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John Harbaugh has traditionally had trouble figuring out how to beat the Cincinnati Bengals. But not this past Sunday…
Lamar Jackson threw for three touchdowns in a near-perfect performance and pulled off a sensational 47-yard touchdown run as Baltimore routed the NFL’s only winless team 49-13 on Sunday.
“I think that was the craziest thing I’ve witnessed on the field with somebody,” running back Mark Ingram said. “He just spun and took off and let me just escort him. That’s Lamar. That’s special.” [Lamar spied a Bengals linebacker closing in and did a 360-degree Barry Sanders-type spin. Nick Vigil was so flummoxed that he fell to the ground helplessly while the Ravens quarterback continued to the end zone.]
The Ravens (7-2) followed their eye-opening victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots by quickly pulling away from the NFL’s last winless team, with Jackson leading the way.
It was quite a show right from the start.
Jackson completed a 49-yard pass on his first play and had only one incompletion — on a spike — as Baltimore took control in the first half. He finished 15 of 17 — a club-record completion percentage — for 223 yards and a perfect passer rating of 158.3, his second of the season. Jackson threw five TD passes and had a perfect rating during a 59-10 opening win over the Dolphins.
“It’s a great day for him, a great day for everybody,” coach John Harbaugh said.
The signature moment came in the third quarter.
Jackson ran left, deked safety Jessie Bates III, then saw Vigil taking an angle toward him. He pulled off the 360-degree spin move and kept going for a 47-yard score, the latest addition to an already bulging video file of did-you-see-that runs.
“He surprises you,” Ravens coach Harbaugh said. “They’ll be watching that run for decades and decades. That’s one everybody in the country’s going to see by tomorrow afternoon. That was something. That’s rare.”
The Ravens sideline erupted when Jackson reached the end zone.
“Their quarterback is the most dynamic quarterback I’ve ever seen,” said Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who now has lost twice to him. “I’ll be interested down the road to see how other teams try to stop him.”
Nobody has figured it out this season. The AFC North leaders have won five in a row for the first time since 2013, with Jackson leading the way with his passing as well as his running.
“I’m trying to pinpoint everything,” Jackson said.
The Bengals (0-9) switched quarterbacks but couldn’t avoid their first sweep by the Ravens since 2011. Ryan Finley made his NFL debut and had a hand in the blowout.
Marcus Peters read the rookie’s eyes and stepped in front of a sideline pass, returning the interception 89 yards for a touchdown. Peters is the first since William Gay in 2014 to have three pick-6 plays in a season. Bowser returned Finley’s fumble 33 yards for another score.
Finley finished 16 of 30 for 167 yards with a touchdown , one interception and two sacks. The Bengals benched Andy Dalton during their bye and turned to the fourth-round pick, seeing if he fit in their long-term plans as Cincinnati already begins looking to next year.
The Bengals dropped their 11th in a row from the end of last season, tying the longest two-season losing streak in club history. They’re one loss away from matching the worst start in club history.
“There’s a ton to work on,” Finley said.
The Ravens had three Heisman Trophy winners in the backfield for an option play in the second quarter. Jackson (2016 winner) pitched it to Robert Griffin III (2011) for a 12-yard gain. “That’s the Heisman Package,” said running back Mark Ingram, the 2009 winner. “Lamar can give me the ball or he can pull it and option with (Griffin).”
INJURIES: Ravens: DT Michael Pierce left with an ankle injury. X-rays were negative.
|Passing 1st downs||13||9|
|Rushing 1st downs||7||11|
|1st downs from penalties||0||1|
|3rd down efficiency||4-6||7-15|
|4th down efficiency||1-1||1-4|
|Yards per Play||8.2||4.3|
|Yards per pass||10.6||4.7|
|Yards per rush||5.9||3.9|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||3-3||1-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||2||0|