Lamar Jackson Becomes MVP Front-Runner After One-of-a-Kind Passing Performance
After last week's business-like win in Denver, in which Lamar Jackson beat the Broncos when they dared him to pass, pundits said Jackson deserved to be part of the MVP conversation.
After Jackson's fourth touchdown pass of the night on "Monday Night Football" – a walk-off to Marquise "Hollywood" Brown that led the Ravens back from a 19-point deficit for a 31-25 overtime win – the Ravens' franchise quarterback firmly placed his name atop any and all MVP discussions.
The on-field performance speaks for itself, but on the sidelines, Jackson was emanating his MVP qualities of confidence and leadership, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
"That's the thing about Jackson," Zrebiec wrote. "Even with his absurd football talent, Jackson's best gift may just be his ability to get his teammates to believe even when things look bleak."
According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, this was, "one of the greatest performances anyone has ever seen." Head Coach John Harbaugh said the same.
It's not just local media and fans believing this to be the case, though both did chime in after the game.
"Jackson's 443 passing yards on the night represent a franchise-record and he added 62 more on the ground for good measure," Baltimore Beatdown’s Frank Platko wrote. "He sure did not look like a running back, nor did he look like someone who couldn't throw the ball or play from behind. What he did look like, was an MVP."
"He was, well, heroic, spectacular and gritty," Russell Street Report’s Darin McCann wrote.
Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried believes this version of Jackson is even better than the one in 2019, which won the MVP award unanimously.
"This version of Jackson is better than the version of Jackson that won the MVP in 2019," Fried wrote. "He's a much more dynamic passer and has taken the Ravens offense to a level they haven't seen before with him under center."
This performance came with the Ravens already down numerous players on offense, and even saw two more players, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and guard Ben Cleveland, exit the field and not return. Yet Jackson and the Ravens defied the odds, literally, storming back from a 19-point deficit.
This game was something truly one-of-a-kind, and according to Zrebiec, the ending was "Jackson at his best."
"Facing a Colts' defense that was out of gas and just about out of healthy players, Jackson was 6 for 6 for 48 yards and also had two carries for 12 yards," Zrebiec wrote. "After Latavius Murray ran twice to set up a second-and-goal from the Colts' 5, there was only one way for this one to end and that was with Jackson finding an open receiver in the end zone."
Odafe Oweh's Rookie Dominance Continues
Early in the first quarter, the Colts were inside the 15-yard line looking to score their second touchdown before rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh burst past the Colts' offensive line, sacking quarterback Carson Wentz.
This now brings Oweh's sack total to three on the season in five games, something the media is taking note of.
Oweh's impressive performance has some considering him for defensive rookie of the year.
It makes sense, seeing as his numbers in some categories are comparable to the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, who recently signed the largest contract in NFL history for a defensive player
And while the gaudy sack numbers and takeaways have impressed, he's also an elite run defender. Prior to tonight's game, PFF has Oweh as the third-best run defender among edge defenders with an 82.2 grade.
Even greater praise came from Sports Illustrated’s Todd Karpovich.
"You can make an argument that Ravens rookie first-round pick Odafe Oweh is the best player on the defense right now," Karpovich wrote. "He had a strip-sack on Carson Wentz that save the Ravens vital points. It seems like every time the Ravens need a big play, Oweh delivers."
Ed Reed Disappointed in Ravens' Defensive Performance
.If you were to play word association with the term "Ravens" or "Baltimore Ravens," the word "defense" is likely to follow. However, the Ravens' defense against the Wentz-led Colts left much to be desired. So much so that Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed chimed in.
In only four words, Reed's comments speak volumes. Other commentary expands on Reed's plea regarding the deficiencies.
Tackling, specifically, has been an issue all season long, and unless something changes, the Ravens will be facing more shootouts in the weeks to come.
Tavon Young Acknowledges Penalty, Praises Team For "Pulling Through"
The Ravens had all but stopped the Colts in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter before the refs caught cornerback Tavon Young shove Colts tight end Jack Doyle, who plunged into the turf.
Young was retaliating after Doyle had shoved Young's helmet into the turf only a moment prior. The broadcast caught Doyle's actions and called it "a cheap[space]shot," but the officiating crew only saw the retaliation and penalized Young.
Up until that point, Young had been excelling on the field. Along with his solid coverage, he took down Wentz for a sack.
This is the second Raven to acknowledge their mistake publicly on Twitter, after Hollywood did something similar after his poor performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 3.