Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Monday’s 45-6 win over the L.A. Rams.
Now, the whole world knows what Ravens fans could only dream of a year ago.
Lamar Jackson was just starting to show what he was capable of last November, and there were a lot of people around the football world who didn’t think his act would play in prime time once teams got a chance to thoroughly scout him and the Ravens’ transitioning offense.
That notion gained some momentum when the Los Angeles Chargers got a chance to see Jackson for the second time in last year’s playoffs and bounced back from a regular-season loss to knock the Ravens out in the wild-card round.
Fast forward to the preseason this year and there were a lot of pundits who were convinced that there was nothing really special about the former Louisville quarterback who they thought was all legs and no arm.
Of course, most everyone were disabused of that notion by the time Jackson dispensed with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on “Sunday Night Football” three weeks ago, but Monday night’s complete and utter undressing of the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams removed all doubt.
The signature moment in the final acceptance of Jackson’s otherworldly talent came after the 45-6 blowout, when “Monday Night Football” color commentator Booger McFarland went on Scott Van Pelt’s ESPN postgame show and basically delivered a public apology to the national television audience that was still trying to process Jackson’s truly historic performance.
It was McFarland who famously criticized Louisville on Twitter for misusing Jackson, who he felt would only have a future in the NFL as a wide receiver:
“it won’t happen, but if Louisville were really thinking about Lamar Jackson’s future, they would move him to wr (wide receiver), thats where he will play in NFL”
it wont happen but if Louisville were really thinking about Lamar Jackson's future they would move him to wr,thats where he will play in NFL
McFarland watched in amazement, like everyone else, as Jackson dissected a very talented Rams defense and drove the Ravens to touchdowns in each of their first six drives.
In a classy postgame soliloquy, he recounted his earlier reservations and explained that after getting a season’s worth of new information, he was ready to admit in front of MNF’s huge national audience that he had been dead wrong.
“A buddy of mine said, ‘You’re allowed to change your opinion when you get new information,' ” McFarland said. "Scotty, I got new information throughout the season and it was confirmed tonight.
“So I changed my opinion. I’m on the record. I’m a believer. What I saw tonight was not a running quarterback. I didn’t see a running back. I didn’t see a wide receiver. I saw a quarterback.”
McFarland went a lot further than that, predicting that Jackson would be a transformational figure in the NFL.
“I see an offense build around a guy who is as special of a weapon as we’ve ever seen in the league. I saw him throw like an Aaron Rodgers. I saw him run like Michael Vick. Dare I say, I saw the new NFL. The same NFL that John Harbaugh said we were going to see. They said they were going to change the NFL and I think America saw what the changing of the guard looks like.”
Well, now he might have actually gone over his skis, but you get the idea. There’s a new sheriff in town and everybody who doubted him is busy trying to catch up with the bandwagon.
It’s still OK to recognize that there will be teams that are going to stop Jackson, though he may have to help them out by having a bad day once in awhile. He’ll face another terrific defense on Sunday when the 10-1 San Francisco 49ers arrive at M&T Bank Stadium — perhaps bleary-eyed from the coast-to-coast flight and the time-zone change.
After dispensing so handily with both of last year’s Super Bowl teams, knocking off the Seattle Seahawks on the road and blowing out the first-place Houston Texans, it’s easy to see the Ravens winning out and positioning themselves well for a potential Super Bowl run, but there are still five regular-season games to go and nobody stays this hot forever.