Brutal stat puts spotlight on Lamar Jackson after latest Ravens choke

The Baltimore Ravens fell apart in Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns. Is Lamar Jackson to blame?
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens / Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens went up 31-17 over the Cleveland Browns with a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. The path to victory was clear as day, and all signs pointed toward Baltimore cushioning their first-place lead in the cutthroat AFC North.

Then, it all fell apart.

Cleveland ended the game on a 16-0 run. Deshaun Watson completed 100 percent of his passes in the second half, while Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' offense sputtered in the game's waning moments. There's blame to go all around, on offense and defense, but Jackson is the Ravens' MVP candidate. The discourse is going to circle back to him, always.

Baltimore falls to 7-3, only a half-game ahead of Cleveland (6-3) in the division. The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-4) are right in the mix, too. The Ravens had the chance to take a commanding lead in the standings and blew it.

That has been a frustrating pattern for the Ravens in recent years. Feel like the Ravens are always blowing games? Well, you're correct — Baltimore hasn't lost a game in the last two seasons with Lamar Jackson under center that wasn't blown in the fourth quarter.

Wild stat pins Baltimore Ravens' blown games on Lamar Jackson

In each of the Ravens' last seven losses with Jackson at QB, Baltimore entered the fourth quarter with at least a 75 percent win probability according to ESPN's probability tracker. The Ravens had a 90 percent chance to win in five of those games.

ESPN's probability tracker is not a perfect tool, but it's a finely tuned algorithm built to consider a variety of different factors. There is no way around the simple truth here: the Ravens have a blowing leads problem.

Is it all on Jackson? Of course not. The Ravens' defense gave up 16 fourth-quarter points on Sunday and allowed Deshaun Watson to compile his best half in years. But, it was a rocky outing for Jackson — his first two-INT game of the season. He accrued 267 total yards, but Baltimore couldn't put away the game when it counted.

The Ravens have to close games better. It's hard to get fully behind Baltimore as a contender with such a shaky track record of maintaining leads.

There is a silver lining, of course. With Jackson, the Ravens tend to enter the fourth quarter with favorable odds to win. Even when that hasn't happened, Baltimore has pulled out victories. There is no denying the Ravens' ability to stack wins in the regular season and play (mostly) consistent football.

But, these blown leads sting — especially with the postseason in sight. This was a chance to widen the gap between a tough division opponent. The Ravens might have to get through Cleveland to reach their final destination. If the Ravens crumble under pressure, it's going to be hard to topple the Kansas City Chiefs or the Miami Dolphins of the world when the moment arrives.


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