Lamar Jackson threw for 275 yards on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns on just 25 pass attempts, completing 20 of them, and three for touchdowns, with zero interceptions, averaging 11 yards per attempt with a quarterback rating of 152.1.
It was just the second time in his NFL career that he threw for at least 275 yards, the first being in the season opener last year against the Miami Dolphins, which also featured him throwing five touchdown passes against a defense that did at the time have Minkah Fitzpatrick—not that it was his fault, before somebody jumps on me in the comments.
Even after leading the league in touchdown passes last year, however, there were still many who remained skeptical about who Lamar Jackson truly is as a passer. Could he ‘make all the throws’, as they say? How accurate is he, really? Can he win a game with his arm alone if necessary?
The conversation doesn’t really seem to bother him anymore. Perhaps because he’s grown confident, not just in himself and his own abilities, but also his resume. And the truth is, at least in the season opener, he did look like a different quarterback, a different passer, to some degree. Even his teammates noticed.
“You can tell he’s a lot more comfortable and a lot more pinpoint with it”, he number one receiver, Marquise Brown, said. “It’s now our job to be at the spot, because that’s where he’s putting it. He’s doing a good job of throwing it away from defenders and throwing it to where you can catch and run. So, he’s been doing a good job of just improving his game”.
For his part, Brown posted just his second career 100-yard game, after last year’s season opener, when he caught four passes for 147 yards, each of his first two NFL touches going for long touchdowns. This showing was not so explosive, but he did catch five passes for 101 yards.
And tight end Mark Andrews continues to be a prime threat after making the Pro Bowl a year ago. He caught five passes during the game for 58 yards, including two of Jackson’s touchdown passes, the other belonging to Willie Snead, who had 64 receiving yards on four catches.
Baltimore ultimately won 38-6, a dominant performance against an opponent that was pretty clearly overmatched to start the season, but the Browns are a team in transition, and with a secondary that was absent three starters in Greedy Williams, Kevin Johnson, and rookie Grant Delpit, who was lost for the season.
Regardless of the quality of opponent, though, you could tell by the actual passes that Jackson was throwing. There is something different about his delivery this year. Brown himself said it. That’s bad news for the rest of the NFL.