CARSON, California. – He had just reached his record as an NFL starter 5: 1 and had a career high of 204 yards. And now, after a season win that may have made the Baltimore Ravens from the play-off wannabe to the AFC North champion, Lamar Jackson was asked to judge the status of his team – and he did not run for the truth.
"Oh yeah – we're the right deal," Jackson said, standing alone in his locker room on Saturday night at the StubHub Center, about 30 minutes after the Ravens' 22-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. "And the thing is, we still have much to do and can get much better."
Faced with a Chargers (1
Worn by the high-level defense of the NFL and bolstered last month by tough-time rookie quarterback Ravens now have, reason enough to believe in their postseason prospects.
"It's a little bit like a pitcher with a no-hitter – we will not talk about it," said Baltimore veteran veteran of the 16th century, Terrell Sugg's ongoing attack on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. "It's a great victory, and the momentum is contagious – if you get momentum, there may be snowball, but we have not painted our Sistine Chapel yet."
If the Ravens have a Michelangelo, it's eleven-year-old head coach John Harbaugh whose future was much speculated with the team before the 2018 campaign began. To silence the chatter, the team issued a statement Friday night stating that Harbaugh would come back for the 2019 season and that both sides "work on extending their existing contract."
If the goal was to lessen the pressure on Harbaugh and his players before the biggest game of the season – well, it worked. When he finished in the corner of Zone South a few hours before the game, the coach was relaxed and optimistic, confirming that his team did not have to win in 2018.
"He said," We simply could not break through. Obviously, time is running out and we have to do that. "
Then the game began and the Ravens forced the problem off the jump, and in the first game of Scrimmage, Rivers (23 of 37, 181 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions) threw the right sideline for receiver Mike Williams in the depth, but Brandon Carr tore the ball from the air and landed on the Baltimore 48-way.
The rookie ran back at the next game and Gus Edwards took Jackson from the hand, tore through the middle and rode 43 yards into the LA 9 yard line, but the Ravens were content with the first of Justin Tucker's three field goals and set a tone for one night, repeatedly allowing the chargers to sit around.
Although Baltimore dominated the first half, he had only a 6-3 lead in the third quarter – then he disappeared almost immediately when Kenneth Dixon ran back and scooped the ball off in the first game of Scrimmage End Zone it's three consecutive Melvin Gordon runs to take a 10-6 lead.
That has frenzied many of the 25,571 fans in the StubHub Center. And it only revealed Jackson's inner chill.
When Jackson started his own 15-yard line, he teamed up with receiver John Brown for a 17-yard throw. Then Jackson made a shotgun snapshot, faked a handover to Dixon and threw an impressive pass to Mark Rookies, the Mark Rookie, who put him on the turf on the Chargers' 40-yard line, the stiff-armed security Jahleel Addae hit Yards later and immediately made a 68-yard touchdown.
"What? This was a crazy stiff arm," Jackson said. "When I let it go, I knew what time it was."
Andrews said, "The throw was unbelievable – so I took it and scored points, people say," He's a quarterback. He is a quarterback . "
As with his previous attempts, Jackson (12 out of 22, 204 yards) forced the Chargers to deal with him as an ongoing threat, times. Apart from a 27-yard run in a 3-2 play-off late in the first quarter, he was essentially reluctant and only scored 12 yards on his other 12 transfers. The threat of Jackson as a ball carrier, however, opened up opportunities for Edwards (14 transfers, 92 yards) and Dixon (eight transfers, 28 yards) and helped build match-action low-priced matchups.
"Our defense is out of control Ball, and Lamar controls the game," said veteran receiver Michael Crabtree, who had a catch for 20 meters. "He's a baller, Bro. They want to catch passes, they want to have 100-yard games, but a win is a win, and if we lost, it would be bad ."
Asked about Jackson's influence on the enemy's defense and how the ravens use them to their advantage, Crabtree laughed and said, "You can not explain what you can not understand." The thing is, if I told you I needed you
Although the Chargers had been battered all night by the Ravens defense, the Chargers still lived three minutes before the end of the game when they arrived at the Baltimore 39 (after a Desmond King 24-yard return ) took only 16 minutes behind -10. After LA won in the previous two games in Pittsburgh and Kansas City, LA now had the unique opportunity to complete the Trifekta.
"That was the moment," Harbaugh later said. "And our defense was ready."
After LA had forced half a penalty after 10 yards, Rivers fired an eleven-meter pass to his most reliable goal: Antonio Gates, who has been close for 16 years, a future Hall of Famer who crashed forward Baltimore 38. Ravens defender Patrick Onwuasor (who had two of the team's four sacks) shot on the pitch just before Gates's knee, and cornerstone Tavon Young pulled out and sprinted 62 yards for the game.
"That was just the game," Jackson said.
It was a Tour de Force performance of a Ravens defense that allowed only 198 yards and remained at the top of the league at the end of the game -Ranked unit in terms of points (17.5 points per Game) and the total number of yards (284.1 per game). And yet, this excellent defense was not good enough to keep the Ravens from starting 4-5. Only when veteran quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a hip injury – and Jackson, the first round of the Louisville team, was forced into the lineup – did Baltimore begin to take his step.
Well, Flacco is well again, but the Ravens ride happily with Jackson as they defend themselves against defenses to defend Baltimore's heavy-duty attack.
"He was a painful camp for us," Suggs told Jackson. "I am glad that he now has the problem of another."
Young said, "I'm glad he's in our team … because who would want to play against him?"
"You still have to stop him," said Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn of Jackson. "And yes, he can throw."
Flacco was the starter at the beginning of October when the Ravens made a 12-9 decision overtime to the Browns. Winning the rematch is all that's going on between Baltimore and its first playoff appearance since 2014 – but Harbaugh would be the last coach to do so.
Remember: Last December, the Ravens only had to win a home game against the Bengals to reach the postseason, but Cincinnati, who had already dropped out of the competition, scored a dramatic 31-27 49 victory with Andy Dalton -Yard touchdown pass for Tyler Boyd in fourth and twelfth, 44 seconds before the end.
"I probably will not have to talk about that often, because everyone here is aware of that," Harbaugh said as he left the locker room on Saturday night and headed for the team bus. "We have to play our best game of the year on Sunday – that's the end result, we're in a good place, I love the way we fight, now we have to be in top form."
That's the deal – and the record shows that on an important Saturday night in Southern California, things became very real for the Ravens and their rookie quarterback.