For one reason or another, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to have the number of Baltimore Ravens’ star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson, the NFL’s MVP in 2019, has made the game look easy overall in his four seasons in the league, having already eclipsed 3,500 rushing yards and sitting just 50 yards away from hitting 10,000 passing yards, not to mention the 105 combined touchdowns he has passing and rushing.
However, when it comes to playing the Steelers in AFC North football, Jackson just can’t seem to figure out his rivals. Pittsburgh is now 4-2 against Jackson in four seasons, according to Pro Football Reference, having throw seven interceptions and taken 23 sacks in the six matchups.
On Sunday at Heinz Field the Steelers picked off Jackson once in the red zone and sacked him an astounding seven times, resulting in the one-point victory.
Less than 24 hours after the thrilling win on home turf, Steelers’ star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was asked if the Steelers had figured out Jackson and his dynamic abilities. Fitzpatrick quickly downplayed that, stating that Jackson is not the type of player a defense can just figure out.
“One, I don’t think anybody will ever be able to figure Lamar Jackson out, the type of player that he is, and the problems that he causes for teams,” Fitzpatrick said to reporters Monday, according to video via Steelers.com. “It’s nothing that you could just figure out, you know what I’m saying? I think we play well against him and we play twice a year. We have kind of a feel for how he plays and what he likes to do. It’s just everybody doing their job up front, keeping him in the pocket. In the back end, not letting any balls going over our head and anything that’s thrown in front of us coming up and tackling. So it’s just a team effort, in regards to limiting their big play ability.”
Though Jackson has a knack for forcing a number of missed tackles when it comes to playing the Steelers, Pittsburgh did a great job against him on Sunday, limiting him to just 6.8 yards per completion and a measly 6.9 yards per carry, all while sacking him seven times in an impressive defensive performance.
Fitzpatrick is spot-on that there’s no really figuring out Jackson at this point in his career, simply because he is a matchup nightmare and can freelance and make defenses pay. That said, the Steelers seemingly have it down to a science on how to play the former league MVP, consistently having success against such a dynamic game-changer with the football in his hands.