Baltimore saw an energy shift last night.
Although Sunday's game was only the second of the season for the Kansas City Chiefs & Baltimore Ravens, I would be lying if I said it wasn't more than a Golds Gym meathead taking four protein supplements.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore's quarterback, and the Ravens defeated Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs team, 36-35. It was a thrilling back-and-forth match. Although the game doesn't represent a change of guard in the AFC it does break down the barriers that have been put around the Ravens. It's one thing to be able to beat a team; it's quite another to actually do it. Jackson and the Ravens made great plays and were able to take the game from the Chiefs in the last few minutes.
John Harbaugh's most courageous coaching decision was the conversion on 4th and 1 in their territory. It took just over one minute to complete. Harbaugh asked Jackson whether he would accept it, and Jackson said yes. This is a sign of Harbaugh's confidence in Jackson, and Jackson's confidence in himself.
This was also the best decision in the moment, as you would probably lose if you punt it back to Mahomes.
You can't expect the Chiefs to win a traditional match. They are too strong for that. Because they rarely give you anything, the Chiefs are a team you can take everything from. Harbaugh was exactly that.
It was hard to believe that Baltimore could be in this position after having been down by double digits in fourth quarter. Jackson looked more shaken than a man wearing a plastic necklace trying to talk with a woman at the club. Jackson threw two picks during the first quarter. It looked as if the same old narratives would continue to swirl around him as the Chiefs cruised to another victory.
Jackson, like all great players, bounced back and continued to smoke the Chiefs defense as if he were at brunch with Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg. Jackson would end the game with an impressive 18-of-26 passing performance for 239 yards, a touchdown, 107 yards rushing and two more scores. In the same game, he recorded his fifth career game with over 200 passing yards and 100 running yards. ESPN Stats and Info reports that no player has ever had more than three such games in NFL history.
Jackson proved that he can beat Mahomes simply by being himself. That was the beauty of last night's game. Jackson proved that his skills were sufficient to do the job when it was most important. He didn't need to conform to be successful at the highest levels.
Lamar Jackson won being Lamar Jackson. This is a wonderful lesson for everyone.