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What we learned from Ravens' victory over Rams

Paced by Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram, the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) ran over the lost Los Angeles Rams (6-5) in a 45-6 trouncing on "Monday Night Football" in Week 12. Here's what we learned from Baltimore's big win:

  1. Lamar Jackson is untouchable. The marvelous Ravens renegade ramshackled Los Angeles' defense (ranked fifth in stopping the run entering Week 12) from the opening snap on Monday night. Led by Jackson and a shot-out-of-a-cannon ground game paced by a mauling Mark Ingram (111 yards), Baltimore opened the proceedings with six straight runs down the throat of Aaron Donald's Rams and never let up. The Ravens broke off six touchdown drives on their first six possessions against L.A., becoming the first team to do so since the 2008 Saints. Five of the touchdowns came via Jackson's arm, the five scores accounting for one-third of his 15 completions; by the time he threw his last TD of the night, Jackson had tossed nine TDs in his last 44 attempts. Lamar finished Monday night with 169 passing yards, 95 rushing yards and (likely) zero detractors.

The second-year thrower's first "Monday Night Football" game was as dominant a showing as any an offensive player has enjoyed this season, even more so than Jackson in earlier weeks against inferior competition in Miami and Cincinnati, when the QB logged perfect 158.3 passer ratings. So in control was Jackson on Monday night that the Ravens were 8-of-10 on third down under his stewardship and following both misses, Jackson converted on fourth down, once with his legs and once with his arm. On the latter, the QB had to lobby Ravens coach John Harbaugh to go for it despite Baltimore already being up 29 points. Baltimore's skipper acquiesced and was proven right for doing so. Jackson's spirit is embodied in his team: quick, decisive, daring and utterly unique. The Ravens, and damn near anyone who watches their games, are better for it.

  1. Lost in the aftermath of Baltimore's blowout will be the play of the QB's supporting cast on offense. Ingram (2 TDs) set the tone with powerful pickups early on, spelled by a thunderous Gus Edwards (55 yards) and lightning-quick Justice Hill (27 yards) on occasion and eventually when the game got out of hand. Jackson's designed runs tore up a Rams front that couldn't play sideline-to-sideline with the speedy ball-carrier, but credit should be given to his road-grading offensive line, which overcame the loss of starting center Matt Skura to a knee sprain. Sans its veteran snapper, Baltimore racked up a season-high 285 rushing yards (its sixth 200-yard rushing games) and 31 first downs (tied for a season-high). The Ravens' grueling ground game sprung an aerial attack that found holes in Los Angeles' zone coverage. Hollywood Brown made himself at home in Los Angeles, locating space in the Rams' secondary for two touchdowns, and Seth Roberts (39 yards) and Willie Snead (2 TDs) were similarly schemed open. Jackson marveled after the game that Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman was "in his bag" on Monday night. The same could be said for the entire Ravens offense.
  1. The Rams wore their all-yellow color-rush uniforms on Monday evening, the same ones they donned for last season's 54-51 shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs. This time around, the mustard kits did not inspire such explosive play and instead were more emblematic of an offense slowing down at a yellow light after speeding undeterred for two-plus seasons. Just last year the darling of NFL's offenses, Sean McVay's attack couldn't keep up with Roman's on the other sideline. Jared Goff (212 yards, two second-half INTs) mused postgame that "the game got away from us." That's an understatement. Los Angeles went three-and-out on its first two drives, and despite their best efforts to establish the run with Todd Gurley (six carries, 22 yards) and run hurry-up, the Rams quickly fell into a two-score hole, and then a three-score hole, and so on and so forth. Whereas Baltimore was 6-of-7 in the red zone, Los Angeles was 0-for-2, kicking two field goals in the first half when the Ravens were hitting pay dirt. The aesthetic difference between Baltimore and L.A. could not be any more stark, too. The Ravens play confident ball at 1.5x speed, led by an assured, mobile quarterback; the Rams run a slow-developing, chopped-and-screwed attack guided by a perma-rattled signal-caller. Baltimore's play is effortless. The Rams labor to pick up yards, and their labor is fruitless.
  1. Marcus Peters' impact on both the Ravens and Rams was felt in his return in Los Angeles on Monday. Traded from the Rams to the Ravens on Oct. 15, Peters has been a pick-six prince in the Charm City and the lynchpin to a Ravens defensive turnaround. Meanwhile, the Rams have made do without the corner, replacing him with Jalen Ramsey in a separate trade. Ramsey's presence in L.A.'s secondary was not enough to silence Baltimore and the All-Pro corner didn't make much noise on the stat sheet (six tackles, pass defensed). Peters, on the other hand, was heard loud and clear during and after the game. The Ravens corner picked off Goff in the fourth quarter as the Rams were mounting a futile scoring drive and was joined by his new teammates in the Coliseum end zone for a group photo. After the fourth quarter concluded, one that featured multiple sideline shots of Peters celebrating his victory, Ramsey and Peters reportedly exchanged many a profane word on both of their ways up the Coliseum tunnel into their respective locker rooms, with Peters reportedly bragging about "kicking the Rams' ass out of the playoffs," per ESPN. That's how you walk-off a revenge game.
  1. Speaking of the playoffs, the Rams don't look destined for January football, and it's fair to wonder whether they've already reached the peak of the Sean McVay era. At 6-5, Los Angeles is two games back of the Vikings (8-3) in the wild card and four games back of the 49ers (10-1) in the division. After being blown out by a Super Bowl contender in Baltimore, the Rams should not be expected to keep pace down the stretch, with games against San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas and sneaky Arizona (twice!) still ahead. Los Angeles is just the latest side to suffer a Super Bowl hangover. This one could last a while.
  1. Aaron Donald had one tackle and just three total pressures against Baltimore, and this sentence was probably the first time you heard or read his name all night.
  1. Baltimore is on pace for a first-round bye and to be the greatest running team in the sport's history, but it will face arguably its toughest test next week. The Ravens have five days to prepare for the surging 49ers, who like Baltimore handled a McVay-ish aspiring contender this week when they throttled Matt LaFleur's Packers on Sunday night. The matchup between Baltimore's multi-dimensional offense and San Francisco's uber-athletic defense, led by a deep front seven, will be one of this season's most anticipated and a potential Super Bowl preview.
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