Lamar Jackson outshines Russell Wilson, makes case for MVP race in dominant outing

Russell Wilson has looked like an MVP favorite most of this season. On Sunday, Lamar Jackson made a much stronger case in a dominant outing against the Seattle Seahawks.

A Ravens defense shored up by the addition of Marcus Peters frustrated Wilson and stifled the Seattle offense, while Jackson regularly confounded Seahawks defenders in a 30-16 Baltimore victory.

Jackson closes out Seahawks almost single-handedly

Jackson starred in the game-clinching drive, a nine-minute grind in the fourth quarter that started on Baltimore’s 10-yard line and ended with a Justin Tucker field goal to increase the Ravens’ lead to 23-13.

The drive got off to an ominous start after a holding penalty left Baltimore facing first-and-15 from their own five. A dropped first down catch by tight end Mark Andrews on a perfect throw on the next play made things worse. But Jackson took matters into his own hands — and feet — breaking free for a critical 42-yard scramble on third-and-8.

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Two plays later, Jackson picked up another first down with his feet, scrambling for 12 yards on second down to the Seattle 41 after his pass protection broke down. From there, the Ravens ground down the clock, using nine plays and an additional 5:21 to take a two-possession lead with 3:37 remaining.

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Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens
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Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26: Lamar Jackson of Louisville poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #32 overall by the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled as he carries the ball by free safety Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 18, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens rushes for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after their 26-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 2: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens is interviewed after the game against the Atlanta Falcons by Tracy Wolfson as ZaDarius Smith #90 joins in at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JANUARY 06: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens stiff arms free safety Derwin James #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 08: Willie Snead #83 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Lamar Jackson #8 after scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens shakes hands with a young fan prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at M&T Bank Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 29: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on after a play against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
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Seahawks blow long-shot chance

The Seahawks were left to desperate measures against a stout defense that had given Wilson fits all day. They didn’t find a miracle.

Rookie wide receiver D.K. Metcalf caught and then dropped a pass from Wilson for a fumble on the next Seattle play from scrimmage. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey scooped it up and carried it in for a touchdown to put any long-shot hope for the Seahawks to rest.

It was the second touchdown of the day for the Ravens defense, which outscored the Seahawks until a meaningless late field goal upped the final Seattle tally to 16 points.

Peters, whom the Ravens acquired via trade last week from the Los Angeles Rams, scored the first one, intercepting Wilson in the second quarter and returning it for Baltimore’s first touchdown of the day.

Rough day for Wilson

It was emblematic of a miserable day for Wilson, who looked anything like the MVP favorite he’d established himself as in a nearly flawless first six games that saw him fail to throw an interception in a 5-1 Seattle start.

But he was hounded by an aggressive Ravens defense that pressured him into multiple bad throws and held him to 241 yards, a touchdown and an interception while hitting 20-of-41 pass attempts.

Jackson the difference despite tough passing day

Jackson was far from prolific with his arm, hitting on 9-of-20 pass attempts for 143 yards without a touchdown or an interception. Multiple drops — including a touchdown — from Andrews didn’t help his line. But as he has for much of the season, he made big play after big play, with many coming on his feet en route to 116 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

He’s proving to be every bit the dynamic threat he looked like at Louisville, racking up his third game of the season with at least 100 rushing and passing yards in leading the Ravens to a 5-2 start.

He’s laid waste to critics who had doubts about his ability to play quarterback in the league. He entered Sunday with a 96.7 quarterback rating, completing 65.1 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and five interceptions while averaging 251 yards per game.

Jackson effective, even if passing game isn’t

And he showed on Sunday that when the passing game isn’t on point, he can get the job done like no other quarterback in NFL with his feet — and that includes Wilson.

Wilson has been spectacular this season, and one bad game certainly doesn’t derail his MVP candidacy. But Jackson made a statement Monday that he and the rest of the NFL’s MVP hopefuls have some serious competition in Baltimore.

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