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Ravens vs. Raiders final recap: Defense comes alive in Baltimore

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In the thick of the playoff hunt at 5-5, the Baltimore Ravens hosted the 2-8 Oakland Raiders for Lamar Jackson’s second NFL start.

Baltimore won the toss, choosing to defer. Despite starting at their own 19-yard line, Oakland was able to drive down the field for an 81-yard scoring drive to open the game. Running back Doug Martin scored the touchdown. It was originally ruled a fumble recovered by C.J. Mosley. However, upon further review, Martin broke the plane before losing the football. The Raiders led 7-0 to start the day.

The Ravens answered back with a 47-yard field goal. Following punts from both teams, Baltimore took it’s first lead of the day when Cyrus Jones returned a punt for a 70-yard touchdown, making the score 10-7.

The Ravens extended their lead on their next possession with a 28-yard field goal after Jackson hit tight end Mark Andrews wide open for a 74-yard gain.

On Baltimore’s next possession, Jackson threw his first interception of the game. Jackson’s pass was intended for wide receiver John Brown but the ball was tipped twice before being hauled in by safety Reggie Nelson. The Raiders converted a field goal off of the turnover, making the score 13-10.

Unfortunately for Jackson, he would throw another interception on the following drive. After driving down the field, Jackson’s pass to Michael Crabtree in the end zone was tipped and intercepted by safety Marcus Gilchrist. The Ravens entered halftime with a three-point lead.

Jackson responded well to start the second half, leading the offense on a 75-yard scoring drive. Jackson ran the ball in for the five-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 20-10.

Oakland wasn’t down for long, however. Quarterback Derek Carr led a touchdown drive of his own to cut the lead back down to three. Tight end Jared Cook was wide open for the 16-yard touchdown catch.

Jackson answered back with yet another touchdown drive of his own. The drive ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree.

After three-and-outs from each offense, Baltimore finally forced a turnover on defense after failing to do so for several games. Matthew Judon stripped the ball from Carr, which was recovered by Terrell Suggs and returned it for a 43-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 34-17.

Judon was not finished for the day, notching two more sacks on the following two plays. The Ravens were able to milk the clock on offense afterwards, including a 39-yard run by Jackson.

Jackson finished the day with 14/25 for 178 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jackson also rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Running back Gus Edwards proved that last week was not a fluke as he rushed for 118 yards on 23 carries. Ty Montgomery rushed for 51 yards on eight carries as well.

With Joe Flacco potentially returning to practice this week, it remains unclear if Jackson will remain the starter after winning two games in a row. Baltimore improves to 6-5 and now travels to Atlanta to face the Falcons and keep their playoff hopes alive.