The myth that Lamar Jackson isn't a good come-from-behind quarterback took another hit Sunday.
The Ravens don't win without Jackson's fourth-and-19 completion to Sammy Watkins that put Justin Tucker in range for his miraculous 66-yard game-winning field goal.
Jackson had one of his best games in Detroit. His 287 passing yards were the second-most of any regular-season game in his career, trailing only the 324 yards he threw for in Miami to open his 2019 MVP season. Jackson would have easily topped his career-high had it not been for drops on three long passes.
But it's what Jackson has done in the fourth quarter this season that has punched holes in his doubter's arguments.
In Week 2, the Ravens trailed 28-17 late in the third quarter, but Jackson rallied them to a 36-35 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. The comeback was fueled by Jackson doing Lamar-like things, like throwing a impromptu jump pass touchdown to Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, and flipping into the end zone for the go-ahead score.
The Lions know Jackson can author comebacks. The Chiefs know it, too. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh already knew it, and in the past two weeks when the Ravens were on the brink of defeat, Jackson has been electrifying in leading them back.
"It's not what you say, it's what you do," Harbaugh said. "That's how you're remembered, by what you do. Lamar and the whole team, they're doing that."
Jackson's fourth-down throw to Watkins was a beautiful toss that was set up by great protection from the offensive line. The Lions only sent three pass rushers and Jackson took advantage of being able to survey the field.
"They went three-down, gave us a lot of time, double-teamed our guys," Jackson said. "Sammy running full speed, those guys did their thing on the post and Sammy just came open. I just tried giving him a playable ball and he came through. I was hoping he'd go out of bounds though to get Tucker a little closer."
By winning the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award in 2019 in his first full season as a starter, Jackson accelerated the timetable for what many people expect from him. He's still only 24 years old, gaining more experience every time he's thrust into pressure-packed late-game situations.
By any measure, he has played superb football the past two weeks with the game on the line.
The final minutes of Sunday's game were frantic but Jackson stayed cool, and so did the coaching staff. The Lions did the Ravens another favor when they called timeout before the fourth-and-19 play. It gave the Ravens more time to think about what they wanted to call, and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman switched to a different play during the timeout.
"We were fourth-and-19, backed up in our own end," Harbaugh said. "Greg Roman makes a great call. I said to Greg, 'Call the play you want.' Greg had a play, he said 'This play could really hit. I think this is going to hit.'
"Lamar gave it time. We had great protection, the protection stepped up on that one. Offensive line got it done there. Lamar trusted the offensive line, he had faith in the offensive line. He let Sammy get across the field there and Sammy was trying to get as much as he could for the field goal. I wouldn't have minded Sammy going out of bounds right there. Honestly, I asked him about it, but he said he was trying to get in field goal range."
Before he made the catch, Watkins adjusted his route to find a vulnerable spot in Detroit's defense. Instead of going under the defender, he went deeper behind the coverage. Roman, Jackson and Watkins were all on the same page with the play call and with the execution.
"I felt it in my heart I should go over the top rather than go underneath, because he would have lit me up. I kind of said, 'I have to get on my horse,' and ran full speed [and] got behind him," Watkins said.
"I saw the other guys doing their job, pulled the safeties out, and I ran the deep cross. I think G-Ro dialed up probably one of the best plays in his life, honestly. To get a [fourth-and-19] and then, on the next play, kick it to win it, that's what you call God on our side."
The last two games should be a confidence boost, even for someone as confident as Jackson. Before the Chiefs game, Jackson had been 0-6 as a starter when the Ravens trailed by 11 points or more. However, Jackson seems to be finding new ways to rally the Ravens as he continues to win at an alarming rate for a young quarterback.
There were times during the past two weeks when the Ravens were dangerously close to defeat, but they found a way to escape. They have confidence in their ability to come back, and having Jackson as their quarterback contributes to their swagger.
"We have a lot of faith, and we know what we're capable of," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "There was no doubt in my mind when it was [fourth-and-19], somebody was going to make a play."
As Tucker and Jackson celebrated after the game-winning kick, Tucker told his quarterback, "We're going as far as you go, bro. We're with you, bro – always."