BreakPoint Wk10: Screw it, I’m Talking About the Lamar Run

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Photo Credit: Frank Victores and AP Photo

Week 10 has come and gone, punctuated by the Ravens’ 7th win of the season and league-leading 5th win in a row. The 49-13 throttling in Cincinnati gave the Ravens their first series sweep of the Bengals since the 2012 season and may have marked the first time an NFL team has scored more points (49) than the number of plays they ran (46). At no point was this game ever considered close, the Ravens dominated on both sides of the ball and put on a show in the process. Lamar Jackson continued to look like a legitimate MVP candidate while putting up 4 touchdowns, over 280 yards, and turning in his 2nd game with a perfect passer rating of the season. He was pulled from the game before the end of the 3rd quarter with the game handily put away.

On the other side of the ball, the defense added a couple of scores of their own. Marcus Peters recorded his 2nd pick 6 in only his 3rd game with the team and Tyus Bowser added a fumble return TD while the unit harrassed Bengals rookie Ryan Finley throughout his 1st career NFL start. Coverage was tight and the Ravens didn’t give up any big plays throughout the game. If you want something to nitpick, the rushing defense looked shaky throughout. The Bengals entered the game as the league’s worst rushing attack going against the Ravens’ 2nd ranked rushing defense, but Joe Mixon was able to turn in a solid game. Cincinnati fed him the ball over 30 times, and he rewarded their persistence with over 100 yards on the ground. The run defense might be something worth monitoring, especially if Michael Pierce misses any significant time; but come on, it’s a 36 point win! Nothing to worry about yet.

The idea behind the BreakPoint series is that the most game-changing play of the week gets highlighted, but this one was thoroughly consistent throughout. I could try to get cute and find an early play that set the tone, or show the Peters interception and try to spin it as some back-breaking turnover, but that isn’t the story of this game. The true story here isn’t a play that changed this game at all, it’s a highlight that you’ll see for decades.

Lamar 47 yd td

If you’ve watched any sports channel, looked at any sports media site, or browsed social media in any capacity, you’ve no doubt seen this play already. But if you’re anything like me, you can’t stop watching it. With an 18 point lead and an offense that hadn’t been stopped at all, this game was already over. With a 2nd and 3 across midfield, the playbook was open to whatever the coaches wanted to call (which apparently included a 2-QB speed option pitch to RG3). This play call is just a simple read-option run out of the pistol formation, essentially the bread and butter of our offense this year. Lamar’s read is Carlos Dunlap (96), who commits to the inside handoff to Ingram. As Jackson sees Dunlap cut inside, he makes the correct decision to keep the ball himself. Nick Boyle (86), is in motion as the ball is snapped and makes a key block to set the edge and give Lamar Jackson an open gap to run through. From there, it’s all Lamar making magic in the open field.

Before I break down how insane this play is, I’ll point out that the blocking is set up perfectly once again. Any moderately mobile QB should be able to pick up the 3 yards needed for the first down here because of Boyle’s block, but the safety is in the exact right spot to end the run there. Realistically this play should have gained about 7 yards, the extra 40 showcase what makes Lamar Jackson so dangerous.

After turning upfield Jackson heads straight for Jessie Bates (30) before making a cut with about a yard of separation, and completely leaving him in the dust. Lamar plants his foot and subtly changes direction just enough to make Bates whiff, not losing any speed or momentum in the process. This juke displays the type of elite level shiftiness you’d look for when scouting a top-level running back, and he makes it look easy.

Then, of course, comes the spin.

Lamar Spin

There’s no way to describe this other than “filthy” or a synonym of that. Jackson spins and leaves Nick Vigil (59) grasping for air. The move leaves Vigil on his back and sends him tumbling into 3 other Bengals defenders. Kevin Harlan’s perfect call of “OH! He broke his ankles!” will be played on every Lamar Jackson highlight reel you ever see.

On this play alone Jackson splits 2 defenders, jukes past a 3rd, then spins another into 3 teammates, before casually running by a final defender to reach the end zone. The scariest part of the play is that it could legitimately happen at any time. This isn’t a crazy play call at all, it’s a look the Ravens get multiple times a game. There have been a handful of times where Lamar was about a step away from breaking off a long run on this exact type of play throughout the season.

This is a once in a lifetime kind of play, and getting to watch it live was truly special. In a young career filled with explosive plays, this is easily Lamar’s most memorable. We already knew he could run, he showed us once again in this game that he can pass, but this play in particular just showed the world that Lamar Jackson is capable of things we’ve never seen on a professional football field.

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Photo Credit: Phil Hoffmann and BaltimoreRavens.com

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