KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Alex Okafor was sitting in his closet on Sunday afternoon, eyes wide as he shook his head.
The defensive end had just helped the Kansas City Chiefs to hold on to a 33-28 home win over the Baltimore Ravens, and while he was happy with it, his demeanor shifted to appreciation when asked about one of the high stakes that Baltimore's superb quarterback, Lamar Jackson, did during the game.
"There was one earlier in the game where he put me in the mixer," Okafor told Yahoo Sports with a laugh. "And listen, I learned my lesson."
Because when Jackson is on the road, you should better lower your hips, look at his feet and, yes, pray.
"You have to swarm, man," Okafor said with a laugh. "You have to swarm."
] Here's how .
And to hear others tell it, sometimes it doesn't work.
"You're talking about Lamar," asked defensive linebacker Chris Jones, who had just switched to cabinet next to Okafor & # 39; s. "Oh, man. He said me up a couple of times."
"Sauce is not the word," Okafor replied with a laugh. "Blender."
All that praise can sound over the top, or easily dismissed as a type of winner's favor, especially given Jackson's last state line, when he completed 22 of 43 passes for 267 yards, zero touchdowns or interceptions while rushing for 46 meters and a touchdown on eight cars.
But, really, you had to watch what Jackson did during the course of the game to fully appreciate what the 22-year-old was doing (especially late). With the ropes on the lines behind 30-1
Jackson did so largely by avoiding defenders to extend plays, despite the controlled rushes that the Chiefs used to keep him in his pocket, and often used his athleticism to pirate away problems and lopsided field closures that no one saw coming.
These games make life miserable for defenders and make teammates (and opponents) believe the corporations are never out of the game.
"No. 8 [Jackson] he has it ”says Chief Security Tyrann Mathieu to Yahoo Sports and shook his head at his locker with the same widely appreciated Okafor. "I think 15 [Mahomes] has it. Four from the Texans [Deshaun Watson] I think he has it. And obviously [Tom] Brady.
"Guys who [you] don't look at the scoreboard – they're always in it."
And please believe, several bands swore that this is how they like Jackson, so much so that when they heard about the bosses' repeated praise of their second-year teammate, they basically jerked.
"I mean, you can't lie when it's on film," Mark Ingram tells Yahoo Sports. "We know that Mahomes is special, but they know [Lamar’s] special. He gives defense and coordinators headaches for sure. You can have a perfect game, defend it and he can make some crazy things happen. He's the real deal, man. "
" Anything can happen at any time with this guy, "said left-hander Ronnie Stanley.
" He's ridiculous, man, "said wide receiver Willie Snead IV, recipient of one of Jackson's most eye-catching pass plays Sunday
Still, the Corps fell to 2-1 after opening the season with victories over two of the NFL's worst teams, the Dolphins and Cardinals, and the Ravens came up short in their bid to prove themselves worthy of the AFC: 's elite with the Chiefs and New England Patriots.
Some of the credits for it go to the Chiefs' improved defense, which included Jackson on the ground for the most part (except for a ridiculous red zone distortion that led to a fourth quarter touchdown) and managed to largely removing downfield and play-action shots the Ravens feasted through the first two weeks of the season.
Kansas City's main problem was the Ravens, who have one of the NFL's most varied driving games, lost 203 rushing yards o ch four touchdowns (three from Ingram). And with the ground game rolling, Jackson was also decisive in his shutdowns and initial progress, something that can't be said for his achievements sometimes in 2018.
"Oh, [he’s] so improved [from last year] "The linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. “Oh yeah, definitely. He is convinced that he will not let go and take off … he is actually reading his guys, throwing it fast, going through his progress. "
Jackson still has ways to join elite quarterbacks like Brady and Mahomes. Start with his field vision, as there were times he seemed to be missing Mathieu (who almost caught him twice) in coverage. In addition, while Jackson is more crucial than he used to be in his pocket, he can become a more dangerous passer by consistently hitting his third or fourth reading.
The keyword is "passing".
As an overall player, Jackson already fits that standard, so much so that several members of the Ravens and Chiefs privately noted that although the two teams are not scheduled to meet again in 2019, an endgame meeting in January probably seems, largely to that Jackson is talking about getting better in the next three-plus months.
"All the guys I knew [Chiefs] all said, 'Yeah, we'll see you along the line,'" Stanley told Yahoo Sports. "We know how good we are, we just have to keep getting better."
And that's a process that must begin with their phenomenally talented quarterback, one that still has to improve but whose feats of athleticism Sunday still forced their opponents to pay their respects, even in victory.
"Tells you what kind of athlete he is," Okafor said. "One of a kind."
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