The Baltimore Ravens are 8-4 and in first place in the tight AFC North division.
This team has been very inconsistent lately, and some of it may have to do with the tremendous burden on quarterback Lamar Jackson.
He is the offense either with his legs or his arm.
What is happening is that teams have started to see that blitzing him persistently is yielding results.
The blitzing is what has triggered an alarming stat for Jackson and the Ravens in the past three games in particular.
His passer rating is 9.4 against the blitz in the past three games.
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) December 11, 2021
The Ravens have gone 2-2 in their last 4 games with losses to the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.
They have scored 10, 16, 16, and 19 points respectively in those games.
All this means is that Jackson’s superhero cape is temporarily removed.
What Is Causing This?
The Ravens had the cards dealt against them in the preseason as they watched their running backs suffer season-ending injuries one after the other.
List of ravens running backs who've torn their ACL in the last 3 weeks
• JK Dobbins
• Justice Hill
• Gus Edwards pic.twitter.com/We5NahVXb1
— Adam🎄⛄ (@cartisnewchoppa) September 9, 2021
Though the Ravens replaced them, Jackson continues to be the rushing leader for the team with 762 yards.
Jackson is also ranked 10th in rushing yards throughout the NFL.
He is the only quarterback on the list.
Jackson’s Hesitation And Questionable Decision Making
Whereas Jackson is normally decisive and quick to run, hand off, or pass the ball after the snap, he is hesitating now.
Whether this is related to the opposing teams’ blitzing or other circumstances, no one but Jackson knows that for sure.
He has thrown a career-high 13 interceptions already in 2021.
Prior to that, his highest number of interceptions in a season was 9 in 2020.
Another troubling stat is his career-high 37 sacks already in 2021.
Lamar Jackson has received a lot of well-deserved criticism for his play lately, but let’s not forget that the 2021 Baltimore Ravens would be IRRELEVANT without him.
— Jose V (@RavensFanReacts) December 6, 2021
Situation Can Be Remedied
The Ravens are still a very good team.
Comparisons of them in a midseason funk are similar to the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers who rushed out to an 11-0 record in 2020 only to begin to tire and falter.
However, the Ravens have Jackson who can turn this situation around quickly and likely will do so beginning in Week 14 against the Cleveland Browns.
Jackson needs to make quicker decisions and get rid of the ball faster.
He can burn defenses getting blitz happy by completing passes to open receivers.
With all of the focus on blitzing Jackson, there have to be open men down the field.
Completing passes to those open receivers will soon change the approach opposing defenses execute against Jackson.
Ravens Remaining Games
What does not help the Ravens is that they have a tough schedule to close out the season.
After a Week 14 road game with divisional rival Cleveland, the Ravens have to prepare for a showdown in Baltimore with Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers in Week 15.
Week 16 is their final road game of the season against Cincinnati.
The final two home games in Weeks 17 and 18 are against the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jackson is a former NFL MVP; this disturbing stat is likely very much on his radar and will be addressed in the final weeks of the season.