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Lamar Jackson Plays Like the MVP on MNF


No player in the NFL is dominating like Lamar Jackson, and no team is hotter than the Ravens.

Jackson was the star of Monday Night Football, showing the national audience what an MVP looks like. Los Angeles became Lamarville. There was no stopping Jackson, no stopping Baltimore's offense, and by early in the third quarter there was no doubt Baltimore would win its seventh straight game.

During a 45-6 wipeout victory over the Rams, the Ravens scored touchdowns on their first six drives of the game. Jackson finished with another stellar stat line – 15-for-20 for 169 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 139.4. He also rushed for 95 yards on eight carries, and he would have scored on a 29-yard run had he not tripped near the goal line.

Jackson didn't throw his first incompletion until the third quarter. This wasn't Jackson lighting up an NFL lightweight. This was Jackson dominating against a Rams team that has two of the game's best defensive players – tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Donald and Ramsey had no answers for Jackson. Neither did Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips, long considered one of the best in the business. Opponents, teammates, analysts and fans are running out of ways to describe what Jackson is doing. This was Jackson's second game this season with five touchdown passes, and over his last five games, he has thrown 13 touchdown passes with no interceptions.

Robert Griffin III took over in the fourth quarter, as there was no need to see anything more from Jackson. Anyone who isn't convinced Jackson is the MVP frontrunner after this game probably can't be convinced. But with the Hollywood sign glistening in the background along the Los Angeles skyline, Jackson stole the show.

Once again, fans were chanting "MVP, MVP,'' as Jackson left the field. He hears the noise surrounding him that will only get louder. But Jackson remains unfazed, keeping his focus on what he wants most.

"It's OK, but I'm trying to win the Super Bowl," Jackson said of the MVP chants. "I'm not worried about the MVP. If it comes, it comes, I'll be satisfied. But I'm trying to win the Super Bowl. I'm chasing that."

Jackson seems to take his game to another level almost every week. People knew Jackson was a gifted runner when he entered the NFL, but his proficiency as a pocket passer is making him almost impossible to contain. On his first touchdown pass Monday night, he patiently waited for Marquise Brown to come open across the middle, then made the short toss for a six-yard touchdown.

On his second touchdown pass, Jackson went to Brown again for an 18-yard score, but this time he drilled a pass through a tight window between a safety and a cornerback.

It went on and on throughout the game, Jackson throwing passes with touch, passes with velocity, making the right reads, rarely making mistakes. Jackson's physical gifts are obvious, and he is showing the poise to patiently pick defenses apart. The way Jackson led the Ravens downfield on their last touchdown drive of the first half was a textbook example of running the two-minute drill. Jackson looks as if he has been playing in the NFL for at least a half-dozen years, but he is only 22 years old.

"He's a great football player and he makes great plays," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "The thing I'm really so impressed with is his decision-making, the way he handles the offense and the choices he makes in critical situations. Take the end of the half, the way he worked the clock, worked the ball downfield, left no time for the Rams at the end. That's just operating at the highest level you can operate at as a quarterback."

Jackson credited the coaching staff for preparing him in film study and praised his teammates for giving him the work in practice that challenges him. It almost seemed that any play Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman called would work. Running back Mark Ingram II pounded the Rams for 111 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, and Willie Snead IV had a pair of touchdown catches.

"We watched a lot of film all week," Jackson said. "They were trying to disguise coverages. G-Ro called great plays against great coverages and our guys did a great job of getting open.

"We're clicking on all cylinders. It starts in practice. Our defense is flying around, our scout team does a great job."

The centerpiece of everything is Jackson. Brown was asked what it feels like playing with Jackson, when he has the ball in the red zone and the Ravens' offense is rolling.

"Very dangerous," Brown said. "You don't know what to defend. He can do so much."

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