On Sunday (Oct. 22), the Detroit Lions faced off against the Baltimore Ravens in what turned out to be a lopsided game. Going in, the Lions had a strong defense, ranking among the top 10 in the league. They were particularly skilled at stopping the opposing team’s rushing game, not allowing any player to accumulate more than 100 rushing yards throughout the entire season. However, the Baltimore team quickly surpassed this impressive record, achieving it within just two quarters of play. By halftime, they had already established a commanding lead of 28-0, leaving the Lions shocked. The second half saw Baltimore further distancing themselves from the Lions, ultimately securing a resounding 38-6 victory at M&T Bank Stadium.

“They kicked our ass,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. “It’s a credit to them. Lamar (Jackson) beat us. He hammered us with his arm. He threw the ball extremely well. He ran when he needed to, and we did not handle it well.”

Jackson opened the game with an impressive display, scoring three consecutive touchdowns against Detroit. One particular play stood out, as he skillfully evaded linebacker Jack Campbell’s containment on the edge during a fourth-down scramble. Following this, Jackson continued his success by delivering back-to-back touchdown passes to Nelson Algholor and Mark Andrews. Overall, he completed 21 of 27 passes, accumulating a total of 357 yards, which stands as the second-best performance of his career.

His passer rating was an impressive 155.8, almost reaching perfection, making it the third-best performance of his career. This outstanding achievement occurred against a Lions defense that was considered one of the strongest in the league. Now, the question arises: what exactly happened?

Pressure clearly wasn’t effective, especially on third down. Throughout the game, Detroit only sent four rushers, hoping to cover all the receivers and tight ends on the field. However, their rush wasn’t successful in reaching Jackson, as they only managed to hit him once and never sacked him. This gave Jackson the opportunity to analyze the secondary and exploit its weaknesses. Occasionally, when Jackson did face pressure, he skillfully utilized his incredible speed and athleticism to maneuver and create scoring opportunities.

“It’s hard, just because you got to be able to rush with four, just because of the personnel they have, the wide receivers, the tight end, even the running backs got involved in the passing game,” linebacker Alex Anzalone said after the game. “It’s just a difficult (assignment). Every team brings something different, every offense brings something different to our defense, and any time you have to account for the quarterback is hard.”

When the score began to heavily favor Jackson, mistakes started to pile up for Campbell’s team. Campbell attributed the errors to execution breakdowns rather than lack of talent or flawed strategy.

“You can say that every week, that we’ve got to be disciplined,” Campbell said. “But with this guy, you better double it up because Lamar is an issue. ‘I’m doing my job. I’m handling my job. He breaks contain. He starts going. Well, I’m going to, second, contain him, and I just left my guy.’ You know, because Lamar is out in the open, and then he just dumps (a pass) over. There’s these things that just show up.”

Campbell added, “Man, just do your job. Handle your responsibility. If we’re going to play man, that’s your man. Stay with your man. Don’t have bad eyes. Don’t have lazy eyes. Don’t look back there. You just cover your man. You know what, if Lamar runs in for a touchdown, then so be it. That’s not your responsibility. Then, as you get into that hole, what happens is, everybody starts pressing. ‘Man, I’ve got to make something happen.’ Then, you get out of what we talk about doing. We start getting outside of the scheme. You’re doing more than is asked of you. Because of that, it creates more problems.”

So, what did the Ravens think? Ravens head coach John Harbaugh commented on the win in the locker room following the game.

“Every time we have a win, my dad texts me and says, ‘That was your best win ever,'” Harbaugh said of Jackson and the win. “So, I would say that was his best game ever. But he played a great game. There’s just been so many great games. Lamar got the Lions’ spike along with all the guys making plays. It was wall to wall. It was wall to wall from the beginning to the end.”

He added, “Those plays are great plays, but they were executed well. It starts with the quarterback. Lamar in and out of the huddle executing the way that he did. How about the pass protection? The offensive line deserves a ton of credit. That was a really good pass rush team, a power-rushing team who wants to knock you back into the quarterback and cage rush the quarterback, and Lamar had plenty of time back there.”

By Cat Badra cat@alternativefix.com