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Ravens News 12/9: MVP Form and more

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Dallas Cowboys v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

QB Lamar Jackson flashes MVP form in return to keep Baltimore Ravens in playoff hunt - Jamison Hensley

Two days after coming off the reserve/COVID-19 list, Jackson resembled one of the most dangerous players in the league again, running for a 37-yard score and throwing two touchdowns as the Ravens beat the last-place Dallas Cowboys 34-17 on Tuesday night.

The Ravens eclipsed 30 points for the first time since Oct. 18. It came against a Dallas defense that had allowed an NFL-worst 32.6 points entering Tuesday.

In what has been an up-and-down season, Jackson found his stride against the NFL’s 23rd-ranked defense, rushing for 94 yards and completing 12 of 17 passes for 107 yards (101.8 passer rating).

Jackson squashed any concerns about his condition in the first quarter, when he ran for his fourth career touchdown run of at least 30 yards. That tied him with Kordell Stewart for the most by a quarterback since 1950.

What we learned from Ravens’ win over Cowboys on Tuesday - Grant Gordon

Baltimore Ravens 34, Dallas Cowboys 17

Jackson often looked to be the fastest guy on the field as he galloped past flat-footed Cowboys. On the evening, he had three touchdowns, two through the air along with 107 yards on 12-of-17 passing and the aforementioned one on the ground that went with 94 yards on 13 carries. He was dazzling for much of the game and was the catalyst for a Ravens rushing attack that rolled over the Cowboys. Though Jackson has hardly looked like his 2019 MVP self in 2020, he flashed that form on a terrific Tuesday. This was a big game for Baltimore and Jackson stepped up and led his Ravens (7-5) to victory.

Ahead of Week 13, the Ravens were the only NFL team with four players who had rushed for 200-plus yards so far this season. It looked as if they all might rush for 200 yards in the first half. Instead, Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram combined for a whopping 161 rushing yards in the opening 30 minutes, averaging an eye-popping 10.1 yards per carry. In the first half alone, Baltimore extended its streak of games with 100-plus rushing yards to 35, a streak matched by only two other teams in league history, per NFL Research. After battering the Cowboys for four quarters, the Ravens had 294 yards and two touchdowns on the ground with a look-twice yards-per-carry average of 7.9 yards. Edwards had a game-high 101 yards on only seven carries, while Dobbins had a touchdown and 71 yards on 11 carries.

Cowboys at Ravens score: Lamar Jackson leads charge as Baltimore grinds Dallas to dust with run game - Patrik Walker

It was still a battle going into the second half, but a second Zuerlein miss set up Jackson to drive down the field and throw an absolute dime to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to make it a two-touchdown lead, and the Ravens never looked back. In all, Zuerlein left nine points on the field with three missed field goals and the Ravens offense pounded the Cowboys to dust with 294 combined rushing yards, falling just six yards shy of having two 100-yard rushers on the evening. At one point, Jackson was seen laughing at the Dallas defense, which tells you all you need to know about how this supposed fight went.

The final score was much closer than the game itself truly was, as the Ravens got softer in coverage with a big lead before finally nailing the coffin closed. The complete post-game breakdown is on the way.

The Breakdown: Five Thoughts on Win Over Cowboys - John Eisenberg

The return of Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell didn’t quite turn the Ravens’ rushing defense into a shutdown unit, as the Cowboys gained 111 yards on the ground and averaged 4.0 yards per attempt. But Williams and Campbell deserve kudos for playing even though their injuries still bothered them. And although other defensive starters had bigger performances (Derek Wolfe had nine combined tackles and DeShon Elliott had seven unassisted tackles) Williams had a hand in the game’s decisive play. The Ravens trailed, 10-7, and the Cowboys had the ball with a chance to grow the lead. But Williams leapt and deflected an Andy Dalton pass, and as the ball wobbled, linebacker Patrick Queen swooped in and grabbed the interception. The Ravens then immediately turned the break into points as Jackson hit Boykin for a touchdown. They never trailed again. “You can’t put a price on momentum-changers like that,” Wolfe said of Williams’ deflection.

It was shocking to see Justin Tucker miss a 36-yard field goal attempt, as he’d hit 70 straight from inside 40 yards. But after watching the Cowboys’ Greg Zuerlein also miss three attempts, it seemed pretty clear that the swirling winds were a beast

Some analysts expected the Ravens’ pass rush to overwhelm the Cowboys’ makeshift offensive line, but Baltimore only registered one sack on 49 Dalton dropbacks

NFL Week 13 PFF ReFocused: Baltimore Ravens 34, Dallas Cowboys 17 - Austin Gayle

STORY OF THE GAME

Three of the Ravens’ offensive linemen and fullback Patrick Ricard earned grades above 70.0 on PFF’s first grading review of the game. Taking advantage of wide-open rushing lanes, Gus Edwards averaged 14.4 yards per carry on his seven attempts en route to 101 rushing yards. J.K. Dobbins and Jackson combined for 165 yards and the game’s two rushing touchdowns across their 24 carries (6.9 yards per carry).

Jackson had an up-and-down day throwing the football, but he did pull off one of his best throws of the season on a 20-yard strike to second-year wideout Marquise Brownfor a score. Jackson scrambled left and threw a perfectly placed ball to Brown in the back left corner of the end zone in the third quarter to give the Ravens a then 24-10 lead.

ROOKIE WATCH

Defensively, Ravens first-round linebacker Patrick Queen finished PFF’s first review of the game with a 70.0-plus grade. He caught an interception off a tipped pass and made multiple defensive stops in the game.