So it appears to be official at this point: the Lamar Jackson era in Maryland, for all intents and purposes, has begun. The Baltimore Ravens announced yesterday that with Joe Flacco now healthy enough to play—he was nearly made active on Sunday—it would be the rookie continuing to start for the fifth consecutive game.
The Ravens went 3-1 in Jackson’s first four starts, only narrowly losing in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs in their final game. They held a one-touchdown lead late in the game before the Chiefs converted two times on fourth down to tie the score. Jackson took a sack that should have cost the game already after that, but Kansas City missed a field goal that extended the action into extra time.
While the game was his first loss, it was also one of his better passing performances. He completed 13 of 24 pass attempts for 147 yards and two touchdowns, the first game of his career in which he has thrown for more than one score, now with just four on the season. He only threw one touchdown pass in his three wins.
Over the span of the last four games, Jackson has completed 52 of 89 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 58.4, throwing for 600 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. Equally important is his 67 rushing attempts, the majority of them designed, for 336 more yards and two touchdowns.
While the passing game has been pretty grounded, the running game has taken off with the rookie under center. Their 198 rushing yards Sunday was the lowest total of his four starts, gaining 914 yards on the ground in that span for an average of 228 and a half rushing yards per game.
“Obviously I’m disappointed that I can’t be a part of this team in the same capacity that I have been for a long time”, Flacco told reporters yesterday, “but you’ve always got to be ready and stay sharp and be ready for the call at any point”.
On losing his starting role as he missed time due to a hip injury suffered on the field, he said, “it’s part of the game. I’ve talked about it plenty of times. Every time you take the field, there’s obviously the risk of something like that happening. It just is what it is”.
“It’s obviously time now that I feel healthy and ready to go”, he said, to have that conversation that the team has been pushing back as he healed. “Like I said, it is what it is, kind of out of my hands. The team’s playing well, so we’ve just got to keep getting some wins and we’ll see what happens.
Flacco admitted that it wasn’t a surprise to hear the news even though he was disappointed. He maintained that he would stay excited about the team and about his role, knowing that he could still be back on the field at any time.