There was a clear winner in the much-anticipated Lamar Jackson vs. Patrick Mahomes MVP showdown on "Monday Night Football," and it wasn't Jackson.
Jackson fell to Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for a third time in his young career with a 34-20 defeat at M&T Bank Stadium.
Jackson is 21-1 against everybody else and 0-3 against Mahomes and the Chiefs. Everyone knows that if the Ravens are going to reach their Super Bowl aspirations, they're going to have to beat Kansas City, and they haven't done it yet.
The first question Jackson got in his post-game presser was about losing to the Chiefs for a third time.
"Our kryptonite," Jackson said before the question was finished.
What bothers Jackson most about Monday's loss probably isn't that he lost the media battle in his head-to-head matchup with Mahomes, who he called "outstanding."
Mahomes was on a different level. He threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns – one underhand, one perfectly lofted 20-yard pass under pressure, one 49-yard bomb, and another to an offensive lineman. A quarterback honestly couldn't play much better than Mahomes did Monday night.
Losing to Mahomes probably isn't what bothers Jackson most though. It's that he lost the battle with the Chiefs defense too. It wasn't a high-scoring shootout between two of the NFL's most exciting quarterbacks. It was a blowout that was worse than even the scoreboard showed.
Jackson threw for a career-low 97 passing yards and rarely even tested the Chiefs down the field. He completed just 15 of 27 passes and fumbled twice. He had few words for the performance.
"We just weren't on point tonight," Jackson said. "Low safeties. It looked like the same thing Tennessee did to me, to be honest."
Jackson was referring to the Ravens' stunning divisional playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans last season, which kept them from an AFC championship matchup with the Chiefs. That Titans game had a similar feel with the Ravens coming out very sluggish offensively before getting a little momentum late.
The Ravens found a modicum of momentum Monday night – enough to make it a one-score game at the start of the fourth quarter – but it wasn't nearly enough. The Ravens are now 0-5 with Jackson as the starter when they trail by double digits at any any point, which will make another negative narrative linger.
The Ravens offense reached the end zone just once, and it didn't come until the fourth quarter. Jackson's targets didn't help, as they dropped five passes on the night, including multiple by tight end Mark Andrews.
Baltimore came out of the gates running. Jackson threw just once on an 11-play drive to open the game that featured him blitzing the Chiefs defense with a 30-yard run. The Ravens had to settle for a field goal, however.
After that, Baltimore ran just three more times in the first half. Despite all the passing attempts, Jackson had just 35 passing yards at halftime. Through three quarters, he had just 57.
Following an offseason of saying the deep passing game was his focus, Jackson didn't test the Chiefs down the field much all game. Jackson had a shot at a long touchdown on the Ravens' first drive of the second half, but he overthrew Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. Then a potential long touchdown throw went off Andrews' outstretched hands.
Asked why Jackson didn't do much in the downfield passing game, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he'll have to look at the tape to figure that out.
"When we meet tomorrow and Wednesday, we'll keep getting better. We'll talk with our offensive coordinator, our offensive unit, and we'll go from there," Jackson said.
"We always start cranking up at the wrong time. We always go opposite. We've got to come in and finish how we start. We've got to turn up and play better."