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.
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.
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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