Perhaps no play better defines Lamar Jackson than when the Ravens were called for a delay-of-game penalty late in the third quarter.
Jackson had been screaming at center Matt Skura to snap the ball, fully aware of how much time he had left on the 40-second clock.
But the crowd disrupted the cadence.
When the referees threw the flag, Jackson angrily spiked the ball and implored his offense to do better. He then patted Skura on the helmet as a sign of encouragement.
Three plays later, Jackson scored on an 8-yard run … on a 4th and 2 … that gave the Ravens a seven-point lead they never relinquished.
“I was just charged up,” Jackson said. “When we kill ourselves, it’s my job to make it right. I just got to make guys miss, do what I do.”
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 21, 2019
Jackson left everything on the field in Seattle. He finished with 116 yards rushing with a touchdown. Jackson completed 9 of 20 pass attempts for 143 yards. His receivers, most notably tight end Mark Andrews, didn’t help him, with several drops. Jackson found rookie Mikes Boykin for a 50-yard completion that forced Seattle to adjust on defense.
He essentially willed the Ravens to the spirited 30-16 victory that could reverberate throughout the rest of the season.
“[Jackson] is faster than we saw him on film,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “He was able to just find the space and get out of things. There really wasn’t any missed tackles. He just ran around people and found a way.”
The Ravens improved to 5-2 and opened a 2.5-game lead in the AFC North. The win against Seattle transcends the standings.
The Seahawks are one of the most dominant teams at home and have one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. The Ravens helped silence that crowd with 199 yards rushing on the day.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was having an MVP-caliber season. He had thrown 220 passes without an interception.
That changed when newly signed cornerback Marcus Peters jumped a route for a pick-six that gave the Ravens a 13-10 lead with five minutes left in the first half.
Peters was expected to make an immediate impact and he delivered one of the biggest plays of the game.
“I’m just here to do my job, be an excellent teammate and be the best I can be,” Peters said.
The Ravens also have to credit defensive coordinator Don Martindale. He put together a solid game plan and was aggressive attacking Wilson. The Ravens managed just one sack from L.J. Fort, but they kept Wilson on the run and forced him to make mistakes.
Wilson completed 20 of 41 pass attempts for 241 yards with a touchdown and interception. His 65.2 passer rating was the second-lowest in seven games this season.
Ravens safety Earl Thomas also had his best game in his return to Seattle, where he spent nine seasons and made six Pro Bowls. Thomas did not have a huge day statistically, finishing with five tackles, but he was a vocal leader in the secondary and helped keep the defensive backs organized.
“Just to come in here where I started, and get a win like that, and we dominated too, it felt really, really, really good,” Thomas said after the game. “[It] was big. My teammates have been telling me all week they have my back and it felt real good for those guys to show up how they did today. It felt so good to get that win.”
However, this game really belonged to Jackson. He urged coach John Harbaugh to go for a touchdown on the aforementioned 4th and 2, and right guard Marshal Yanda backed his quarterback.
Harbaugh called a timeout and relented, letting the offense take the field. Jackson rewarded him with the game-changing touchdown.
“I told him we were going for it,” Jackson said. “Instead of bringing Tuck in, I’m like, ‘Bro, not this time. We’re not kicking no field goal, because if Russell Wilson gets the ball again and we didn’t score, it might look ugly.’”
The touchdown essentially took the ball out of Wilson’s hands. The Ravens’ defense came up with their second score of the game when cornerback Marlon Humphrey returned a fumble 18 yards for an insurmountable 30-13 lead with just over three minutes left in the game.
The Ravens can rest easy with their week off. When they return, they have a huge showdown with the undefeated New England Patriots on Nov. 3.
New England will be favored.
Jackson has shown that anything can happen.
“I don’t know how to describe what a competitor Lamar Jackson is,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to win at everything all the time, and we feed off that. He carries that. I think that’s who we are as a team. That’s why he fits us so well. And it showed today. You saw that fire.”