What We Learned from Ravens’ Victory over Jets on Thursday Night

The Ravens blasted the Jets, winning 42-21 in front of a raucous home crowd on Thursday. With the win, the Ravens clinched their second consecutive AFC North crown and their sixth total. The Jets were already eliminated from playoff contention, but Sam Darnold flashed what the future could hold.

What did we learn?

The Ravens are far from perfect.

The Ravens had a pitiful special teams performance. They had a punt blocked, a missed extra point and enough broken kick and punt coverages for a decade. It was disgusting. I know it was a short week, but the errors were inexcusable.

Lamar Jackson has an exceptional deep ball.

Jackson was lethal with his deep ball, launching a pair of deep touchdowns and adding a long pass interference that was almost like a Joe Flacco pass attempt from years past. The touchdown throws to Marquise Brown and Seth Roberts were drops in the bucket to the outer half of the left side of the field. Jackson received heavy criticism for his inability to target the sidelines and the left side of the field, but he answered the criticism with a pair of darts. Jackson is still improving as a quarterback, but it is phenomenal to see his growth.

Lamar Jackson is the MVP.

Jackson added five passing touchdowns, leaving himself six ahead of his next closest competitors. Even if Jackson does not play in Week 17, he will likely lead the NFL in passing touchdowns and finish in the top 10 in rushing yards. Jackson has an otherworldly 8.9 touchdown percentage that ranks 19th in NFL history; the only players since the merger with a higher percentage of touchdown throws are Ken Stabler (1976), Peyton Manning (2004), and Aaron Rodgers (2011). That is the definition of an elite company.

The Ravens need to have a better pass rush in 2020.

The Jets have five turnstiles disguised as offensive linemen, and Sam Darnold was rarely under enough pressure to force bad throws. The likes of Matt Judon and Tyus Bowser had shots at Darnold, but it was an all-around poor showing from the Baltimore pass rush.

Sam Darnold should be good soon.

Darnold had his moments of great play mixed with some questionable decisions, but he was solid. Darnold had some incredible throws including his first touchdown throw to Jamison Crowder, and he could only improve with a better offensive line.

A look into the AFC playoff picture:

The Ravens can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win in either of their last two games. The Ravens could also back into the No. 1 seed if the Patriots and Chiefs lose, but the Ravens will likely need to defeat the Browns or Steelers to secure the rank. It would be the first time in team history that they secure the best record in the conference. The AFC playoffs will almost certainly run through Baltimore.

The Jets were already eliminated from playoff contention. They can play spoiler to the Steelers or Bills in the next two weeks, but they must wait until 2020 to end their playoff drought. The Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010.

A look ahead to Week 16:

The Ravens travel to Cleveland to face the 6-7 Browns. The Browns delivered the second loss of Baltimore’s season, the last loss before their 10-game winning streak. If the Browns win on Sunday over the Cardinals, the Browns-Ravens game will be an opportunity for the Browns to have a positive record for the first time since 2014. The Ravens will be favored to knock off the Browns, but the Browns were able to shock the world in Baltimore back in Week 4.

The Jets return home to face the 8-5 Steelers. Pittsburgh has sported an elite defense since the acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick, and they have forced turnovers and sacks at incredible rates. Sam Darnold and co. must be on their best game to avoid being shut down.

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