BALTIMORE (AP)When Lamar Jackson returned to Baltimore to play for new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, this was pretty much the best-case scenario – the star quarterback finding open receivers deep in the secondary, scrambling when needed and guiding the Ravens to touchdown after touchdown.
Baltimore reached the end zone four times before Detroit even managed a first down Sunday, and the Ravens trounced the Lions 38-6 in a matchup of division leaders that was lopsided from the start. Jackson threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns, finishing with a near-perfect passer rating of 155.8. He also ran for a TD.
“Today was lights out,” said tight end Mark Andrews, who caught two TD passes. “I think just by Lamar, obviously Coach Monk, from the top down on the offensive side of the ball. Those two guys were elite.”
Baltimore (5-2) scored on its first four possessions against the NFC North-leading Lions (5-2). It was the most complete performance of the season by the Ravens, and a resurgent Detroit squad fell flat while facing a major test on the road.
“We just didn’t play well. I hate to say it, it’s just one of those games. We could not get out of our own way,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “It’s a credit to those guys. They played outstanding football and rubbed our nose in it.”
Jackson went 21 of 27. He’s completed at least 70% of his passes in every game but one this season, but the Ravens had still been pretty inconsistent offensively until Sunday. Monken was hired in the offseason, and when Baltimore reached a deal with Jackson on a new contract, there was plenty of excitement about their partnership. Now it’s easy to see why.
Jackson had great success with deep passes against Detroit, often finding open receivers with plenty of room to run. Baltimore protected him well, and when that started to break down, his scrambling kept plays going.
Jackson opened the scoring with a 7-yard bootleg on fourth-and-1. On his team’s next possession, he escaped the pocket to the right and extended the play long enough to find Nelson Agholor for a 12-yard touchdown.
An 11-yard TD pass to Andrews made it 21-0, and then Gus Edwards scored on a 2-yard run. At that point, the Lions had only managed three three-and-outs. Baltimore had a 28-0 lead, a 16-0 edge in first downs and a 325-13 advantage in total yards.
Detroit drove all the way to the Baltimore 6 to start the second half but turned the ball over on downs. The Ravens needed only four plays to go almost the entire length of the field. Edwards was so open for a short pass that he rumbled for an 80-yard gain, and Jackson’s 8-yard scoring toss to Andrews gave the AFC North leaders a 35-0 advantage.
Detroit finally scored early in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard run by rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.
Baltimore has allowed a league-low seven touchdowns this season, and although the Ravens have faced some shaky quarterbacks, they made quite a statement against a Detroit team that came in on a roll.
“We just played our style of defense,” linebacker Roquan Smith said. “We just knew that they haven’t faced a defense this year like ours.”
The Lions had won four straight – all by at least 14 points – and they’d scored at least 20 points in 15 consecutive games. But they were no match for the Ravens on either side of the ball, and Baltimore had put backup quarterback Tyler Huntley in the game by the end.
Kyle Van Noy, who was drafted by Detroit back in 2014, had two of Baltimore’s five sacks. Geno Stone of the Ravens contributed his fourth interception of the season.
The Ravens had eight passing plays of at least 20 yards. Only one team – the Los Angeles Chargers with nine against Minnesota – has had more in a game this season.
“Todd got a game ball with the offensive coaches in there,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Those plays are great plays, but they were executed well. It starts with the quarterback.”
Detroit’s Mohamed Ibrahim was carted off the field in the third quarter with a hip injury after returning a kickoff. He went to the hospital for surgery. Lions LB Malcolm Rodriguez injured his ankle. … Ravens RB Keaton Mitchell went down with a hamstring injury.
Lions: Host Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 30.
Ravens: At Arizona next Sunday.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl