BALTIMORE — With a vault and a jump pass, and all the confidence from his coach and teammates he could ask for, Lamar Jackson finally beat Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City.
Using his legs to rush for 107 yards and scoring twice, including flipping into the end zone for the winning score, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Chiefs 36-35 Sunday night.
Jackson was 0-3 against the Chiefs, and he needed all of his multiple skills to break through to hand Mahomes his first loss in September after 11 victories. The matchup of NFL MVPs — Mahomes in 2018, Jackson the next year — was a wild affair from the start.
And the Ravens needed a fumble by Clyde Edwards-Helaire as Kansas City was marching into field goal range to clinch it.
With Jackson leading the Ravens’ 251 yards rushing and throwing for 239 and a score, Baltimore ensured that all four AFC North teams would have 1-1 records. Kansas City, which allowed 481 yards and gained 405, also is 1-1 in the rugged AFC West.
Jackson had his ninth career 100-yard rushing game, tied with Michael Vick for most by a quarterback.
The dynamic Jackson twice got into the end zone to his right with dives — well, the last TD was more of a somersault.
“I landed on my butt,” he claimed, laughing.
Twice the Ravens misfired on 2-point conversions, but Jackson’s run for a first down on fourth-and-1 after Edwards-Helaire fumbled secured the victory.
“He (coach John Harbaugh) asked if we wanted to go for it,” Jackson said. “I said, `Hell yeah.’
“I said, `Man, I got to get this first down no matter what.”
Like a video game with no controller for defense, the teams moved up and down the field with little opposition. Most thrilling was Travis Kelce’s 46-yard slalom in which he avoided nearly the entire Baltimore defensive unit before falling into the end zone, exhausted.
But it was not enough because Mahomes finally threw an interception in September, to Tavon Young, which set up Jackson’s first touchdown run.
“We were strong and together and we kept that focus,” Jackson said, referring to the overtime loss at Las Vegas to open the season. “I know my team is going to look at me and I got to do it for my guys.”
The Chiefs broke a 14-14 tie with a precise drive late in the first half, sparked by a 20-yard screen pass to backup tight end Blake Bell. Darrel Williams ran it in from the 10 with 51 seconds to go.
That was enough time for Baltimore to reach field-goal range for Justin Tucker, who nailed a 43-yarder. The problem for the Ravens: Kansas City got the second-half kickoff.
Mahomes capped a quick 74-yard drive with a short pass to Byron Pringle, who eluded two tacklers for a 40-yard score and a 28-17 lead.
And the problem for the Chiefs was their defense, which was getting shredded — aside from Tyrann Mathieu’s interceptions — had to take the field. It completely lost Marquise Brown on a 42-yard jump pass TD four plays after Pringle scored.
“Lamar’s a heck of a football player,” Chiefs DE Frank Clark said. “He does everything that he can. … They took it. They came in, beat us in the rushing attack. We missed tackles.”
Of course, with Mahomes chucking the ball and guys like Kelce catching it, the Chiefs barely shrug in such circumstances. And Kelce’s highlight-reel touchdown restored the 11-point margin; he finished with seven catches for 109 yards.
Young’s pick — Mahomes said “It’s probably one of the worst interceptions I’ve probably ever had” — set up Baltimore near midfield and yet another quick drive was finished by Jackson’s sprint right and dive for a 2-yard score. But a 2-point conversion pass to Brown was negated by a penalty and the Ravens failed on the next try.
They didn’t miss the winning score when they got the chance to go ahead. That Jackson made like a gymnast added a superb twist to it all.
“I love being around this team,” Harbaugh said of his undermanned group. “I told them it would be an honor to be on the field with them. What makes me proud of these guys is that’s who we are and what we do.”
Mahomes was 24 for 31 for 343 yards and three TDs, with the interception.