OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson’s struggles in the fourth quarter of this season can be summed up by his costly interception in Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the New York Giants.
With three minutes remaining and the Ravens leading by three points, Jackson picked up a misplaced shotgun shot and ran to the right to avoid the pressure. If he had thrown the ball away on the third down, Baltimore would have thrown the ball away and forced New York to go the full length of the field. Instead, Jackson threw an off-balance jump ball pass to 300-pound full-back Patrick Ricard, which was picked up by the Giants and quickly converted into the winning touchdown.
“You see Lamar coming out of this a lot and he’s going to make a game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “I have to balance that a little bit because of the unique quarterback we have. But that’s definitely one he wants back, there’s no doubt about that.”
Through the first three quarters of this season, Jackson’s QBR (72) is the fourth-best in the league. In the fourth quarter, Jackson’s QBR (28) is 29th in the league.
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But Jackson is dealing with a supporting cast that has been in flux due to injuries. He hasn’t played a single game this year with his No. 1 wide receiver (Rashod Bateman), No. 1 running back (JK Dobbins), and All-Pro left tackle (Ronnie Stanley) in the roster.
When asked if Jackson is trying to do too much, Harbaugh said, “You can probably describe it that way, and this situation [the interception] is probably a very apt description.”
After the game, Jackson shook hands with about 20 players in the dressing room.
“It was like, ‘Look, we know everything’s going to be fine,'” Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler said.
The Ravens know they could be one of the top teams in the NFL. There were two teams that held a double-digit lead in their first six games: the Philadelphia Eagles and the Ravens. The Eagles (6-0) are the only undefeated team in the league, and the Ravens are 3-3 due to their inability to finish.
Of Jackson’s 13 touchdown passes, 12 came in the first three quarters. But four of Jackson’s six interceptions came in the fourth quarter.
“We will need [Jackson] in every aspect he provides to this team; Leadership, his physicality, his ability to break the game,” said Ravens running back Kenyan Drake. “So obviously he’s going to have a lot on his shoulders, but at the same time we’re a team. He can’t do it alone, I can’t do it alone.
“They just have to move on with the things that we can control, which is moving forward [our next opponent] Cleveland and of course take care of it [Jackson] gets on the bus, because without it you can’t do it.”
The Ravens have many problems that have caused Baltimore to lose three double-digit leads in the first six games of the season. There were early penalties (an illegal formation on third-and-1 in the fourth quarter), broken coverages in secondary, and questionable playcalling on offense (Kenyan Drake ran the ball just 10 times despite averaging 11.9 yards per carry).
But Jackson can make up for a lot of mistakes when he’s at his best. The Ravens don’t typically overcome mistakes unless he’s sharp.
Baltimore is 22-1 if Jackson has a QBR over 70. The Ravens are 18-14 if his QBR is below 70.
“Lamar is the man. It’s just not up to him, it’s up to many of us,” Zeitler said. “It never gets too high or too low. I guarantee you he’s already focused on next week.”
Jackson just needs to play like himself again. He’s already thrown two outside-the-bag interceptions this season — including Sunday’s random ones — after only being picked up outside the bag once in his first four seasons. His fumbling on Baltimore’s final drive marked the first time he lost the ball in under two minutes in a game the Ravens were behind.
“You can’t do it to him when he’s the reason we’re winning so many games,” said Ricard. “You can’t put any more pressure on him.”
https://www.espn.com/blog/baltimore-ravens/post/_/id/56319/lamar-jackson-trying-to-do-too-much-to-fix-ravens-late-game-woes Lamar Jackson trying to do too much to fix Ravens’ late-game woes? – Baltimore Ravens Blog