OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Lamar Jackson took the shotgun snap, looked to escape to the left as the pocket collapsed, then had to turn around and run to the right. When two defenders chased him over there, he moved a bit back to his left before finally throwing into the end zone to Nelson Agholor for a touchdown.
“The extended play is real. It's something you have to actually prepare to stop,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “The teams that do it better are the teams that are tougher to defend.”
The Ravens certainly have a quarterback who is capable of keeping plays going, and forcing the defense to account for both his passing and running is a big part of Jackson's value.
In Sunday's 38-6 win over Detroit, he looked as comfortable as he has all season in new coordinator Todd Monken's offense, throwing for 357 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding a rushing TD.
The pass to Agholor was the highlight, but there were plenty of other plays when Jackson either stayed patient in the pocket and waited for open receivers or moved to the outside before throwing. Early in the game, Jackson appeared to be keeping the ball after a fake handoff, but after darting to his right he flipped it forward to Odell Beckham Jr. for a first down.
In the second half, a somewhat similar play resulted in an 80-yard catch-and-run by Gus Edwards, after he caught a short pass behind defenders who were focused on Jackson.
“I've been working real hard with him on that myself, personally. His running and then throwing late and seeing guys. I kind of take a lot of pride in that myself as a coach," Harbaugh joked Monday, drawing a laugh. "That's just Lamar. That's Lamar being Lamar. I think it's just some of his innate talent. How he sees the game is pretty special.”
Sunday's game was an answer to the question: What if the Ravens played a whole game like they have in the first quarter?
Baltimore led 14-0 after one and has now outscored opponents 55-6 in the opening period. This time, the Ravens kept right on rolling, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions.
While it's easy to rave about Jackson, Baltimore's defense has still been the most consistent part of the team's success. The Ravens had five more sacks Sunday and lead the league with 29.
“It all goes hand in hand, in terms of the sacks. Coverage is part of that, opportunity is part of that,” Harbaugh said. "Sometimes offense helps. The offense gets the lead, forces them to throw the ball more, and you get more opportunities. All those things kind of go together.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
There was a problem on a handoff between Jackson and Justice Hill that resulted in a fumble. It was the seventh lost fumble of the season for the Ravens. Only Minnesota has more.
“We had one hiccup — me and Justice,” Jackson said after the game. “But we talked about it on the sideline, and we shouldn’t be having that problem anymore.”
WR Rashod Bateman. The third-year receiver has had a hard time staying healthy in his young career, and he has had a difficult start to this season. He caught passes of 20 and 16 yards Sunday — a step in the right direction.
Hill. The running back managed to gain 46 yards on just four carries, but he had only five offensive touches on a day when Edwards received a majority of the rushing attempts.
Harbaugh said there has been no resolution on the status of linebacker Tyus Bowser (knee). He hasn't played yet this season. ... Harbaugh said there's an outside chance running back Keaton Mitchell could play this week after he injured a hamstring.
10 — The number of offensive plays of at least 20 yards for the Ravens on Sunday, the most in one game by any NFL team this season.
“We had really good protection, and so it gave us time to let some of those routes unfold,” Harbaugh said. "Some other games when we had some of those things called, it didn’t quite have as much time. All those things go together. That’s what you have to have to get the ball downfield.”
After playing at home for the first time in four games, the Ravens head back on the road for a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
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