Lamar Jackson’s Week 10 performance strengthens MVP candidature

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens demolished the Cincinnati Bengals to the tune of 49-13 in Week 10. With another weekly elite performance under his belt, according to PFN's OSM, Jackson is putting together a solid sophomore campaign.

Good teams beat bad teams, isn’t that what they say? Well, Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson not only beats terrible defenses, but he tears them up with no mercy. According to Pro Football Network’s Offensive Share Metric, during the Ravens Week 10 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson earned the highest OSM grade of the season at 61.74. 

This score surpassed Jackson’s previous season-high and league-leading OSM score of 59.12 set in Week 1 versus the now 2-7 Miami Dolphins. While the prestige of his opponents is less than stellar, the clinic Jackson has put on in these two games has been extraordinary.

Before we get too deep analyzing the OSM and Next Gen Stats provided by the NFL, it’s is vital to know that none of Jackson’s rushing statistics were factored into his weekly and overall OSM scores. This score is purely based on his passing performance. With that out of the way, it’s time to dive right in. 

Lamar Jackson Week 10 OSM dominance

Not only did Jackson post the highest OSM score on the season in Week 10 (61.74), but he also did it while having the lowest amount of attempts in a game this year. The Ravens QB threw just 17 passes with the second-lowest being his 20 pass attempts in Week 1 versus the Dolphins. 

With his limited passes, Jackson used those attempts to drive Baltimore down the field. The ball traveled an average of 11.4 yards down the field (IAY), ranked fifth among all QBs in Week 10. As far as the 15 completions of his 17 attempts, Jackson’s average completed air yards (CAY) were at 10.6, the second-highest in Week 10.

The air yards differential brings the picture together. Jackson, on average, intended the ball to travel 11.4 yards and in turn, completed his passes for 10.6 yards, giving him a -0.8 air yards differential (AYD). His AYD ranked second among all QBs in Week 10 and first for QBs with an IAY of 10 yards or higher. Lamar was slinging the ball on Sunday and kept a high completion percentage as well.

The Baltimore signal-caller led all QBs in Week 10 with a completion percentage of 88.2%. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was second, but Jackson had a 16% gap between himself and the second-ranked QB. Even more impressive was his completion percentage differential.

According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Jackson had an expected completion percentage of 57.7%, meaning Jackson completed 30.5% more passes than expected. This percentage was the highest completion differential in Week 10 by leaps and bounds, 22.7 points higher than the second-highest completion percentage differential that week. Jackson had an out of this world game when it comes to his share of the Ravens’ offensive production versus the Bengals, and that’s not even counting his contributions to the run game, like this touchdown run that dropped jaws in Cincinnati.

So, where does Jackson stand?

As stated earlier, Jackson had his two best performances versus arguably the two least talented teams in the NFL this season. However, what does look promising is that he was able to improve upon and outshine his Week 1 performance in Week 10, which is insane. Yes, Jackson is still having some accuracy issues in games this season, as evidenced by his completion percentages of 51.2% and 45% in Week 3 vs. the Chiefs and Week 7 vs. the Seattle Seahawks, respectively. 

However, to say Jackson has not shown significant improvement in his passing game from last season to this season would be naive. He’s currently sitting at 2,036 yards and 15 passing touchdowns through nine games this season, a far cry from his 1,114 yards and six touchdowns in the seven games he started last season (that’s 900 more yards in just two more games played). 

Furthermore, Jackson has already rushed for more yards in 2019 than he did during his rookie campaign. Jackson currently sits at 702 rushing yards this season, the 11th highest rushing total among all players and the highest by a QB so far this season with the Arizona Cardinals rookie QB, Kyler Murray, following him with 351 yards. He’s also had three games this season in which he has surpassed 100 rushing yards, compared to just one game last season. 

Jackson is setting the league ablaze with an unconventional play style and the production to match. He’s at the front of the MVP conversation with the likes of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, and my darkhorse candidate Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook. With seven games left to play for the Baltimore Ravens, fans will be left in suspense to see what Jackson can do as the season comes to a close. 

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