OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is enduring the worst stretch of his young career.
Over the past four games, Jackson has completed 96 of 153 pass attempts (62.8%) for 922 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions (70.8 rating). He has also been sacked 16 times.
One of the issues is Jackson is holding the ball too long in the pocket. The Ravens are also still struggling to counter the opposing team's Cover 0 defensive scheme.
Jackson absorbed seven sacks in a 20-19 loss to the Steelers in Week 13. His pass attempt to Mark Andrews on a potential game-winning 2-point conversion fell short.
"The ball was being held, trying to push the ball downfield a little bit at times," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We gave them enough time to get to him for sure. There were plenty of times where he ran out of there too and made some huge plays, extending plays. That does … We talk about that in our press conferences quite a bit. So that's kind of Lamar's a unique guy that way. [But] seven sacks are too many.”
On the season, Jackson has thrown for 2,865 yards with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for an 86.8 rating. He's also been sacked a league-high 37 times and has not m his hot reads.
Jackson said it's sometimes challenging to just throw the ball away when he's under pressure.
“Sometimes you can't," he said. "Sometimes the guy's behind you, try to throw the ball away, and there's going to be a strip-sack, stuff like that.”
The Ravens are 8-4 and are in first place in the AFC North. However, they fell from No. 1 to No. 3 in the AFC playoff seedings with the loss to Pittsburgh. The New England Patriots now hold the top spot followed by the Tennessee Titans.
The schedule does not get any easier down the stretch with games against the Bengals, Packers, Rams, Browns and Steelers.
The Ravens do control their own destiny for the postseason.
“I'm very confident," Jackson said. "You saw on the last drive, we were rolling. We hit passes, guys running routes and doing what they do, catching the ball and getting ‘YAC.’ We just do that consistently, and we'll be fine. We’ve just got to do it early and keep it going, finish the whole game like that. Not just doing [it for] one half and slowing down.”
The Ravens and Jackson will admittedly have to play better.