Photo Credit: USA Today

Under Lamar Jackson, the Ravens Dominate the Third Quarter

December 18, 2018 - 6:33 am

It’s been far from perfect, but the Baltimore Ravens have found a successful formula with Lamar Jackson as the starting quarterback.

A relentless and exhausting rushing attack comprised of a Heisman Trophy winner, an undrafted rookie and almost seemingly forgot about third-year running back has totaled 1,152 yards over the last five games, the most of any team in NFL history.

The Ravens are 4-1 during that span in contention for a postseason berth. They’ve been able to neutralize some of the top offenses by completely controlling one 15-minute period.

The third quarter.

The Ravens have held the ball for 55:09 of 75 total minutes while outscoring opponents 35-24. In wins over the Raiders, Falcons, and Buccaneers, the third quarter play was largely the deciding factor.

Baltimore has won the toss in each of the last five games and elected to defer, meaning they received the ball coming out of the half.

It’s a counterpoint in support of the argument that the time of possession statistic can be oversaturated – which can be true. But in this case, it’s actually more impressive to see the Ravens sustain drives to start the third quarter.

In an offense led by a rookie quarterback, putting together a seven-to-eight play drives that go 50-60 yards down the field builds confidence and sets an immediate rhythm. Meanwhile, the opposing offense is forced to remain idle even longer following a halftime break.

If this offense is a blueprint the Ravens are committed to following with Jackson past this season, they have to continue to control quarters. This isn’t going to be a unit capable of putting up copious amounts of points in short periods of time and the best way to avoid falling behind is keeping the ball out of the opposition’s hands.

The third quarter has been owned by the Ravens and this lends itself to success heading down a crucial regular season stretch with pivotal matchups against the Los Angeles Chargers and Cleveland Browns left to play.