Of all the record-breaking, hair-raising, paradigm-shifting stats that could explain the Ravens’ season-opening 59-10 win Sunday over the Miami Dolphins — and there were seemingly as many as there are blades of grass here at Hard Rock Stadium — consider instead quarterback Lamar Jackson’s postgame news conference.
In by far the best game of his young career, in just his eighth NFL start, he had finished with exactly zero standout runs. No mad dashes, no looping scrambles, no And1-level feints. The only running-adjacent highlight he’d provide would be a sound bite. And it was a rebuke of everything he came to represent last season, the idea that he was an uber-athletic quarterback who couldn’t execute the position’s most basic responsibility.
After maybe the Ravens’ greatest passing performance ever, a reporter asked Jackson: Had he proved himself to the skeptics, to the haters? “Probably not,” he said, and he cast his eyes downward, as if recalling every last barb he’d endured. “But not bad for a running back.” He grinned thinly.
He’s definitely better,” said coach John Harbaugh, who improved to 5-1 (including the playoffs) against the Dolphins in his career. “He’s worked really hard. I think he’s only going to continue to improve because he wants to work at it. He was a rookie last year. He hadn’t practiced much throughout the course of the year. He’s had a chance to be with the No. 1 offense on a daily basis and did a great job. But, again, this is just the start. It’s one game.”