BALTIMORE — Lamar Jackson showed why he is the MVP front-runner. The Jets showed why their season will end in two weeks.
The Jets could do nothing against the NFL’s most unstoppable player. It was as if he were playing at a different speed and the Ravens were playing a different game.
Jackson threw five touchdown passes and rushed for 86 yards in leading the Ravens to a 42-21 win over the Jets on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
“We could have played a hell of a lot better than we did out there,” linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. “I got to give it to him. He’s the real deal.”
The Jets (5-9) have only two games left before another offseason of change. They’re depleted by injuries, but they have many needs and areas to address if they’re going to snap their nine-year playoff drought.
It was the same story for the Jets: turnovers, costly penalties, some bad play calls and poor execution. They also don’t have the athletes to contend with Jackson. Few teams do.
Jackson led the Ravens (12-2) to their 10th win in a row and gave Baltimore the AFC North title. He went 15-for-23 for 212 yards, carried the ball eight times and broke Michael Vick’s record for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback. Jackson has 1,103 with two games remaining; Vick had 1,039 in 2006.
The Jets were without safety Jamal Adams for the second straight game because of an ankle injury, and he was severely missed. The Ravens’ No. 1 rushing offense rang up 218 yards on the NFL’s No. 2 run defense.
The Ravens led 35-7 late in the third quarter, and Jackson was removed in the fourth after leading Baltimore to its sixth touchdown.
“It’s a tough offense to play,” Jets coach Adam Gase said.
Sam Darnold was 18-for-32 for 218 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a fumble. Jamison Crowder caught six passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Le’Veon Bell, back after a one-game absence because of the flu, rushed for a season-high 87 yards on 21 carries.
The Ravens’ top-ranked scoring offense produced touchdowns on its first three series. The Jets left plenty of points on the field and were down 21-7 at halftime.
The Jets had a field-goal attempt blocked and wasted two opportunities to get points on drives late in the first half.
“I don’t feel like we had to play perfect,” Bell said. “I just feel like we had to play better than we did today.”
The Jets failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Ravens’ 7. Instead of going for the short yardage, Gase had Darnold roll out. He threw to Robby Anderson in the end zone but the pass was incomplete; there was contact but no call.
On the final drive of the half, rookie Jeff Smith, who was making his NFL debut, slowed down while running his route. If he had not done so, he could have had a 41-yard touchdown pass.
After the Jets got to the Ravens’ 25, Darnold was picked off at the 5. The pass was intended for tight end Daniel Brown, but it appeared Darnold thought he was cutting back. Either way, it was a throw into traffic and killed the drive.
“A really bad decision by me,” Darnold said. “It sucks against any team in the NFL, but especially against these guys.”
Darnold was sacked and fumbled in the third quarter, giving Baltimore the ball at the Jets’ 24. Two plays later, Jackson lofted a pass to a wide-open Marquise Brown in the end zone.
After the Jets went three-and-out on the next series, Jackson carved up the defense again.
On fourth-and-1 from the Ravens’ 29, he completed a 36-yard pass to Mark Andrews as Marcus Maye fell on the play. The drive ended with Jackson throwing a 33-yard touchdown pass to Seth Roberts.
The Jets made it 35-13 on B.J. Bello’s 14-yard return of a blocked punt.
On the ensuing possession, Jackson threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Mark Ingram. It was Ingram’s second touchdown of the game and Jackson’s last pass. Robert Griffin III finished for Baltimore.
“We just couldn’t finish the drives when we needed to to keep us in this game,” Gase said. “Our whole thing was: Keep this close in the fourth quarter and we’re going to have to go win it or stop them. One of the two. We couldn’t do it.”