Lamar Jackson basically had not allowed the football to touch the ground Monday night until he dropped an ordinary shotgun snap late in the first half at the Coliseum. He picked it up, split the pocket and sprinted away through the Rams’ defense, going 35 thrilling yards before tripping right at the goal line.
Instead of celebrating, Lamar Jackson sprung up and remonstratively slapped both his hands on his helmet. Baltimore’s brilliant young quarterback wants to be perfect. He got awfully close in his Monday Night Football debut with the fearsome Ravens.
Jackson matched his career high with five touchdown passes and ran for 95 yards in another splendid all-around performance, and Baltimore routed Los Angeles 45-6 for its seventh consecutive victory. Mark Ingram rushed for 111 yards, scored a TD and caught a scoring pass while the streaking Ravens (9-2) became the fourth team in the 21st century to score touchdowns on its first six drives in a game. With Lamar Jackson operating almost flawlessly at the controls, Baltimore embarrassed Aaron Donald and the previously solid Rams defense by racking up 480 yards with its evolving brand of high-octane football.
“We’re clicking on all cylinders right now,” said Lamar Jackson. It’s OK, but we’re trying to win the Super Bowl. This is cool, but we’re chasing that right now, and that’s what were focused on.”
The Ravens’ 22-year-old quarterback strengthened his Most Valuable Player case while going 15 of 20 for 169 yards and constantly making smart decisions with his arm and his feet. He hit Willie Snead with his fifth TD pass with 14:43 to play and took the rest of the night off, but even the LA crowd serenaded him with “M-V-P!” chants in the final minutes.
“That’s just operating at the highest level you can operate as a quarterback,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Lamar Jackson’s first half, in which he went 9 for 9 and led four TD drives. Snead and Marquise Brown had two TD catches apiece for the Ravens, whose winning streak is their longest since they won seven straight to close the 2000 season on the way to their first Super Bowl title. At 9-2, the Ravens have matched their best start since 2012, which ended in their second Super Bowl championship. Baltimore has outscored its last three opponents 135-26.
Jared Goff passed 212 yards with two interceptions and Todd Gurley hurried for only 22 for defending NFC champion Rams (6-5), who suffered the worst loss of his three seasons under coach Sean McVay. “We haven’t done nearly enough to be competitive,” McVay said. “It was impressive. If you sit there and watch and see [Jackson] very closely and personally in third place at his operation to find additions and play with his legs, I can understand why they talk about him being MVP”.
Los Angeles had not lost more than 21 points in its first 43 games under McVay, whose once prolific attack experienced another humiliating performance with only 111 yards in the first three quarters before finishing with 221. The Rams failed to score a touchdown for the second time in three games, and Goff did not throw a TD pass in November. The Rams lost one point more than they had allowed in their last four combined games.