Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Jackson stars in rout of Rams

‘IMPRESSIVE’:Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson matched his career high with five touchdown passes as the Ravens claimed their seventh consecutive victory

AP, LOS ANGELES

Dante Fowler Jr of the Los Angeles Rams, left, chases Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens in their NFL game in Los Angeles, California, on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Lamar Jackson on Monday had not allowed the football to touch the ground 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, Jackson sprung up and slapped both his hands on his helmet.

Baltimore’s brilliant young quarterback wants to be perfect. He got awfully close on 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 as Baltimore routed Los Angeles 45-6 for their seventh consecutive victory.

Mark Ingram rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown, and caught a scoring pass as the streaking Ravens became the fourth team in the 21st century to score touchdowns on their first six drives in a game.

With Jackson operating almost flawlessly at the controls, Baltimore embarrassed Aaron Donald and the previously solid Rams defense by racking up 480 yards with their evolving brand of high-octane football.

“We’re clicking on all cylinders right now,” Jackson said. “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 we’re focused on.”

The Ravens’ 22-year-old quarterback strengthened his Most Valuable Player (MVP) case while going 15 of 20 for 169 yards, constantly making smart decisions with his arms and feet.

He hit Willie Snead with his fifth touchdown pass with 14 minutes, 43 seconds to play and took the rest of the night off, but even the Los Angeles crowd serenaded him with “MVP” 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 Jackson’s first half, in which he went nine of nine and led four touchdown drives.

Snead and Marquise Brown had two touchdown 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 have outscored their past three opponents 135-26.

Jared Goff passed for 212 yards with two interceptions and Todd Gurley rushed for just 22 yards for defending National Football Conference champions the Rams (6-5), who suffered the worst loss of their three seasons under coach Sean McVay.

“We didn’t do nearly enough to be competitive,” McVay said. “It was impressive. When you sit there and watch, and see [Jackson] up close and personal — on third down with his operation to find completions and making plays with his legs — I can see why they are talking about him being MVP.”

Los Angeles had not lost by more than 21 points in its first 43 games under McVay, whose once-prolific offense had another humiliating performance with just 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, while Goff finished the month without throwing a touchdown pass.

“We got our faces peeled off,” said Rams safety Eric Weddle, who spent the past three seasons with Baltimore. “We didn’t do much good out there ... [Jackson] is amazing. The tempo and the speed. I thought the first series or two, we would take our bearings to get adjusted to his speed. He’s one of a kind.”

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