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Lamar Jackson returns to MVP form as Baltimore Ravens expose Detroit Lions

Coming into today’s NFL games at 5-1, the Detroit Lions were supposed to be the better team against the 4-2 Baltimore Ravens. Then the game kicked off, and Lamar Jackson reminded everyone that he’s an MVP winner.

There was little that went wrong for John Harbaugh’s team, with the Ravens scoring touchdowns on each of their first four drives. Meanwhile, Dan Campbell’s Lions found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum, where nothing went right. While Baltimore got out to a 28-0 lead before halftime, Detroit came up empty on all five of their drives in the first two quarters. That theme continued throughout the Ravens’ 38-6 beatdown over the Lions.

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Lamar Jackson leads flawless Baltimore Ravens offense over toothless Lions

NFL: Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

How quickly we’ve forgotten how special Lamar Jackson can be.

During his 2019 MVP season, Jackson averaged a total of 288.9 yards per game, which involved 208.5 as a passer and 80.4 YPG as a rusher.

After Sunday’s effort, Jackson is averaging a total of 281.8 YPG, including 230 as a passer and 51.8 YPG as a rusher. The biggest difference is Jackson also had 36 passing touchdowns and seven rushing touchdowns. Jackson’s on pace for just 22 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns, or a total of 34 TDs. He also has the Ravens at 5-2, as one of the best teams in the NFL, which once again makes him a top MVP candidate.

Jackson was superb all afternoon, but there was nothing more spectacular than the All-Pro QB using his athleticism to buy a ridiculous amount of time while finding Nelson Agholor well after the play broke down.

Sure, Lions fans will likely say there was a bit of holding on the play, but Jackson’s connection to Agholor was a rare feat in that he had over nine seconds to throw, which is the longest time to throw since 2018, according to Next Gen Stats.

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Detroit Lions exposed? Or are the Ravens just this good?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: the Lions got thumped by the Ravens on Sunday. A red-hot Detroit team that had won 13 of their past 16 games came out flat, lacking intensity. It’s a rare trait we haven’t seen often from Coach Campbell’s team.

The Lions didn’t have a first down until 7:30 left in the second quarter. It was the first sign of life, but it wouldn’t lead to any points. Detroit decided to push the pedal to the metal on 4th-and-8, which came up incomplete on a deep attempt to Amon-Ra St. Brown.

Again, later faced with a 4th-and-6 on Detroit’s first drive after halftime, Goff and Craig Reynolds couldn’t get on the same page, leading to another turnover on downs. Knowing they were running out of time, the Lions tried again on a 4th-and-1, but Goff instead found Ravens safety Geno Stone for an interception.

The Lions finally scored on their eighth possession of the day, but it was too little, too late, with the 35-6 game already out of hand.

We didn’t see a high-powered offense at MT&T Bank Stadium on a day when wind gusts reached up to 30 mph, but when looking across the sidelines and seeing how the Ravens performed under the same conditions, you realize there are no excuses for poor play.

What can’t be forgotten is the fact that the Lions didn’t have David Montgomery, their starting running back, but they did have Jahmyr Gibbs, the 12th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Unlike other positions, running backs don’t typically need time to acclimate themselves to pro football, meaning Gibbs should be ready to roll by now.

Detroit’s near-perfect record had Lions faithful believing the roar had finally been restored, but the Ravens instead showed they’re the more polished team at this stage in the season. Suddenly, those five wins against Kansas City, Atlanta, Green Bay, Carolina, and Tampa Bay don’t look too impressive.

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