Baltimore Ravens Drop Opener: How Much Blame Is On Lamar Jackson?

Lamar Jackson

owns the spotlight.

Whether the Ravens win or lose, LJ8 is going to dominate the headlines.

And never before has a quarterback (save for perhaps Michael Vick) dominated the running game so effortlessly and been so difficult to game-plan for yet remained so polarizing.

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There are no questions surrounding the 2019 MVP's ability to make plays with his legs. But when it comes to his right arm, some believe in him, and some don't. And while Jackson has consistently torched defenses with pure athleticism in the regular season, he hasn't quite been able to translate that to the big stage.

Many attribute that to his limitations as a thrower, and those inconsistencies reared their heads again Monday night.

With an undermanned backfield, Jackson took full control of his team's reins, airlifting the Ravens to several key scores in a competitive shootout with Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders.

But he airmailed some throws, missing the mark on a few open targets.

The back-and-forth affair ended with some overtime mayhem, as the Raiders walked off on Carr's rainbow heave to Zay Jones. But that play wouldn't have been possible had Jackson led his team to a TD on his final possession.

The Ravens' last drive instead ended with a Jackson fumble, setting the Raiders up in field-goal range to begin the series.

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Nick Wright believes Jackson should shoulder the most responsibility for the loss:

"Lamar Jackson is an MVP who needs to get better at a very specific part of his game: the accuracy on his passes that are not in the middle of the field, intermediate distance," Wright said on Tuesday's episode of "First Things First."

"All the other passes are spraying all over the place. It's only one game, but right now, he looks like the same passer that he's been since his rookie season."

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Jackson ended the game on a 19-for-30 clip, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown. He also racked up 86 rushing yards on 12 carries, good for a 7.2-yard average.

As Wright conceded, Jackson made some phenomenal throws, such as this 46-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins:

Some of his gaffes, though, were costly.

Still, Chris Broussard wasn't so quick to place blame on the QB.

"He was under duress. Their best offense for a lot of that game was Lamar making lemonade out of lemons, being pressured and scrambling for big yardage," Broussard retorted. 

"The offensive line didn't give him much time. He definitely had his moments where he threw the ball badly. I'm putting more of it on the offensive line that didn't protect him and the defense. This is supposed to be one of the best defenses in the league."

Colin Cowherd also leaned more toward Broussard's side of the debate:

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"Baltimore is a running team. They had a cluster of injuries at running back," Cowherd said Tuesday on "The Herd." "I mean, Lamar Jackson led Baltimore in rushing and ended up with a higher passer rating than Derek Carr, and I thought Derek Carr played well.

"Lamar Jackson — you're all bagging on him this morning on the fumbles — he had 13 total turnovers last year. And he's the most elusive quarterback, arguably, in league history. By the way, Brady last year had 13 total turnovers. You don't bag on Brady's turnovers. Russell Wilson, 17 total turnovers. Josh Allen, 16 turnovers last year. But it's those fumbles with Lamar that really bother you."

Jackson fumbled three times in the loss Monday, losing two. 

On the fumbles, he had this to say: "It ticked me off. I hate fumbling. I hate any type of turnover. The first one ticked me off 'cause we had them. They were right there, and they left points on [the board]. The second one, just got to try to have two hands on the ball. I could've took a sack. But it happens, It's football."

Jackson will have to turn the ball over less to boost his team's chances of winning. The Ravens next face the Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday.

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Source : https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nfl/baltimore-ravens-drop-opener-blame-lamar-jackson-first-things-first-debates

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