Quarterback Lamar Jackson accounted for four touchdowns and nearly 400 yards of offense as the Ravens dominated one of the NFL’s best teams, rolling to a 38-6 win Sunday in Baltimore over the Detroit Lions.
Jackson went 21-for-27 for 357 yards and three touchdowns, both season highs, and added nine carries for 36 yards and another touchdown. That 7-yard score early in the first quarter was the first of four straight touchdowns by the Ravens (5-2) as they took a 28-0 lead into halftime.
The Ravens finished with 503 yards of total offense, including 146 on the ground, against a Lions defense that ranked among the NFL’s best and hadn’t allowed 100 yards rushing in a game all season.
Tight end Mark Andrews had four catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns, while rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers had four catches for 75 yards. Running back Gus Edwards (12 carries for 59 yards) added an 80-yard catch-and-run, and wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a 12-yard score to give the Ravens an early double-digit lead.
The Ravens’ defense was just as impressive. While Lions quarterback Jared Goff, one of the NFL’s most efficient passers, finished 33-of-53 for 284 yards, he entered halftime just 11-for-18 for 99 yards. Goff was also sacked five times.
Detroit (5-2), which had won four straight games by double digits, didn’t score until a 21-yard run by Jahmyr Gibbs early in the fourth quarter.
Ravens fans, enjoy Mike Macdonald while you’ve got him. In a matchup against the Lions’ Ben Johnson, a sure-thing head coaching candidate, the Ravens’ defense was the best unit on the field — or at least as impressive as the Ravens’ white-hot offense.
The defensive coordinator was a little-known hire when John Harbaugh brought him back to Baltimore as Don “Wink” Martindale’s replacement last year. But, after a rough start to his Ravens tenure, few defenses have been better, or more creative. Considering the offenses that stand in the Ravens’ path in the AFC, Macdonald is the kind of play-caller who’s proven he can be relied upon.
— Jonas Shaffer, beat reporter
Lamar Jackson unleashed
The central promise of the Todd Monken offense was that it would weaponize Lamar Jackson to the highest possible degree. On Sunday against the Lions: mission accomplished. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better performance by a quarterback this season, rolling up 357 yards (on 21-for-27 passing) through the air, 36 yards on the ground and four total touchdowns (three passing). Monken’s early RPO plays had the Lions guessing from the start, and even when they were breathing down Jackson’s neck, he still slipped out of their grasp. His nearly 10-second play rolling out of the pocket to hit Nelson Agholor was as singular as Jackson himself.
A fumble on a handoff to Justice Hill was the lone blemish of the afternoon, but Jackson’s star was shining as brightly as it ever has against one of the presumed elite teams of the NFL. The level he’s playing at will have people mentioning Baltimore as a Super Bowl contender come Monday morning.
— Kyle Goon, columnist
A defensive masterpiece
Jared Goff continued a dismal spell of results against the Ravens that began with the Los Angeles Rams. In his three career appearances against Baltimore, including two with the Lions, Goff has yet to throw for a touchdown. While he again completed about 70% of his passes, he threw an interception Sunday (bringing his total to three vs. the Ravens) to go with just 284 yards and five sacks.
Much of that comes down to a stout Ravens defense that largely bottled up what Detroit had to offer. Baltimore held the Lions to first-down conversions on just five of their 16 third-down attempts and their lowest scoring output of the season.
— Andy Kostka, reporter
Finally, it all works as planned
Remember when this Ravens team lost to the Indianapolis Colts? And then the Pittsburgh Steelers? That was so weird.
The Ravens appear to be a very good — if not great — team. Everything still hinges entirely on Lamar Jackson staying healthy, of course, but he’s playing as well as anybody could expect and the offense is functioning at a very high level because of it. There were flashes of Odell Beckham Jr. being his old self Sunday, and Zay Flowers is clearly a good player, but it’s not like the underlying facts have truly changed for this offense. The players are deployed more creatively, and Jackson finally has a system that gives him real options. That, on Sunday, made for an astoundingly beautiful half of offensive football against a defense that had been among the league’s best (albeit minus a starting corner).
Stifling the Lions’ offense so thoroughly was impressive, too. It’s probably important not to get too high off this win — for both players and fans — because there’s still plenty for this team to prove. But the Ravens are clearly legit … with room to get better.
— Chris Korman, editor