BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Quarterback and reigning league MVP, Lamar Jackson, was the star of the show for the Ravens last season. In just the first five weeks, Jackson threw 11 touchdowns and racked up over 1,200 yards through the air. This year, through the first five weeks, Jackson has thrown just nine touchdowns and has yet to pass for 1,000 yards. Instead, it has been the Ravens defense leading the team to a 4-1 mark.
The Ravens currently rank sixth in total defense. Their unit has allowed, on average, 15.2 points-per-game and just over 1,600 yards of total offense in the first five games of the season. The Ravens also have the eighth-best run defense in the league and rank fifth in takeaways.
Against the Bengals, the Ravens overwhelmed last year’s Heisman Trophy winner and first overall pick, quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow threw a pick and completed just 19-of-33 passes. In Week 1 against the Browns, the Ravens defense held Baker Mayfield and company to just six points. This is a Browns offense that is now averaging 31.2 points-per-game, the league’s fourth-best.
Some of the newest additions to the Ravens defense, defensive end Calais Campbell and rookie linebacker Patrick Queen, have made an immediate impact. Campbell already has nine tackles and a sack. Queen has 30 tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles. His 30 tackles and two forced fumbles rank fourth-best in the NFL. Cornerback Marcus Peters, who joined the Ravens last season, continues to be a ball-hawk with two picks, the league’s fifth-best in that department.
While the Ravens offense has put up 30 or more points in their first five games of the season, they rank only 20th in total offense with just 1,698 yards. Through the air, Jackson has posted just 894 yards. The ground and pound style offense that was extremely successful last year is non-existent. The rushing attack has just 804 yards, and the team’s leading rusher is Jackson with 238 yards, though he posted a career-low three yards against Cleveland. Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins have a combined for a mere 331 yards and four touchdowns- numbers that are non-conducive to a successful Ravens offense. The bad news: it’s only going to get tougher from here on out.
That said, Jackson doesn’t seem too worried about his lack of rushing yards or the offense in general.
“We have guys running the ball very good for us and we’re winning so it really doesn’t matter. We’re 4-1, so it’s a plus for us right now,” he told reporters Wednesday. “As the season goes on, we’ll see if we need to [have me to run the ball more], coach will adjust. Right now, we’re doing perfectly fine without me running so much, so we’re doing good.”
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 14, 2020
The Ravens will face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, October 18. After their contest with the Eagles, the Ravens schedule only gets tougher- the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans are among some of the opponents that await.
Through the first five weeks of the season, it’s looking as though the Ravens defense will need to continue to lead the way, as Jackson and company work to get in sync.