KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs finally tracked down Lamar Jackson when it mattered most.
After watching the elusive Ravens quarterback scoot all over the field Sunday, Justin Houston and Dee Ford combined on an overtime sack that left Jackson holding his ankle. He then had to watch from the sideline as Robert Griffin III threw two incompletions and Kansas City escaped with a 27-24 victory Sunday.
Jackson had X-rays on his ankle afterward that came back negative, and he did his best to brush off the injury, likely knowing full-well that Joe Flacco appears ready to return from his own injury.
"They just wanted to see what happened," Jackson said with a shrug, "but I'm good."
He was excellent most of the way.
In a matchup of school-yard gunslingers, Jackson threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns without an interception while adding 71 yards on the ground. His counterpart, Patrick Mahomes, threw for 377 yards and two scores with an interception while leading the Chiefs to the tying touchdown with 53 seconds left.
The Chiefs won the toss and got the ball first in overtime, and Mahomes kept finding Tyreek Hill for big chunks of yards. They marched into the red zone before Baltimore's top-ranked defence stiffened, and Harrison Butker kicked a 36-yard field goal to give Kansas City the lead.
The Ravens looked as if they'd answer — if not one-up the Chiefs with a touchdown — when they got their chance with the ball. Jackson connected with Willie Snead IV to pick up one first down, and his run and another by Kenneth Dixon gave the Ravens another first-down in Chiefs territory.
The drive began to unravel after Ronnie Stanley was called for holding, though. The ground-oriented Ravens were forced to go to the air, and the Chiefs — who led the NFL in sacks coming into the game — were able to send their best pass-rushing unit onto the field for the second-down play.
Houston and Ford met Jackson at the same time, sending him crumpling to the turf.
"That offence is a problem. (Jackson) is a great athlete," Ford said, "but he knows how to execute the offence. We really had to be on one page as a defence. If you don't, they're going to gash you."
The Ravens finished with 198 yards rushing, just two yards shy of their fourth straight 200-yard game. All of them have come with Jackson under centre, a byproduct of coach John Harbaugh reinventing the offence to better suit the elusive style of his former Heisman Trophy winner.
"I was just trying to manage the game," Jackson said. "We knew we had to keep (Mahomes) off the field. We had to pound the ball, throw the ball around the field. We just had to do our job."
It wasn't enough to extend the Ravens' three-game win streak. And while linebacker Terrell Suggs said there are no moral victories, Jackson seemed emboldened by the way his team performed.
"We're a strong team. We can fight with anybody," he said. "I know a lot of people doubted us to lose this game, but it was now how they thought it was going to be. We just have to get better next week."
Now, the question is whether Jackson will have that chance next week.
Harbaugh said Flacco was medically cleared to play on Friday from the hip injury that has kept him out, but he wasn't prepared enough to face the Chiefs. Another week of practice could have the Super Bowl-winning quarterback ready to play when Baltimore returns home to face Tampa Bay.
They could need him if Jackson's ankle is sore, though he tried to dismiss any such concern.
"They were concerned. They just wanted to check and see if anything was broken, anything like that. I'm good," he said. "We've got to regroup next week and get ready for our next game."
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