BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Ravens rolled the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, 59-10, racking up over 600 yards of offense in the process and generally doing whatever they wanted throughout the game.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the performance was the play from second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, who missed just three passes all day, going 17-of-20 for 324 yards and five passing touchdowns. Jackson’s play and need for improvement was the talk of the offseason, and Week 1 certainly seemed to show some areas where he has taken a step forward.
“He was extremely accurate, and he did most of his damage from the pocket. That shows me he is comfortable operating from the pocket,” said NFL on CBS analyst Fouts. “And, of course, we all know his extraordinary talent when he is out on the run, either taking it across the line of scrimmage on the run or making plays down the field through the air.”
Jackson ended the game with a perfect passer rating of 158.3 and a QBR of 99.4, remarking to reporters afterwards, “not bad for a running back,” a subtle dig at those who suggested that he would be better off switching positions. While it is only one game against a Dolphins defense that appears to be the league’s worst, the positive signs of improvement from Jackson in the passing game were what fans were hoping for. Illustrating Fouts’ point, the league’s Next Gen Stats group calculated that Jackson was 16/17 on throws from inside the tackle box and was 3/4 on throws deeper than 20 yards.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Jackson’s expected completion percentage in Week 1 was 60.2 percent, while his actual percentage was 85, meaning he outperformed the expected by a whopping 25 percentage points. While fans likely can’t expect that from him again, the accuracy and touch he displayed on the following three deep balls should bode well going forward.
Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) accounted for three of the top 35 most improbable completions from Week 1 according to our Completion Probability model.
📽: Here's a breakdown of the in-play features that made those passes so improbable… pic.twitter.com/LxRZ4j1OWG
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 11, 2019
Now, Jackson and the Ravens ready for a Week 2 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals in the team’s home opener. The Cardinals saw Lions quarterback Matt Stafford throw for 386 yards and three touchdowns against them, meaning Jackson could be in for another big passing game. However, the game is also the return of Terrell Suggs to Baltimore, as the veteran pass rusher meets his former club after signing with the Cardinals in the offseason.
The Ravens and Cardinals meet on Sunday, September 16th with kick off at M&T Bank Stadium set for 1 p.m. Eastern Time.