BALTIMORE – – With a jump and a jump pass, and all the confidence his coach and teammates could ask for, Lamar Jackson finally beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City.
Using his legs to run 107 yards and scoring twice, including switch to the end zone for the winning score, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Chiefs 36-35 on Sunday night.
Jackson was 0-3 against the Chiefs, and he needed all of his multiple skills to break through to give Mahomes his first loss in September after 11 wins. The showdown of the NFL MVPs – Mahomes in 2018, Jackson the following year – was crazy business from the start.
And the Ravens needed a Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble as Kansas City headed for the shooting range to land it.
With Jackson leading the Ravens’ 251 yards rushing and throwing for 239 and one score, Baltimore ensured the four AFC North teams would have a 1-1 record. Kansas City, who allowed 481 yards and won 405, is also 1-1 in the rugged AFC West.
Jackson had his ninth career 100-yard running game, tied with Michael Vick for the most part by a quarterback.
The dynamic Jackson entered the end zone to his right twice with dives – well, the last TD was more of a somersault.
âI landed on my butt,â he laughed.
The Ravens missed the shot twice on 2-point conversions, but Jackson’s race for a first down on the fourth and 1 after Edwards-Helaire’s trial and error secured the victory.
âHe (coach John Harbaugh) asked if we wanted to go,â Jackson said. âI said, ‘Yeah! “
“I said, ‘Dude, I got to drop this first, no matter what. “
Like a video game without a controller for defense, teams moved up and down the field with little opposition. The most exciting was Travis Kelce’s 46-yard slalom in which he avoided nearly all of Baltimore’s defensive unit before falling into the end zone, exhausted.
But that wasn’t enough as Mahomes finally threw an interception in September, at Tavon Young, who set up Jackson’s first touchdown.
âWe were strong and together and we kept that focus,â said Jackson, referring to the overtime loss to Las Vegas to open the season. âI know my team is going to watch me and I have to do it for my guys. “
The Chiefs broke a 14-14 tie with precise practice late in the first half, triggered by a 20-yard screen pass to back up tight end Blake Bell. Darrel Williams ran it from the 10th with 51 seconds to go.
It was enough time for Baltimore to reach shooting range of Justin Tucker, who had a 43-yard dash. The problem for the Ravens: Kansas City got the second half kick-off.
Mahomes capped a quick 74-yard run with a short pass to Byron Pringle, who eluded two tackles for 40 yards and a 28-17 lead.
And the problem for the Chiefs was their defense, which was falling apart – apart from Tyrann Mathieu’s interceptions – had to take the field. He completely lost Marquise Brown on a 42 yard jump pass TD four games after Pringle scored.
âLamar is a hell of a football player,â DE Chiefs Frank Clark said. “He’s doing all he can.â¦ They took him. They came in, beat us in the rushed attack. We missed some tackles.”
Of course, with Mahomes throwing the ball and guys like Kelce catching it, the Chiefs barely shrug under such circumstances. And Kelce’s highlight touchdown restored the 11-point margin; he finished with seven catches for 109 yards.
Young’s pick – Mahomes said “This is probably one of the worst interceptions I’ve probably ever had” – set Baltimore close to midfielder and another quick workout ended with Jackson’s right sprint and dived for a score of 2 yards. But a 2- Brown’s point conversion pass was overturned by a penalty and the Ravens failed on the next try.
They didn’t miss the winning score when they had the chance to move forward. This Jackson doing like a gymnast added a great touch to it all.
âI love being with this team,â Harbaugh said of his understaffed squad. âI told them it would be an honor to be on the pitch with them. What makes me proud of these guys is who we are and what we do.
Mahomes was 24 for 31 for 343 yards and three touchdowns, with the interception.
Kansas City hit fast – and with their defense. When receiver Sammy Watkins, a former boss, slipped, Mathieu was there to grab Jackson’s second pass of the game. The 2020 All-Pro accelerated on the left side for a touchdown.
Baltimore responded immediately with a 75-yard rush highlighted by Devonta Freeman’s 31-yard rush. Of the Chiefs 10, running back Ty’Son Williams was heading towards the end zone when he fumbled. The ball leapt into the air towards teammate Devin Duvernay, who leapt to match it.
So the Chiefs responded with a 92-yard run capped by Demarcus Robinson defeating Anthony Levine on a post ground for 33 yards. Less than nine minutes later it was 14-7.
Mathieu’s second interception in the first quarter ended another impressive push from Baltimore as Jackson threw a triple cover. It didn’t help much as the penalties put the Chiefs in a third and a 39 – and even Mahomes Magic couldn’t handle that.
Baltimore, already ravaged by injuries, lost safety DeShon Elliott to a concussion and nose tackle Brandon Williams to a strained neck.
FANS AT HAND
For the first time since 2019, the Ravens sold out for a home game. They allowed limited attendance for part of last season during the pandemic.
Two groups performed outside of the stadium and the Ravens cheerleaders made a warm-weather appearance beforehand. The crowd of 70,417 were very excited just before kick-off when Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis was introduced and performed his usual dance on the field.
With their 251 rushing yards, the Ravens have 41 straight games with at least 100 rushing yards. Pittsburgh held the NFL record at age 43 from 1974 to 1977.
Kansas City hosts the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Baltimore is in Detroit on Sunday.