With a somersault touchdown and a clutch fourth-down conversion, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson beat the Kansas City Chiefs and his self-described “kryptonite” for the first time in a thrilling 36-35 decision on Sunday night.
Jackson carried the short-handed Ravens to their first win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs after three defeats by running for 113 yards and throwing for 239 yards.
The odds were seemingly stacked against Baltimore, which was down several injured players and trailed by 11 points (35-24) to start the fourth quarter. Jackson then delivered the biggest fourth-quarter comeback of his career, running for two touchdowns, including a flip into the end zone for the winning, 1-yard score.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh celebrated the emotional win by giving Jackson a huge hug on the field.
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“It feels good to get that monkey off of our back,” said Jackson, whose three of eight regular-season losses have come against Kansas City. “We’ve got to move on to Detroit now. We didn’t win the Super Bowl yet; it’s just one game. We’ve got to just keep staying focused.”
The Ravens evened their record at 1-1 with one of their most improbable victories. Injuries forced Baltimore to play without All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, its top two running backs and rookie wide receiver and first-round pick Rashod Bateman, as well as a dozen others on injured reserve.
But the Ravens had Jackson, who gave them all of the confidence they needed to upset the reigning AFC champions. Up by one point with 1 minute, 5 seconds remaining, Harbaugh yelled to Jackson and asked whether Baltimore should go for fourth-and-1 at its own 43-yard line.
“I’m like, ‘Hell, yeah!'” Jackson explained after the game. “I said it again.”
Jackson took the snap in the pistol formation and ran up the middle of the defense, putting his head down for a 2-yard gain to close out the game.
It was a gutsy run by Jackson and a nearly unprecedented call by Harbaugh. Since 2000, this marked only the second time that a team went for it on fourth down in their own territory during the final two minutes of a game when leading by less than a field goal, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Was there any doubt that Harbaugh was going to go for it?
“No, there wasn’t,” Harbaugh said. “But I think I wanted to be sure myself, you know? I knew [Jackson] was going to say yes, but we were going for it at that point.”
Jackson became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with 100 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns in multiple games. He also tied Michael Vick for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback with his 11th (including playoffs).
This just didn’t have the makings of a record-setting night for Jackson. He threw two interceptions in the first quarter, including a pick-six on his second pass attempt.
After the second interception, a visibly frustrated Jackson threw his helmet down on the sideline.
“I know my team is going to look at me,” Jackson said. “If I’m out there just messing up, they’re going to be like, ‘God damn, what are you doing?’ So, I’ve got to do it for my guys. My guys have my back. The first two interceptions, they were like, ‘Man, you’re good; you got that out the way. Let’s just play.’ I was like, ‘You’re right, I’ve got to play now. That’s over with.’ And that’s what we did.”
Jackson settled down, throwing a 42-yard touchdown to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown in the third quarter before setting up his greatest comeback.
Before Sunday, Jackson was 0-6 in his career when trailing by 11 or more points in the fourth quarter (including playoffs). His previous biggest comeback was three points (Week 5 in 2019 at the Pittsburgh Steelers).
Jackson’s high-flying, 1-yard touchdown with 3:14 left gave the Ravens their first lead and put them ahead for good.
“He’s incredible, man,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. “That’s the guy right there. It’s hard to put into words, but he put the team on his shoulders many, many times tonight.”
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