Lamar Jackson had the Ravens one yard away to seal a victory Sunday night against the Chiefs. Coach John Harbaugh was going to let him do the rest of the way.
Baltimore needed a first try to complete the victory. As Jackson ran on the sidelines with the team facing a fourth and a 1 of 43, Harbaugh asked his star quarterback if he wanted to go. Jackson replied, “Hell, yeah,” then returned to the field and propelled straight for a 2-yard run to secure the Ravens 36-35 triumph.
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According to NFL Next Gen Stats, it was the right decision. He said the Ravens had an 82 percent chance of winning the game by finishing fourth, while they only had a 58 percent chance of winning by punting.
And why not trust Jackson? The Ravens had scored touchdowns in every practice except one in the second half, including Jackson’s rushed TD by one yard with 3:14 remaining that gave them a 36-35 lead.
He finished the game with a record 107 rushing yards on 16 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He also completed 18 of 26 passes for 239 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
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The Sunday Night Football game did not start off ideally for the Ravens. On his second assist of the game, Jackson threw a six-pick at Tyrann Mathieu to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead. The Ravens trailed 21-17 at halftime before the teams traded touchdowns early in the second half.
After Jackson turned around in the end zone to give the Ravens a 36-35 lead, the Chiefs took possession and marched down the field before running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire dabbled in the Ravens’ 34 for give the ball back to Baltimore with 1:20 to go. The Chiefs spent their last three timeouts before Jackson rushed for the first down.
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Harbaugh trusted his quarterback before converting to a fourth goal late in the game. He asked Jackson the same question in 2019 against the Seahawks, and Jackson scored a decisive touchdown in a possible win. Harbaugh’s confidence was rewarded again on Sunday.
“Just like Seattle two years ago,” Jackson told NBC’s Michele Tafoya. “We had to get it.”
The victory was Jackson’s first against the Chiefs after going 0-3 against them to start his career. Baltimore produced an exciting second straight finish after losing to the Raiders in a wild overtime game in Week 1.