Lamar Jackson and the Ravens stun the Chiefs with fourth-quarter comeback

·4 min read

BALTIMORE — There were, on paper, countless reasons that the Baltimore Ravens had no business beating the Kansas City Chiefs here at M&T Bank Stadium. There were the injuries. There was Patrick Mahomes. There were the mistakes, including the pick-six not even a minute into Sunday’s prime-time showdown, that gifted the NFL’s best player a seven-point head start.

But there was one reason, one explosive, irresistible reason, that the Baltimore Ravens would not lose.

And his name is Lamar Jackson.

Jackson led the Ravens back from an 11-point deficit, led two brilliant fourth-quarter drives, capped both off with touchdown runs, and beat Patrick Mahomes for the first time in his career.

For the Ravens, the thrilling, 36-35 come-from-behind victory was pivotal. They were 0-1 going into the game, having lost a heartbreaker to the Raiders in Week 1. An 0-2 start would be less than optimal.

And the way things began Sunday night, the Ravens looked on their way to 0-2.  

On the third play of the game, Ravens receiver Sammy Watkins stumbled coming out of a break. Jackson's pass, which might have been on target, instead whizzed right past Watkins and into the arms of Tyrann Mathieu, who took it back to the house.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens flips into the endzone for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson flips into the endzone for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Over the next 59 minutes, Jackson and Mahomes wowed as only they can. Neither was perfect. Both were electric. They traded touchdown drives. They got plenty of help from their skill-position friends. Travis Kelce and Byron Pringle turned short Mahomes passes into long highlight-reel touchdowns.

And for most of those 59 minutes, it seemed that the seven-point head start would prove critical. Jackson did all he could to overcome that deficit. He juked and even stiff-armed defenders into oblivion. He picked up first downs and a touchdown with his legs. He found a rhythm in the pocket. He expertly led the Ravens to a field goal before halftime. He hit Marquise Brown with an acrobatic jump-pass for a 42-yard score that cut Kansas City's lead to 28-24 in the third quarter.

Still, he spent most of the game playing from behind. Baltimore's defense tried to help. It coerced Mahomes into the first September interception of his NFL career. It forced third-and-longs, and brought a crowd of 70,000 to its feet.

More often than not, Mahomes sent them back into their seats, shaking their heads, exasperated. He flicked a deep ball to Demarcus Robinson. He spread the ball around to his many weapons.

His third touchdown pass went to Kelce midway through the third quarter, giving the Chiefs a 35-24 lead. 

Then Jackson did what he does — scoring on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and another with just over three minutes left to give the Ravens their first lead of the game.

Mahomes and company still had plenty of time, and they promptly waltzed down the field, into field-goal range, and looked certain to retake the lead. But Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled with under two minutes left, giving the ball back to Baltimore.

Armed with three timeouts, the Chiefs still had a chance. They just needed to stop Jackson, which they did for three downs. Then came fourth-and-1 at the Ravens 43. Punt and the Chiefs likely get the ball deep in their own territory with about a minute left and no timeouts. 

Instead, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh yelled to his quarterback on the field, "Lamar, you want to go for it?"

What do you think Jackson wanted to do?

Lined up in the shotgun, Jackson took the snap, barreled into the left side of the line for a couple of yards and a game-clinching first down. 

It was a gutsy call, one Harbaugh hardly even hesitated to make. Mainly because he had Lamar Jackson in the backfield. 

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