“There’s a reason why people are talking about him as an MVP,” Rams Coach Sean McVay said after the game. “It felt like it tonight.”
The Ravens raced to a 28-6 halftime lead, made it 35-6 early in the third quarter and just kept pouring it on. They extended their winning streak to seven games and improved to 9-2.
They remained on the heels of the New England Patriots, who are 10-1 but lost to the Ravens earlier this month, in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. They’ll have a short work week before hosting the San Francisco 49ers, the current NFC front-runners at 10-1, in a possible Super Bowl preview Sunday in Baltimore.
“We’re hungry,” Jackson told ESPN on the field afterward. “We’re humble about it. But we’re hungry right now. We’re chasing something. We’ve got the 49ers coming up next week.”
Jackson had 95 of the Ravens’ 285 rushing yards Monday. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 169 yards. Jackson threw a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown, appropriately nicknamed “Hollywood.” He found wideout Willie Snead for a touchdown just before halftime, added a third-quarter strike to tailback Mark Ingram and found Snead again the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
The Ravens scored touchdowns on each of their first six possessions of the game before Jackson gave way to backup Robert Griffin III with more than 12 minutes remaining. Ingram had a 111-yard rushing night.
“I just come out and play,” Jackson said. “I do what I’m supposed to do. I do my job. Everybody does their job. We’re chasing something.”
Asked what that is, Jackson said succinctly: “Super Bowl.”
The MVP competition has been winnowed to Jackson and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, in the minds of some. Jackson bolstered his case in prime time before a “Monday Night Football” TV audience. He became the first quarterback to have five touchdown passes in his Monday night debut. Jackson joined Cam Newton as the only players ever to throw five touchdown passes and have at least 90 rushing yards in a game, according to Elias. Newton did so during his MVP season for the Carolina Panthers in 2015.
“It was impressive,” McVay said at his postgame news conference. “When you sit there and you watch and you feel the operation up close and personal and you just see just how sharp they are with their execution, what a dynamic playmaker he is, what a good job they do of creating conflict right before the snap, changing your fits—and then on third down, they were really impressive. Just his operation, his ability to be able to find some completions, make plays with his legs.”
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh pointed to Jackson’s situational precision, as with the touchdown drive he orchestrated just before halftime.
“That’s just operating at the highest level you can operate at as a quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “So that’s the thing I’m probably most amazed at, if it’s anything, is how he operates as a quarterback.”
The Rams became the latest team to have no answers for Jackson and the Ravens. Their defensive stars, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, were nonfactors. Donald was credited with only one tackle. On offense, the Rams managed only a pair of field goals. Tailback Todd Gurley ran for 22 yards. Quarterback Jared Goff had 212 passing yards and threw two interceptions, one of them to former teammate Marcus Peters.
Last season’s Super Bowl appearance indeed is a fading memory for McVay and his players. They’re 3-5 since a 3-0 start to the season and trail the 49ers and Seahawks in the NFC West. They dropped two games out of the second wild-card spot in the rugged NFC with five games remaining.
Hope is fading, and the operation is looking more ragged all the time. McVay squandered a first-half timeout Monday when he didn’t like the play into which Goff was getting the Rams at the line of scrimmage. The Rams handed the Ravens their sixth touchdown by being penalized for having too many players on the field with Baltimore in punt formation. The Ravens first sent kicker Justin Tucker on the field, then sent Jackson and the offense back on the field as Harbaugh took a ruthless approach. The Ravens converted on fourth and four. Harbaugh also left the offense on the field for another successful fourth-down try after Griffin took over and led a field goal drive.
“Give them credit,” McVay said. “They did a good job. But we’re not gonna let this bleed into next week. This is humbling. Nobody’s gonna shy away from [the fact that] we’ve got to do a lot better collectively as a team. You give the Ravens their credit. But what you can’t do is you can’t allow the Ravens to beat us twice as we move forward into our preparation in the upcoming week.”
Live updates and highlights can be found below.
Rams get a stop (sort of)
The Ravens, after scoring touchdowns on each of their six possessions with Lamar Jackson in the game, got a 34-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker in the first drive led by backup Robert Griffin III. Jackson’s brilliant night is done but Coach John Harbaugh had the Ravens covert a fourth-down try even after Griffin took over. (Ravens 45, Rams 6 with 6:35 left in the 4th quarter)
Five TD passes for Jackson
Lamar Jackson has become the first quarterback ever to have five touchdown passes in his “Monday Night Football” debut. The fifth touchdown throw came on a seven-yarder to wide receiver Willie Snead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. Marquise Brown just had dropped a potential touchdown pass, but Jackson shrugged that off quickly. The Ravens have six touchdowns in six possessions for the game. The Rams helped out on this drive by being penalized for having too many players on the field with the Ravens in punt formation. The Ravens first sent kicker Justin Tucker on the field, then sent Jackson and the offense back on the field as Coach John Harbaugh took a ruthless approach. The Ravens converted on fourth and four. (Ravens 42, Rams 6 with 14:43 left in the 4th quarter)
Fourth TD pass for Jackson
Lamar Jackson might unofficially clinch the NFL’s MVP award tonight. He threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game with a seven-yard throw over the middle to tailback Mark Ingram. Earlier on the drive, Jackson connected with tight end Mark Andrews for 38 yards. He did finally throw a couple incompletions, though. The Ravens have five touchdowns on five possessions. (Ravens 35, Rams 6 with 9:46 left in their 3rd quarter)
Halftime in L.A.
Lamar Jackson is bolstering his league MVP case and the Ravens are well on their way to extending their winning streak to seven games. They’re dominating the Rams, 28-6, at halftime at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Jackson’s third touchdown pass of the half came on a seven-yard strike to wide receiver Willie Snead 12 seconds before the break. Jackson has done it all. He has 80 of the Ravens’ 173 rushing yards. He completed all nine of his passes in the half for 87 yards. He threw a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to rookie wideout Marquise Brown. The Rams have absolutely no answers. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was not credited with a single first-half tackle. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey was a nonfactor. On offense, the Rams managed only a pair of field goals by kicker Greg Zuerlein. They were outgained by the Ravens, 251 yards to 99. Tailback Todd Gurley had only 19 rushing yards. Quarterback Jared Goff had only 93 passing yards and looked lost at times. Coach Sean McVay had to squander a timeout at one point because he wasn’t happy with the play into which Goff was getting the Rams at the line of scrimmage. The defending NFC champs could be all but eliminated from playoff contention before Thanksgiving. (Ravens 28, Rams 6 at halftime)
Second FG for Rams
The Rams can’t reach the end zone but managed their second field goal, a 46-yarder by kicker Greg Zuerlein. L.A. actually was fortunate to get even that much. Jared Goff fumbled on a third-down sack by Baltimore’s Matthew Judon, and the Rams retained possession only after the Ravens botched the recovery. (Ravens 21, Rams 6 with 1:55 left in the 2nd quarter)
Ravens are on a roll
The Ravens are rolling over the Rams and making it look easy. Their third touchdown of the night came on a one-yard run by tailback Mark Ingram. That was set up by a 29-yard scramble by Lamar Jackson. He dropped the ball while in the pocket, picked it up and sprinted straight through the middle of the L.A. defense. He probably would have scored but he stumbled at the end of the run. Jackson has 68 of the Ravens’ 143 rushing yards so far. He also has completed all six of his passing attempts. (Ravens 21, Rams 3 with 4:42 left in the 2nd quarter)
Rams get FG
The Rams are on the scoreboard with a 32-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein. L.A. held the ball for 15 plays on the drive but couldn’t get into the end zone. A defensive holding call against the Ravens on a third-and-11 incompletion by Jared Goff gave the Rams a second chance by extending the drive. But they were pushed back by a false start penalty and a seven-yard loss by Todd Gurley on a running play. (Ravens 14, Rams 3 with 9:45 left in the 2nd quarter)
Jackson-to-Brown again makes it 14-0
The Ravens are rolling over the Rams and rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown, with the appropriate nickname of “Hollywood,” has caught two touchdown passes by Lamar Jackson. This time, he grabbed an 18-yard throw by Jackson on a seam route. The Ravens moved 61 yards after forcing a second Rams’ punt. Jackson converted a fourth-and-one gamble from the L.A. 23-yard line with a five-yard run on a quarterback keeper. The only negative thus far for the Ravens is that center Matt Skura was hurt on the drive. (Ravens 14, Rams 0 with 1:31 left in the 1st quarter)
Ravens get first-drive TD
The Ravens have gotten off to fast starts all season, and that has continued in L.A. as Lamar Jackson threw a six-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown to cap their opening drive. Baltimore moved 55 yards after forcing a three-and-out punt by the Rams on the game’s first possession. The Ravens began with six straight running plays, including a 16-yard dash by Jackson. They have outscored their opponents, 92-24, in the first quarter so far this season. (Ravens 7, Rams 0 with 7:47 left in the 1st quarter)
Dominant Ravens face a desperate Rams team
The Ravens are coming off a 41-7 triumph at home over the Houston Texans eight days ago. Their winning streak includes three victories over upper-tier NFL teams — the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and Texans — by a combined margin of 108-43.
Jackson appears, at least for now, to be in a two-quarterback competition with Seattle’s Russell Wilson for the league MVP award. He has been virtually unstoppable as a runner and has added polish to his pocket-passing skills. The Ravens enter the game ranked second in the NFL in total offense and first in rushing offense and scoring offense. They’re ranked only 14th in total defense. But the Baltimore defense is coming off an encouraging seven-sack performance against the Texans in which Houston didn’t score until midway through the fourth quarter.
The Rams have a record of 6-4 and trail both the San Francisco 49ers and Seahawks in the NFC West. A loss Monday would put them two games out of the second wild-card spot in the NFC. For the first time in his three seasons as an NFL head coach, Sean McVay hasn’t had all the answers, and the Rams have been one of the league’s bigger disappointments.
Quarterback Jared Goff has struggled, with 10 interceptions to go with 11 touchdown passes. Tailback Todd Gurley is on pace to finish with fewer than 1,000 rushing yards. The Rams are ranked only 13th in the NFL in total offense. The defense has been a bit better, and the presence of standouts such as defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey puts plenty of star power on the field when that defense takes on Jackson and the Baltimore offense. But the Rams will have to raise their level of play considerably to be competitive, given how the Ravens are playing.
How to watch tonight’s game
Here’s what you need to know to watch this week’s “Monday Night Football” matchup between Baltimore and Los Angeles:
When: Monday at 8:15 p.m. Eastern
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum