Lamar Jackson is correct in assuring that the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens should not focus on the quarterbacks duel with Patrick Mahomes, but perhaps it should focus on the style of play of both quarterbacks.
This Sunday night’s game pits two AFC heavyweights who started the 2021 regular season in contrasting fashion, but as the Chiefs won with a Mahomes trademark comeback, the Ravens fell in a game. in which Jackson looked visibly uncomfortable.
In the offseason, Greg Roman, the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, indicated that he would use Lamar Jackson more time behind center and not as much in the pistol formation (away from center) as he did last year.
In Monday night’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Jackson worked longer behind the center and in the protection bag, aspects that notably bothered the passer, who under those circumstances, was constantly pressured by the defense of those in black and silver.
The Raiders pressured Jackson on 44 percent of the Ravens’ designed passing plays and did so with virtually only their front defensive linemen. When they did send cargo packages, Las Vegas did so twice, both of which, on the third down, resulted in a sack, the last involving a Jackson fumble in overtime that set up the winning field goal for the Raiders.
Although he ran 12 times, more than the average of 11 per game in 2020, Jackson did it several times to escape the pressure, not on plays designed to run, that is, nor is he used to playing inside the bag. protection nor his offensive line to protect him so long.
What the Ravens are used to is Jackson having the option to run and not running as a resource, as most mobile quarterbacks in the NFL tend to do.
In turn, the Chiefs came from behind to beat the Cleveland Browns in a duel in which Mahomes won his 10th game in the NFL after trailing by 10 or more points on the scoreboard.
Mahomes commanded the comeback with his characteristic hallmark: receiving the ball from the center and if his first pass option is not free or the pressure comes quickly, he runs laterally to gain time and give his receivers time to uncheck. The 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill with which Kansas City turned the board is faithful proof of how the Chiefs passer shows his elusiveness to make his attack walk.
We mentioned that Mahomes knows how to escape pressure in time when it comes quickly, that is, even though they made drastic changes in that area, the Chiefs are not without problems to contain the defensive front.
Although the damage was not major, tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Lucas Niang struggled to dominate the Browns defensive ends and as has happened since 2018, his first season as a starter, Mahomes has hidden several shortcomings of his offensive line with its mobility and elusiveness.
After Week 1, Brown and Niang are ranked 59th and 60th out of 61 rated tackles on the passing blocking win average metric (2.5 seconds to dominate defensive lineman), which proves why Mahomes tends to Show off your elusiveness frequently.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.