QB Lamar Jackson dazzles again, defense makes big plays late to lead Ravens over Patriots, 37-26

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			QB Lamar Jackson dazzles again, defense makes big plays late to lead Ravens over Patriots, 37-26
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Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for four touchdowns and ran for the decisive score late in a wild 37-26 road win Sunday over the New England Patriots.

Jackson’s 9-yard run on third-and-1 late in the fourth quarter punctuated his dazzling day and handed the Ravens a commanding lead on a topsy-turvy, injury-filled afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Cornerback Marcus Peters’ interception on the Patriots’ subsequent drive was the Ravens’ fourth takeaway of the game, all coming in the second half.

Jackson finished 18-for-29 for 218 yards, four touchdowns and an interception and added 11 carries for 107 yards, including the late score. He’s the third player in NFL history to record four touchdown passes and 100 yards rushing in a single game, joining Cam Newton and Randall Cunningham, according to ESPN Stats and Info. All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews caught eight of his 13 targets for 89 yards and two first-half touchdowns, moving past Torrey Smith for the second most touchdown receptions in team history with 32.

One week after a fourth-quarter collapse in a home loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens (2-1) overcame another spotty day on defense. Quarterback Mac Jones finished 22-for-32 for 321 yards, an impressive day undone by his three costly interceptions. The Ravens also allowed 28 carries for 145 yards (5.2 per carry) and three touchdowns.

The Ravens took a 28-20 lead in the third quarter on back-to-back touchdown catches by tight end Josh Oliver, the first of his career, and wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who toe-tapped for a 4-yard score in the back of the end zone. After an interception by inside linebacker Josh Bynes, kicker Justin Tucker hit a 56-yard field goal — the 50th from at least 50 yards in his career — to extend the Ravens’ lead to 11.

Then the game swung in the Patriots’ favor. New England (1-2) got within single digits on a 1-yard touchdown run, their 75-yard drive helped by an improbable fourth-and-1 scramble by Jones that led to an 8-yard completion to tight end Jonnu Smith. Their 2-point-conversion attempt was ruled no good after an overturned call on another improvised pitch.

After a fumble by wide receiver Rashod Bateman (two catches for 59 yards), the Patriots started knocking on the door again. But on third-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Jones threw his second straight questionable interception, a jump ball to the corner of the end zone that cornerback Marlon Humphrey brought in like a punt return. The pick preserved the Ravens’ 31-26 lead.

Another crucial turnover helped turn back the Patriots. Safety Kyle Hamilton’s chase-down strip midway through the fourth quarter jarred the ball loose from wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a long catch-and-run, and cornerback Marcus Peters, somewhat improbably, recovered the ball before he or the ball were out of bounds.

A resurgent running game carried the Ravens for stretches Sunday. In addition to Jackson’s efforts, running backs Justice Hill and J.K. Dobbins, in his first game since January 2021, combined for 13 carries for 83 yards.

The Ravens’ pass defense, however, even with the return of Brandon Stephens and the improved health of fellow cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, struggled mightily for the second straight week. With leading Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers sidelined by a knee injury, DeVante Parker stepped up. In his first two games, Parker had one catch for 9 yards. On Sunday, he had five catches for 156 yards. Each reception was for 20 yards or more.

The Ravens’ first half was full of fits, starts and injury breaks. On their first and third drives, they went three-and-out. On their fourth drive, Jackson threw an interception into double coverage. On their second and fifth drives, though, they rolled through the Patriots’ defense like it was nothing.

Andrews ended both marches in the end zone. He took a shovel pass on third-and-1 for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead. On his second score, Andrews outjumped safety Devin McCourty for a 16-yard touchdown to help the Ravens retake a 14-10 lead.

Injuries mounted for the Ravens in the first half at hard-hit positions. In the first quarter, emergency left tackle Patrick Mekari — starting because first-stringer Ronnie Stanley (ankle) was again inactive and backup Ja’Wuan James (Achilles tendon) landed on season-ending injured reserve after Week 1 — exited the game with an ankle injury.

That left rookie tackle Daniel Faalele, who didn’t play a single snap at left tackle over his college career at Minnesota, to contend with the noise inside Gillette Stadium and the speed crashing down Jackson’s blind side. Faalele allowed two sacks in the first half. On the right side, Morgan Moses had two false-start penalties.

Early in the second quarter, the Ravens announced that outside linebacker Justin Houston had left the game with a groin injury. Houston was one of two outside linebackers on the Ravens’ 53-man roster, along with Odafe Oweh. Brandon Copeland (Gilman) had been promoted from the practice squad.

On the Patriots’ go-ahead touchdown drive midway through the second quarter, defensive tackle Michael Pierce left with an arm injury. He was carted off just minutes before Jones scrambled for a 3-yard touchdown, the first rushing score of his career giving New England a 10-7 lead.

Mekari, Pierce and Houston did not return.

This story will be updated.

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