Lamar Jackson Dominant as Ravens Beat Dolphins in Preseason Clash

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2018

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 25: Lamar Jackson #8 and Robert Griffin III #3 of the Baltimore Ravens warm up in front of head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens before a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on August 25, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Miami Dolphins, 27-10, in their latest preseason game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Saturday night.

While Miami used its third exhibition game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, the Ravens, who were playing their fourth preseason game, opted to hold starters out. As a result, it created a clash of game plans.

It can be difficult to fully evaluate players based on preseason games, but here's a look at some of the takeaways from the latest action.

                

Lamar Jackson Starting to Shine, Gives Ravens Offense Spark

After trading back into the first round to draft Lamar Jackson, the Ravens' backup quarterback situation has been a hot topic around the league.

An up-and-down preseason, though, had many wondering if Jackson was ready to enter the year as the primary backup to Joe Flacco. Well, he used Saturday to make a big statement.

Entering the game to start the second half, Jackson immediately helped spark the offense. Baltimore had managed just three points in the first half with Robert Griffin III under center, but Jackson led the Ravens to the end zone on his first drive, aided by a 13-yard quarterback run on 3rd-and-13.

He wasn't done making plays with his legs, either. He would later beat the Dolphins defense for a 19-yard touchdown run:

There's never been any question as to whether or not the former Heisman Trophy winner could run, though. He has to prove that he can make throws consistently in the NFL. While it wasn't the toughest throw to make, Jackson did find DeVier Posey on third down to extend the lead early in the fourth:

The Dolphins brought some pressure, and Jackson stood tall in the pocket and put his throw on target.

His final numbers on the night? Seven completions on 10 attempts, 98 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions, adding 39 yards and a score on three carries. More importantly, he led the Ravens to three touchdowns

Jackson had entered the game having completed just 18 of 43 pass attempts for 201 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. While he had flashed some potential, he had struggled throwing the football. This game, though, left many impressed:

Baltimore has one more preseason game against Washington on Thursday. That gives Jackson one more opportunity to demonstrate he can handle backup duties, as well as prove his performance against Miami was no fluke. 

                

Robert Griffin III Still Has a Long Way to Go as He Fights For Roster Spot

First-round pick Lamar Jackson has surpassed Robert Griffin III on the Ravens' depth chart, so now, the veteran signal-caller finds himself fighting for a roster spot.

He didn't do much to bolster his case on Saturday.

The 28-year-old entered the contest having completed 18 of his 26 pass attempts during the first three preseason games for 177 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had 11 rushing yards on six carries. 

Baltimore's offense had a tough time getting anything going during the first half. Griffin went 9-of-15 for 66 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He did, however, show he can still take off and run, piling up 41 rushing yards on five attempts before ending the half with a knee.

His night was highlighted by a 21-yard keeper on a read option in the second quarter:

Griffin helped the Ravens get into field-goal range three times during the first half, but they only made it inside of the Miami 30-yard line once. That would be the only time they would put points up on the board in the half, as a pair of long field goals weren't converted.

After having been sacked five times in the first three games, sacks were an issue again against the Dolphins. Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun Sentinel pointed out the veteran wasn't getting rid of the football quickly enough:

To be fair, it's tough to blame Griffin for all of Baltimore's offensive struggles. A number of key starters did not play in this exhibition game, so he had to try to make the best out of what he had to work with.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh recently acknowledged, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley, that the team's decision on Griffin will "go right to the wire." Not only will it be based on Griffin's play, but it also will come down to how comfortable the team is with Jackson serving as Flacco's backup.

Of course, Griffin could have forced the team to make a roster spot for him with a lights-out performance on the field. That hasn't happened up to this point, so he is running out of time to show Harbaugh and Co. what he can do.    

Healthy Ryan Tannehill Looks Ready for Regular Season 

The Dolphins may be 0-3 this preseason, but it's through no fault of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Entering this offseason, all eyes in Miami were on Tannehill, who suffered a torn ACL last August. He missed the entire 2017 campaign, leading to the Dolphins signing veteran Jay Cutler out of retirement. That experiment didn't end well, with the team ultimately going 6-10.

Well, Tannehill is back on the field, and he looks more than ready for the regular season.

This offseason saw Miami part ways with the likes of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, receiver Jarvis Landry, tight end Julius Thomas and center Mike Pouncey. Running back Frank Gore and wideout Danny Amendola are among the players brought in to replace those established veterans.

Tannehill has had little trouble adjusting to a new supporting cast. Against the Ravens, he completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 115 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He left the game with his team leading 10-3.

As Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald noted, Tannehill has been solid all preseason:

Tannehill, 30, still has three years remaining on his contract, so the Dolphins needed to use the offseason to get their franchise quarterback ready for Week 1. Based on his preseason performance, he is more than ready for Sept. 9.

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