The Jacksonville Jaguars dominated the Baltimore Ravens at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday, winning 44-7 behind Marcedes Lewis' three touchdown receptions.
Hat Trick for Marcedes Lewis! 🎩🎩🎩 TD JAGS! Watch LIVE on @Yahoo: https://t.co/wbn4i9qqDp #BALvsJAX #WatchWithTheWorld https://t.co/I7o5HYPLHs2017-9-24 15:34:34
Blake Bortles was superb for the Jaguars, finishing 20-of-31 passing with 244 yards and four touchdowns, while the Jacksonville defense forced three turnovers.
Much of the conversation surrounding the game, however, will involve the national anthem played before the contest, as members of both teams locked arms on their respective sidelines and some players knelt.
Jaguars owner Shahid Khan joined his players on the sideline and locked arms with Lewis and linebacker Telvin Smith a day after President Donald Trump said any NFL players protesting during the playing of the anthem should be kicked off the field or fired.
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan: https://t.co/aMO8cHDWYb2017-9-24 13:40:29
NFL Network @nflnetwork
Ravens and Jaguars players come together in a display of unity before kickoff in London. https://t.co/dy8JDzOBas2017-9-24 13:41:27
On the field, impressive rookie running back Leonard Fournette was largely contained by the Ravens defense, rushing 17 times for 59 yards, though he did reach the end zone and also caught three passes for another 21 yards.
Leonard Fournette is the real deal. TD JAGS. Watch LIVE on @Yahoo: https://t.co/wbn4i9qqDp #BALvsJAX #WatchWithTheWorld https://t.co/TE29MCuJis2017-9-24 15:53:36
Lewis led the charge through the air, catching four passes for 62 yards and his three scores, while Marqise Lee added four receptions for 65 yards.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com implied Bortles is a different quarterback when the Jaguars can keep defenses on their toes:
Pete Prisco @PriscoCBS
See what happens when Bortles is not always in obvious passion situations2017-9-24 15:35:11
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com was less convinced that Bortles can replicate his performance:
Chris Wesseling @ChrisWesseling
@elliottm_3 Only saw the second half. I’m open to the idea of Bortles making gains this year if he works and corrects delivery. But more likely anomaly.2017-9-24 18:02:04
The Jacksonville defense was even more impressive than its offense, holding Joe Flacco to a measly 28 passing yards and eight completions on 18 attempts. Flacco also threw two interceptions, and the Baltimore offense only mustered 186 yards.
That led to Flacco being benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Ryan Mallett, as Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network noted:
Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala
I don't know if #Ravens are jet-lagged or what. But Ryan Mallett coming in for Joe Flacco has to have something to do w/ the mercy rule2017-9-24 16:01:42
Success in London is nothing new for the Jaguars—they've now won three games in a row in the city. Maintaining Sunday's level of play may be another story. Still, there's reason for optimism after the team's 2-1 start, especially since it will play the struggling New York Jets a week from Sunday.
For the Ravens, Sunday's effort was their first blemish. With the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on deck, however, they'll need to quickly move past the blowout loss.