The Baltimore Ravens are already pulling away in the AFC North.
Baltimore extended its winning streak to three with a 30-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s high-profile quarterback showdown at CenturyLink Field. Lamar Jackson spearheaded the effort with his legs, helping his 5-2 Ravens create even more separation from the 2-4 Cleveland Browns and 2-4 Pittsburgh Steelers in the division.
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks had their three-game winning streak come to an end as they fell to 5-2 and further behind the 6-0 San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.
Notable Fantasy Stats
- Lamar Jackson: 9-of-20 passing for 143 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions; 14 carries for 116 yards and one touchdown
- Mark Ingram: 12 carries for 46 yards
- Russell Wilson: 20-of-41 passing for 241 yards, one touchdown and one interception
- Chris Carson: 21 carries for 65 yards; three catches for nine yards
- Tyler Lockett: five catches for 61 yards and one touchdown
Jackson Steals the Spotlight on the Road
This was billed as a showdown between Wilson and Jackson, and the second-year signal-caller stole the spotlight from the five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion.
It's not often a field-goal drive can be seen as a masterclass of quarterbacking, but Jackson's effort in the fourth quarter in one of the league's most hostile environments was just that. He started from his 10-yard line, went backward to the 5 because of a penalty and marched 86 yards in 13 plays and nine minutes to help go ahead 10 with less than four minutes left.
Who does that outside of maybe Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady—and in Seattle of all places?
Lamar Jackson did.
He scrambled for 38 yards on a 3rd-and-8, mixed in a number of zone-read looks with Mark Ingram and surgically picked apart Seattle's defense with his legs. While his passing numbers looked pedestrian at best, they would have been better if Mark Andrews didn't drop three passes—one of which was a perfectly placed ball in the end zone.
Jackson battled through those drops, driving rain, the occasional thrown-off timing in the aerial attack and visible frustration on some delays of the game to take over at winning time.
He still needs to make strides in the passing game and has six touchdown throws to five interceptions since the season-opening win over the Miami Dolphins, but Sunday's performance underscored how he can change a game at a moment's notice by breaking free from the pocket and evading tackles with ease.
CenturyLink Field almost always belongs to Wilson. It was Jackson's on Sunday.
New-Look Ravens Secondary Befuddles Wilson and Seahawks
Baltimore entered this contest a mere 25th in the league in passing yards allowed per game, and Wilson figured to find plenty of openings considering he is firmly in the middle of the MVP race and didn't throw a single interception in the opening six games.
He was also coming off two high-scoring comebacks against the Browns and Los Angeles Rams that featured him coming through in clutch moments with his usual demeanor and ability to keep his eyes locked downfield while evading pressure.
While there were some razzle-dazzle throws to Tyler Lockett during Sunday's loss, the Ravens defense had other ideas.
Marcus Peters, whom Baltimore acquired via trade from the Rams earlier this week, announced his presence with a pick-six for the visitors' first touchdown. Earl Thomas flew around his old stomping grounds and made a number of tackles and hard hits, causing even the slightest hesitancy from Seattle's receivers to go across the middle.
It wasn't just Peters and Thomas who made plays.
Seattle was still within striking distance after Jackson's lengthy drive in the fourth quarter, but Marlon Humphrey scooped up a DK Metcalf fumble and iced the win with a touchdown return. Suddenly, a secondary with Peters, Humphrey and Thomas making plays looks formidable as Baltimore continues its AFC playoff run.
Wilson has been one of the league's best players all year, but even he couldn't unlock the Ravens defense Sunday.
The Seahawks are at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, while the Ravens are on a bye. Baltimore is home against the New England Patriots in Week 9.