It was hard not to be excited about the meeting of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson entering Week 3, but so many times these hyped QB matchups end up disappointing.
This one certainly did not.
The Kansas City Chiefs held on to beat the Baltimore Ravens, 33-28, in a wild affair that saw both Mahomes and Jackson flash some of the scintillating talent both young quarterbacks possess.
In his third season, Mahomes is already a verified superstar. Against a good Ravens defense, Mahomes led three second-quarter touchdown drives that included TD passes to Demarcus Robinson and rookie Mecole Hardman.
Robinson’s brilliant fingertip grab in the corner of the end zone was a reminder of just how potent this Chiefs offense can be, even in a game where the team didn’t have its starting running back (Damien Williams), No. 1 receiver (Tyreek Hill) and starting left tackle (Eric Fisher).
Mahomes finished the game 27-of-37 passing for 374 yards and three TDs.
Jackson did his best to keep up. After leading a brilliant 14-play, 84-yard drive on their first possession, the Ravens gave a glimpse of their aggressive gameplan to come. Head coach John Harbaugh went for the two-point conversion (which failed) — an unusually aggressive approach so early in the game.
It was a sign the Ravens knew what they were up against with a dangerous Chiefs offense at Arrowhead Stadium. Harbaugh also went for it on fourth down four times in the game, converting three of them.
The Ravens also took another unorthodox approach, later going for two after a Mark Ingram touchdown run — his third of the game — put them down 30-19. That try missed, and the Chiefs kicked a late field goal to make it a two-score game with 4:39 remaining.
Jackson still showed extremely well in his best test of the season. Despite missing on some passes early, he kept the Ravens alive with his athleticism and some creativity. Jackson led the Ravens on a quick scoring drive by running for a brilliant score with 2:01 remaining. The two-point try was no good.
Jackson finished 22-of-43 passing for 267 yards and running eight times for 46 yards and a TD, with the stats not fully telling the story of how he dazzled at times.
One of the more improbable completions was a fourth-and-5, run-around prayer for a conversion that set up the Ravens’ final score. Jackson also completed a miracle heave to Willie Snead on 3rd and 17 that went down as a 23-yard completion, but it certainly won’t pass scrutiny when the coaches review the tape on Monday.
Still, Jackson kept the Ravens in the game — one where the final score might not have been indicative of how the game actually went. Justin Tucker attempted a bizarre drop kick on the kickoff after the Ravens’ final TD, but the Chiefs recovered and were able to run down the clock after Mahomes converted a late first down.
Aggression, talent, big plays — this game had it all. And a big reason why where the two star quarterbacks involved.
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