Jackson's perfect passer rating helps Ravens rout Dolphins, clinch top seed in AFC
There's no mathematical way to tell if the star quarterback wrapped up the MVP award, too, but his fans made their views on the topic clear.
Serenaded throughout by “MVP!” chants, Jackson threw for 321 yards and five touchdowns as the Ravens eviscerated the Miami Dolphins 56-19 on Sunday. Baltimore won its first AFC North title since 2019, when Jackson was named MVP. He might be closing in on that honor again.
“He played a perfect football game in terms of the passing game," coach John Harbaugh said.
The stat sheet agreed. Jackson went 18 of 21 without an interception. He finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
Jackson missed the end of the past two Baltimore seasons because of injuries. Now the Ravens can rest him voluntarily next week if they want, although Harbaugh was noncommittal on that.
Baltimore (13-3) has won six straight, and the Ravens rolled through a grueling December stretch that included games against the Rams, Jaguars, 49ers and Dolphins.
“I don't know if I've seen a more impressive performance in a game. I'm not sure I've seen a more impressive performance in a season to date," said Harbaugh, whose team will have a first-round bye before hosting its postseason opener. "Obviously we have a lot more to do. We've got a lot of work to do in front of us, but this is a mature football team.”
Miami (11-5) is also postseason bound, but now the winner of next weekend's Dolphins-Bills game will take the AFC East. Miami was without two offensive stars in receiver Jaylen Waddle (ankle) and running back Raheem Mostert (knee, ankle).
And now the Dolphins face another potentially significant injury. Linebacker Bradley Chubb — with his team down 30 points — had to be carted off with 3:05 remaining after hurting his knee.
That raised obvious questions about why Chubb was still in the game.
“There’s times like this one where I would like a time machine for sure,” Miami coach Mike McDaniel said.
Jackson had more touchdown passes than incompletions. That's a feat Miami's Tua Tagovailoa also accomplished in a 70-20 win over Denver in Week 3.
Jackson also had a perfect passer rating against Miami in 2019. He joins Tom Brady (against Detroit) as the only quarterbacks with two perfect ratings against the same team, with a minimum of 20 attempts.
“I love the guy,” Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen said. “He proved everything he had to prove. If anybody else saying otherwise, they just don't like Lamar. That's what it is. They don't like us, they don't like Baltimore, they don't like Lamar.”
This matchup featured Miami's top-ranked scoring offense and Baltimore's top-ranked scoring defense. In the early going, the Dolphins had the upper hand. They scored on the game's first drive when Tagovailoa threw an 8-yard pass to Cedrick Wilson Jr. Jackson answered with a 20-yard scoring strike to Justice Hill.
Miami would have had another touchdown on its second drive, but Tyreek Hill bobbled the ball in the end zone and the Dolphins kicked a field goal.
The Ravens took the lead for good in the second quarter when Gus Edwards capped an 89-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run. After another Miami field goal, Jackson immediately found Zay Flowers open deep for a 75-yard touchdown that made it 21-13.
Justice Hill returned the second-half kickoff 78 yards, setting up Jackson's 7-yard TD toss to Likely that made it 35-13.
Miami trailed 35-14 with under 13 minutes remaining last season before rallying to a 42-38 win over the Ravens. The Dolphins started the fourth quarter with a touchdown this time, a 1-yard pass from Tagovailoa to De'Von Achane, but it was Baltimore that closed strong.
“Last year, the score was looking like that at halftime and third quarter. Then those guys started making plays and we didn't do anything," Jackson said. “The only thing that was on my mind was to finish the game, and today we did it.”
The Ravens marched right back down the field and scored on Jackson's 4-yard pass to Patrick Ricard to go up 42-19. Melvin Gordon III added a 7-yard touchdown run, and a Miami fumble led to a another TD. Tyler Huntley threw a scoring pass to Charlie Kolar on third-and-goal from the 19.
(That was Huntley's only pass attempt. He also finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating.)
“We’ll look at the film tomorrow, see what we can do better and move on to the Bills,” Tagovailoa said. “Everything is still in front of us for what we want to accomplish as a team.”
STREAKS AND MILESTONES
The Ravens rushed for at least 100 yards for a 32nd consecutive game and had a sack for a 37th straight. ... Jackson reached 800 yards rushing on the season, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to do that three times. ... This was the second-highest scoring total in franchise history for the Ravens, behind only their 59-10 win at Miami in that 2019 romp. ... Tyreek Hill surpassed 10,000 yards receiving for his career.
The teams weren't at full strength at the start, and the injuries continued throughout the game. Miami lost CB Xavien Howard (foot). Baltimore CB Marlon Humphrey (calf) went down as well. Ravens NT Michael Pierce and S Daryl Worley were both evaluated for head injuries.
Dolphins: Host Buffalo next weekend.
Ravens: Host Pittsburgh next weekend.
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