MVP or not, Lamar Jackson still 2nd fiddle to Patrick Mahomes

Now that NFL Championship Sunday is in the rearview, it’s time to reflect on what was and what could have been. For the Baltimore Ravens, it’s a matter of looking back and figuring out what you could have done differently as a team. But for Lamar Jackson, at this point, it has to be tough playing second fiddle to the GOAT of the era, Patrick Mahomes.

This matchup was all about the quarterbacks, regardless of how the other units played for each team. However, it did become more of a defensive battle after halftime, with only three points being scored by the Ravens. But it was already too late by then and Mahomes’ Chiefs had this one wrapped up.

However, the start of this one was a different story. These teams began fast, and it looked like we were in for a four-quarter shootout between arguably the league’s two best QBs. Ultimately, that’s where Baltimore lost this game: Trying to duplicate Kansas City’s style.

Despite the low-scoring output, the Ravens were not going to be able to sustain that level against the Chiefs team, who’d been in this situation multiple times. It felt like Baltimore’s offense got caught up in the moment and forgot who they were. Aside from Jackson’s eight carries, the Ravens rushed another eight times (between three players) for 27 yards. Gus Edwards had 20 of those yards on just three touches out of the backfield.

More than anything, that’s why Baltimore lost this game. It’s almost as if they wanted Jackson to play the hero in this action-adventure scenario. He’s about to win his second MVP award (most believe) and the Ravens wanted Jackson to carry them. Of course, he’s going to be a focal point as their best and most dynamic weapon, but going throw for throw against Mahomes in a game of this magnitude is a sure recipe for disaster.

Even trailing throughout most of this game, the Ravens’ biggest deficit was only 10 points. While the Chiefs had their defense on their heels in the first half, by the third quarter, they’d settled in and even pitched a second-half shutout. Ravens’ offensive coordinator Todd Monken seemingly panicked, going away from designed runs just about altogether. Being down 10, with your defense beginning to look like itself, there was room for more run attempts.

Jackson is viewed by many as the most exciting QB in the NFL, but continues to finish behind Mahomeboy when it comes to the conversation of who’s the best. Four Super Bowl appearances, two league MVPs, two Super Bowl MVPs, two Super Bowl victories, and maybe a third on the way. That’s the Mahomes resume, which no current NFL QB can match.

Jackson may end up winning another MVP or two, but until he can get to the pinnacle of multiple Super Bowl wins, second place in most categories might be his fate. And just getting to the Super Bowl out of the AFC will be a daunting task for the next several years with QBs like Mahomes, Joe Burrow, C.J. Stroud, and Josh Allen hanging around. 

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