Ravens have winning formula with Lamar Jackson: Can they withstand his biggest flaw to reach the Super Bowl?

BALTIMORE — John Harbaugh couldn’t stop raving about the defensive clinic his team put on Sunday night. The Baltimore Ravens held the Cleveland Browns — the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack — to just 40 yards (the lowest in a game under Kevin Stefanski), forced two fumbles, and pressured Baker Mayfield 18 times in a dominant performance. 

Baltimore held Cleveland to 10 points, despite the four interceptions thrown by Lamar Jackson. The Ravens defense continued to frustrate the Browns and what they were trying to execute on offense, showcasing their power in the AFC North. Baltimore is going to be a tough out in the AFC and a Super Bowl contender — again. 

Yet the same issue persists with the Ravens in Year 4 of the Jackson era: Can the Ravens win the Super Bowl with Jackson’s arm instead of his legs?

It’s no secret Jackson is the most dynamic athlete on the field and the hardest player to contain. Even in a four-interception night, the Ravens quarterback still made the play necessary — a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews — that helped the Ravens seal a 16-10 victory over Cleveland. That’s the aspect of Jackson’s game that’s so frustrating for opposing defenses, especially against a defense that has allowed 16 points or less in five of their last six games. 

Can Jackson’s arm carry the Ravens past the divisional round of the playoffs, even if Baltimore gets the lone bye in the conference? Jackson’s passing numbers are not exactly where they’ve been the previous two years. His 64.2% completion rate is his lowest in a full season as a starting quarterback while his touchdown rate of 4.4% is a career-low and interception rate of 3.5% is a career-high. 

Jackson has averaged 261.2 passing yards per game (by far a career-high) as the Ravens have been more reliant on his arm with the season-ending injuries to their top-two running backs, but he already has 12 interceptions…


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