Lamar Jackson’s alarming theory for unexpected Ravens dropoff

Lamar Jackson’s offensive numbers aren’t nearly as eye-popping as they were in 2019, and the reigning NFL MVP believes he’s knows why.

The Baltimore Ravens’ star quarterback thinks the team’s play-calling has become too predictable and said Wednesday that he has noticed opposing teams often know what plays they are going to run before the ball is snapped.

“They’re calling out our plays, stuff like that. They know what we’re doing,” Jackson said on “The Rich Eisen Show” on PeacockTV. “Sometimes stuff won’t go our way if they’re beating us to the punch.

“Yeah, they definitely (are doing that). Like, ‘run’ and stuff like that. ‘Watch out for this, watch out for that.’ Sometimes that’s what’s going on.”

The Ravens (6-2) still have set an NFL record with at least 20 points in 31 consecutive games entering Sunday night’s visit to New England, but they are ranked eighth in the league in scoring (28.4 ppg) after finishing first overall (31.4) last season. They also are 23rd in yardage after finishing second in the league in 2019.

Jackson still leads the league in rushing yards among quarterbacks (469), but he is off his record-setting pace (1,206) from last season. He also ranks 27th in the NFL with 1,513 passing yards.

“We had our ups that first week and then we had our downs,” Jackson said. “Usually we’re a high-level offense. But it’s been all right. It’s not where we want to be. We’re still winning, so it’s all right, I guess.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Ravens have called a running play on first down 64 percent of the time, the second-highest figure in the league. But while Baltimore leads the league in rushing yards per game, they rank 21st with 3.9 yards per carry on first down.

Pittsburgh linebacker Alex Highsmith said after the Steelers‘ 28-24 win over Baltimore in Week 8 that he knew what play was coming before making picking off Jackson in the third quarter.

“I knew when that play started they were coming back to that because they ran the same play in the first half and I didn’t drop deep enough,” Highsmith said. “So I learned from that play and just dropped deeper… and the ball just fell into my hands.”

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