Sun, 28 Nov 2021

Lamar Jackson's Critics Are 'Whistling in the Graveyard'

Baltimore Ravens
19 Oct 2021, 22:25 GMT+10

Ryan Mink

The last time Lamar Jackson faced the Los Angeles Chargers, they knocked he and the Ravens out of the 2018 playoffs. It was such a rough game for Jackson that pundits questioned whether Head Coach John Harbaugh should have turned to "January" Joe Flacco.

Fast forward about three years and Jackson and the Ravens smoked the Chargers, 34-6, at M&T Bank Stadium. Jackson didn't put up monster stats like he did on "Monday Night Football" against the Colts, but he led an efficient offensive battering.

"I remember it, I remember that," Jackson said Sunday of the playoff loss. "I'm always going to be me, regardless, [but] I appreciate Coach for that - for sticking with me."

The talk three years ago after that 2018 playoff loss was that the Chargers had cracked the Jackson code. Even after Jackson's 2019 MVP season, that talk continued this offseason, with people around the league reportedly telling ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that, "This might be the year that everybody figures out Lamar Jackson."

With the Ravens sitting at 5-1 and Jackson off to an incredibly hot start with his arm and legs, that talk has certainly quieted. Sunday's game against the Chargers only further accentuated it.

"If you're looking for your headline here, I think the people who make those statements are kind of whistling in the graveyard just a little bit," Harbaugh said Monday. "It doesn't have any meaning. Anybody who knows Xs and Os are rolling their eyes when they hear something like that."

Jackson sits at sixth in passing yards (1,686) and seventh in rushing (392) after Sunday's win - the 35th of his young career, breaking Dan Marino's record for most by a quarterback under the age of 25.

The Chargers are led by first-year Head Coach Brandon Staley, a man who got the job because of his defensive prowess with the Los Angeles Rams last year. But Staley and the Chargers didn't have an answer for Baltimore's offense.

Harbaugh said the Ravens see something different almost every week from opposing defenses. They're all still scrambling to find the right answer, particularly now after Jackson has shown he can beat teams almost exclusively with his arm.

"I don't think once somebody does something -- some X and O idea -- all of a sudden that's the answer," Harbaugh said. "We've kind of been saying that for three years now. There is no answer. You've got to play well. You've got to execute. Whoever executes better and makes plays, really, in the end is going to win. It's less about figuring somebody out."

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