Lamar Jackson and the Ravens just aren’t good enough.
It’s really that simple.
If anything was made clear last night, it was this: Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense are in a completely different class than Jackson and the Ravens.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy once again put their brilliance on display in a masterful performance on Monday Night Football. Kansas City’s offensive creativity left the Ravens confused and clueless for most of the night.
It also helped that they had the best player in the world at quarterback and a plethora of offensive playmakers like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, and rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, all of whom are nightmare matchups for any defense.
The problem for the Ravens is that they have a second-class version of everything the Chiefs possess. Head Coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have conducted a great zone-read scheme in Baltimore but it pales in comparison to the offensive genius of Reid and Bieniemy. While efficient under the right circumstances, the Ravens offense is almost futile when it has to play from behind. When forced to lean on the passing game, they lack the ingenuity to consistently make up ground with big-chunk plays.
Jackson is the reigning NFL MVP and one of the most electric players in the game, but he is nowhere near Mahomes’ level, and it showed again last night. Once Mahomes was in a rhythm and started swimming through Baltimore’s defense in the second quarter, any football-minded person knew that the game was effectively over. Jackson has improved greatly as a passer in his first few seasons in the league and has proven he can throw at an elite level when he is comfortable, but whenever Jackson is forced to play from behind in pressure situations it is clear that he hasn’t been able to produce the level of accuracy needed to win these type of games.
It’s the main reason that Jackson and the Ravens haven’t won a playoff game and are now 0-3 versus Mahomes and the Chiefs.
Not to mention how Baltimore playmakers like tight end Mark Andrews, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Mark Ingram, nor J.K. Dobbins were able to make a significant impact on the game last night.
We know that Jackson is a stud in this game and one of the best players in the league, and we also know the Ravens have had one of the best records in the league over the last two seasons. It’s actually the main reason why Jackson is getting this criticism. His play has proven that he can no longer be compared to the quarterbacks of his draft class like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold or even Josh Allen. Jackson must now be compared to the greats, and his play will now be critiqued on that level.
If he wants to ascend to his full potential he will have to find a way to outduel Mahomes.
In his postgame interview, Jackson even went as far as to say that the Chiefs were the Ravens’ “Kryptonite.”
“Obviously, second half, just like I say always, we always start cranking up at the wrong time. We’ve got to come in and finish how we start. We always go opposite against them for some reason,” Jackson said. “We’ve got to turn up and play better, that’s all.”
Jackson threw for only 97 yards last night and only accounted for one touchdown with a passer rating of only 73.1. Many will say his performance last night was an anomaly but he hasn’t had a passer rating over 80 in either of his playoff losses and has only scored three touchdowns combined in the last three games versus Kansas City.
It’s simply not good enough when you are facing arguably the most complete offensive team in NFL history, with a defense that is becoming more and more opportunistic.
The Ravens are at a continuous disadvantage against the Chiefs and could find themselves stuck at No. 2 in the AFC for a long time if they don’t find a way to become a more precise passer in pressure situations.
Jackson has said in the past that he wants to be the Tom Brady of his era. He’ll have no chance of achieving that if he doesn’t find a way to beat the best of the best. Brady is 11-6 against Peyton Manning, 9-3 against Ben Roethlisberger, and was 8-0 against prime Phillip Rivers.
The Ravens have got to find a way to beat this juggernaut in Kansas City if they ever want to raise another Lombardi Trophy and it all starts with Jackson.
He must be better and this team must be better because right now they just simply aren’t good enough to dethrone the champs.