Updated: Mar 17, 2021
Hello, Smash fans. Today I wanted to talk about Lamar Jackson’s performance in the divisional round of the playoffs. I have seen a decent bit of hate on Lamar the past few days, so I really wanted to take an objective look at Lamar's play and see how good or bad he really was. I figured I would do this by using 3 categories:
How well he managed the game,
How many plays he was able to create,
How well the Raven’s game plan worked.
To start off, Lamar actually did a really good job of managing the game for the first two quarters. He was able to keep the chains moving and put his team in scoring position on a decent number of drives. If Justin Tucker hits all his field goals, the game going into halftime would have been 9 to 3 Ravens and that is a pretty favorable score considering the fact that the Ravens couldn’t run the ball effectively. Not only that, but really the only mistake Lamar makes is that pick 6. Other than that, Lamar plays, from what I can tell, another clean quarter and a half before his injury. This is a massive improvement from last year when you could tell how frazzled Lamar got and how many mistakes he made. With all that in mind, he still did throw that pick 6 so the grade for management is a solid C.
From what I watched, Lamar Jackson made 5 plays in this game that I don’t think would have been possible if the person who had the ball in their hand wasn’t Lamar. There were times in that game where you felt the fact Lamar was just so elusive. At times, it felt like Lamar was able to distort where he was by just a hair and that made it near impossible for him to be tackled. You combine that with the fact that Lamar had some really great passes in this game as well, and I would give the great plays part of Lamar Jackson’s overall grade a B+ because even though all the plays that he made were great, they never led to any points for his team during the game.
Finally, the Ravens' initial game plan did not work. After the first drive, the Ravens could not run the ball. This made it so Lamar had to throw a lot. Now, this would be that bad if the Ravens had good receivers, but the thing is the Ravens don’t have a true number 1. Both Willie Snead and Marquise Brown are good receivers, but they are more complementary pieces instead of number 1 options. However, you can get around this for some time if you have a scheme for passing. The Ravens don’t have that. It is clear that Greg Roman, for whatever reason, hasn’t developed the passing side of the playbook that well, so all of the Ravens passing plays are pretty basic. You put that with the fact you have a quarterback with an ok arm, but not a great one and a below-average group of wide receivers, you are going to get a bad pass offense. With the above in mind, I give the Ravens game plan a C because they tried to lean on, their strength, but once that strength was taken away, they didn’t know what to do.
For the reasons I outlined above, I would give Lamar a B overall for how he played in the Bills game. Yes, Lamar made the biggest mistake of the game by far, but other than that he was able to manage the game well. Not only that, but Lamar was also able to generate some big plays for his team in situations that seemed dire, and he was doing all this with a sub-par game plan for the situation. Thank you all for reading until the end and until next time, PD Smash signing off.