Game Review: Jackson overtakes Wilson in MVP race

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The Baltimore Ravens came away from CenturyLink Field with a MASSIVE win that few expected. Quarterback Lamar Jackson outshone early season MVP candidate and part-time escape artist Russell Wilson. The Ravens leaving Seattle with a 30-16 win built on Jackson’s rushing ability and a stout defense – one that looked greatly improved with the addition of cornerback Marcus Peters, who kept Wilson and running back Chris Carson quiet.

If you read my game preview, you will know that the running game was going to be key to this game and that’s mostly how this one panned out. Baltimore rushed for 199 yards compared to Seattle’s 106 yards, mainly down to Lamar Jackson’s 116 yards at an average of 8.3 yards per attempt. The Ravens leaned on their run game to build long drives of 11 and 13 plays that drained the clock and placed pressure on the Seahawks.

Baltimore continued to improve its running defense, which has coincided with the return of Brandon Williams to the defensive line. Against Seattle, the defense bottled up Chris Carson to 65 yards on 21 carries after going for 100 yards in his previous three games, all of those being wins.

Lamar Jackson took over this game, showing how he’s developed as a go-to playmaker with his legs. As excited as you should be with Jackson as QB, he is struggling to move the ball with his arm and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman is not asking much of him in the pass game. I have a large concern when teams do unlock how to keep Jackson in the pocket. What will happen when he has to be relied on in the passing game?

While there were drops at key points, notably twice by tight end Mark Andrews, there was also quite a lot of inaccurate passes that weren’t there to be caught by receivers. Jackson only threw for 27 yards more than he ran for in this game. In pre-season, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti had said we would see less running by Lamar but this isn’t happening and the hits are piling up. Jackson, however, is winning games and stepping up when it matters, so long may it continue.

This was an emotional game for safety Earl Thomas who had spent first nine years of his career in Seattle as part of the Legion of Boom. He was well received by the 12s (Seattle fans) and by former teammates, but in the post-match melee, it was picked up by cameras that Thomas and Seattle coach Pete Carroll noticeably avoided each other.

Credit: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Thomas has really emerged as a strong voice and leader in the dressing room and Lamar Jackson told assembled reporters about his pre-match words to Thomas: “I told him, we’re gonna win for you. I know you were here for years; this was your original home. And we got your back. I’m gonna put you on my back, put the team on my back if I’ve got to. We’re gonna win.” (per CBS). Thomas weighed in with five tackles in this game, but controlled the reformed secondary with aplomb.

That reformed secondary featured recently arrived former LA Ram cornerback Marcus Peters who slotted in excellently. This upgraded coverage allowed Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale the opportunity to dial up more man coverage and an increase in blitzing the QB.

Opposing QB Wilson was seemingly rattled and connected on only 20 of 41 attempts, and also threw his first interception of the season. This came courtesy of Peters who jumped the receiver’s route and returned to the end zone to turn the tide in what had been a close game going into the fourth quarter

Credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer

The Ravens now go into their bye week with momentum. The other side of that bye, they play the Patriots and resume a rivalry that hasn’t been as closely contested in recent years. But I for one am excited to see the continuing improvement and some new creative ideas on the offense.

Enjoy your hard-earned bye week, Ravens Flock.

Featured Picture – Credit: Dean Rutz/Seattle Times/TNS

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