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Lamar Jackson Has Made Teams Pay for the Blitz for Ravens

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is playing at an MVP-level.
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Opposing teams have focused on pressuring Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson into making mistakes.

So far, he has made them pay for that strategy.

Jackson has six touchdowns versus the blitz over the three games this season. He is ranked No. 3 among all quarterbacks for success rate with completions and No. 2 for yards per attempt. 

He leads the NFL in passing EPA vs the blitz (+22.4) this season, according to NextGen State.

“Just go at their weaknesses," Jackson said about attacking the blitz. "Teams might show this on film, or they might do one thing another year, then when they play us again, they change it up."

In Week 3, the Patriots had a 56% rate on early-down dropbacks in the first three quarters — the most of any any defense in the NFL, according to Warren Sharp, an NFL analytics expert. Jackson went 11 for 12 with four touchdown passes with a 128.3 rating during the blitz and the Ravens ran away with a 37-26 victory.  

"I want to win," Jackson said. "Like I told y'all last week when someone asked me that question, I just want to win, and by doing that, I just got to do what I do, play Lamar football."

Last season, Jackson struggled against the blitz, underscored by the Week 10 game against Miami. The Dolphins employed a Cover 0 strategy where they brought the pressure. Jackson was 26 of 43 for 238 yards with a touchdown and interception. He was also sacked four times. Jackson had a 37.5 passer rating on passes of 10 or more yards.

Miami tried the same scheme this year in Week 2 and Jackson torched them for 318 yards passing with three touchdowns and had a career-high 79-yard scoring run. He finished 119 yards rushing and set an NFL record for games with 100 or more rushing yards for quarterbacks at 11. It was an MVP-caliber performance. Unfortunately for the Ravens, they had a defensive collapse in the fourth quarter and lost 42-38.

Baltimore bounced back last week against New England. 

The Ravens are the highest-scoring offense in the NFL. 

Jackson leads the league with 10 touchdown passes.

He has accounted for 87 percent of the Ravens' total yards.

Teams will find new ways to attack the Ravens, but a more mature Jackson is also staying one step ahead.

“The sky is the limit," Jackson said. "We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing. Hopefully, we’ll just have a balanced offense and not just a heavy run and sometimes throw or heavy throwing and sometimes run – just keep it balanced. And I feel like the sky is the limit for us.”