Lamar Jackson Leads Ravens to Victory, MVP Talk Soars

Lamar Jackson Leads Ravens to Victory, MVP Talk Soars

Dec. 26 (UPI) — Lamar Jacksonand#039’s coach and teammates said the quarterback earned NFL MVP honors after leading the Baltimore Ravens to a dominant win over the San Francisco 49ers in NFLand#039 Week Round of 16. . Jackson threw for 252 yards and two scores and also ran for 45 yards in a 33-19 win Monday at Leviand#039 Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

He kept 49ersand#039; Top 10 Defensive tackles unbalanced, dishing out passes to wide receivers while avoiding an aggressive pass rusher with acrobatic jukes and unbeatable speed. andquot;I think if anybody watched the game, if anybody watched football this season and watched the Baltimore Ravens, they definitely know [that] Lamar Jackson is the MVP, hands down, andquot; Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith told reporters.

The Ravens (12-3) scored 20 unanswered points from late in the second quarter through the third and their defense shut out the 49ers (11-4) five times in the win. They also went on a five-game winning streak and remain atop the AFC playoff standings. Jackson, already an MVP candidate before the game, likely boosted his stock with his Christmas Eve antics. andquot;I thought Lamar had an MVP performance,andquot; Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. andquot;It takes a team to put on a performance like that, but it takes a player to play at that level — to play at an MVP level — it takes a player to play like that.

And Lamar was all over the field doing everything.andquot; Despite Monday and the loss, the 49ers still have a narrow lead over the Philadelphia Eagles (11-4) in the NFC. andquot;When you have five turnovers and over a hundred yards of penalties, it should be,andquot; 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

The 49ers took a 2-0 lead when Jackson was intentionally tackled in his own end zone with about five minutes left. Kicker Jake Moody capped the next drive with a 45-yard field goal to give the 49ers a 5–0 lead. The Ravens responded with an eight-play, 65-yard drive. Kicker Justin Tucker made a 28-yard field goal to end the drive. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey intercepted 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy early in the second quarter. Jackson then led an 11-play, 53-yard drive. Running back Gus Edwards finished the drive with a Ravensand#039 1-yard run; the first introduction of the evening. Purdy threw another interception on Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton about 1:30 later. Tucker followed with a 41-yard field goal that put the Ravens up 13-5. The 49ers responded with a six-play, 67-yard drive.

Quarterback Christian McCaffrey had a 9-yard rush less than four minutes later. The Ravens responded with a 20-0 run. Tucker made a 28-yard field goal late in the first half for the first points. Jackson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nelson Agholor at Ravensand#039; first drive of the third quarter. Purdy was intercepted for the fourth time on the first possession of the game by Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen.

Jackson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Zay Flowers on the ensuing kickoff to give the Ravens a 30–12 lead. The Ravens defense then forced a 49ers punt. About seven minutes later, Tucker took a 24-yard field goal. Purdy left the game in the fourth quarter with a puncture wound. Sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold capped a 12-play, 90-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ronnie Bell with 6:19 left.

Purdy, who was also the MVP of the night, completed 18 of 32 passes for 255 yards to go along with four interceptions. Another MVP candidate, McCaffrey finished with 131 yards on 20 touches in the loss. Tight end George Kittle had seven catches for 126 yards. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk had 113 yards on six catches for the 49ers. Darnold was 8-of-14 passing for 81 yards, one score and an interception.

Linebacker Brent Urban had two sacks in the win. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy and wide receiver Jadeveon Clowney also recorded sacks for the Ravens. Safety Kyle Hamilton, who recorded two Ravensand#039; five interceptions, left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. andquot;We also don’t take anything away from them on defense, offense or special teams,andquot; Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said. andquot;That’s what I really like – just being the underdog.

I don’t want people to look at us like we have to go in and do this and that. and#039; andquot;I like to play the underdog and I feel we have more success that way.andquot; The Ravens host the Miami Dolphins (11-4) in Baltimore on Sunday at 1:00 PM EST. The 49ers will battle the Washington Commanders (4-11) in Landover, Md., on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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