Lamar Jackson has proven over his career to be one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. That was on display Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, as the Baltimore Ravens quarterback picked the New England Patriots defense apart on the ground and through the air for five total touchdowns.
“Kudos to 8, dynamic player,” linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley said postgame. “At the end of the day our goal was just to contain him, that’s everybody's goal, and get our D-line going — which we did a good job of — but obviously you want to do that for the full amount of time.”
New England had a strong start to the game against Jackson. The team gave up just 14 first-half points, recorded an interception, and took advantage of Baltimore’s banged-up offensive tackles with a handful of sacks — led by Deatrich Wise Jr. with three.
The Ravens adjusted nicely in the second half, however, keeping Jackson clean in the pocket while rushing for 126 yards as a team.
“They did a great job in their protection,” Wise Jr. explained. “They definitely made some game plan changes at halftime with slides and extra guys chipping.”
The result was three straight scoring drives in the second half for Baltimore that turned a 20-14 deficit into a 31-20 lead. The Ravens struck a handful of explosive plays on the ground and in the air during those possessions. While Jackson found daylight on a 38-yard keeper himself, Justice Hill and Devin Duvernay contributed with a 34-yard run and 21-yard completion, respectively.
“All of those drives they had explosive plays, running the ball and passing the ball. So we got to stop that,” said linebacker Matthew Judon. “That was a big thing, those explosive plays.”
The scoring didn't stop there, as Jackson later led the Ravens on a seven play, 73-yard scoring drive to put the nail in New England’s coffin. On the day, Jackson finished with 315 total yards and five touchdowns.
“That’s the thing with playing against him, stat wise, overall it can look like you did some good things but he changes games with just a couple different plays,” safety Devin McCourty said postgame. “We battled, we had some really good possessions, we had some good back-to-back drives when we were able to get off the field — we had good moments. But against an offensive like that, it’s 60 minutes consistently of trying to show up.”
The Patriots will have another challenge at the quarterback position next week as they travel to Green Bay to square off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.