary with a side-armed throwing motion that picked up the first down. He completed a perfectly placed pass at the intermediate level to tight end Mark Andrews over the heads of two Browns defenders close in coverage. One of his best throws came on the first play of the Ravens third drive of the game when a connected with Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown on a 47-yard deep bomb down the left sideline.
He’s already off to a great start to making a run at another league MVP award but he isn’t worried about winning any more individual awards unless it is probably Superbowl MVP since it goes to the player on the winning side of the ultimate title game which is his ultimate goal.