MMQB: Lamar Jackson on the Work He's Doing to Prevent the NFL From Catching Up to Him
The Ravens' QB knows what people say about him. He and his coach give us a look at the areas he's trying to improve.SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The Thursday I was here, the big story coming out was Matt Rhule’s Panthers taking a step forward in their final hours of camp against the Ravens, who’d “won” the joint practice between the teams the day before. And punctuating that effort was a headline play—coming when Donte Jackson undercut a route, picked off Lamar Jackson and touched off a raucous celebration that ended with Carolina linebacker Shaq Thompson’s punting the intercepted ball into the sky and drawing a flag for taunting.
The cameras perfectly captured the moment, showing the level of trust Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has in his quarterback.
Not that Lamar Jackson hasn't earned it – he is a former MVP and on Sunday in the Ravens' 36-35 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs displayed once again why he is one of the best in the game.
After the Ravens regained possession with a one-point lead and about one minute remaining, they faced a 4th-and-1 from their own 43-yard line.
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Baltimore could have played it conservative and punted it back to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense with another chance for a game-winning drive.
Or, since Kansas City had burned all of its timeouts, end the game with a first down.
"Lamar! Lamar!" Harbaugh called onto the field. "Do you wanna go for this?"
Video: Lamar Jackson on Chiefs being his kryptonite: 'I called them that one time...one time' (NFL)
Jackson answered in the affirmative. The decision had been made and the Ravens lined up with an eight-man offensive line – five to the left of center Bradley Bozeman.
Jackson received the snap in shotgun and followed the numbers – and left guard Kevin Zeitler, pulling to the left – on a power run for an easy first down to ice the game.
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“Lamar, do you want to go for this?”
John Harbaugh trusted his QB when it mattered most ????
— PFF (@PFF) September 20, 2021
According to Sports Illustrated, the choice to go for it had already been made.
"I just wanted to make sure,” Harbaugh told Sports Illustrated. “I really didn’t have an answer (if he didn’t say yes), but I think more than anything I just wanted to make sure he knew we were going for it because he was kinda moving back toward the sideline, and he was talking to somebody. Just wanted to make sure he was back in the huddle ready to go. And maybe he already knew we were going for it."
Jackson picked up his first victory over the Chiefs in four tries and Baltimore moved to 1-1 on the season.