SANTA CLARA – Lamar Jackson entered the Christmas Eve game against the 49ers as an underdog.
He left the 33-19 victory atop the MVP standings, according to Baltimore coaches and players, after shredding the home team and eclipsing Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey, his competitors for the award.
“I thought McCaffrey had a really good game, and he’s a really good player, but I think with the score it might just be our guy, it might be Lamar,” the Washington cornerback said. Ravens Marlon Humphrey.
Jackson, who earned the honor in 2019, dominated the short passing game, running throws and sprints to gain yards on his trademark runs.
“Winning, which happened tonight, was my Christmas present,” Jackson said, adding that he didn’t care one way or the other what the match meant to his MVP chances.
The numbers, 252 passing yards and two touchdowns plus 45 rushing yards and countless others saved thanks to his scrimmages, back that up.
“I thought Lamar had an MVP performance tonight,” longtime Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said after the Ravens won their fifth straight game.
Although McCaffrey had a solid day with 131 yards from scrimmage and his 21st touchdown of the season, Purdy had his worst outing as a professional as the 49ers fell to 11-4.
The second-year quarterback threw four interceptions, including three in the first half, and had to leave the game in the fourth quarter due to injury.
“Everyone wants to be cute playing court basketball, and we don’t agree with all that,” said linebacker Patrick Queen, who was intercepted.
While Purdy couldn’t help but turn the ball over, Jackson was almost perfect. One of the highlights was a 36-yard slalom late in the second quarter that put Baltimore in field goal position.
The 26-year-old made 49ers pro linebacker Fred Warner look like he was trying to tackle a ghost on a sick cutback.
“Lamar is a special player, and there’s no other quarterback like him that can do what he does week in and week out,” Baltimore defensive back Marcus Williams said.
Jackson has thrown for 19 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards this season.
Besides singing the praises of their quarterback, the Ravens made sure to gloat about proving the oddsmakers wrong, who had Baltimore as a 5.5-point underdog heading into kickoff.
“You know, I would have been OK with 2.5 or even three,” Williams said. “We took it personally.”
Added Jackson: “They are great in all areas, but we also come to play. Our record is not the result of chance.
No one will doubt the Ravens after Monday night, when the Birds threw five interceptions and the home fans headed for the exit late in the third quarter.
“I kind of felt a certain way about things like that when someone writes you off before you even have a chance to play the game,” Queen said.
Even their coach admitted his team felt shortchanged during the week.
“Our guys work hard, they compete hard and you know, everyone wants to be respected,” Harbaugh said. “But there’s one way to be respected, and that’s to go out there and earn it.”
Monday night, the Ravens earned respect and perhaps an MVP award.
California Daily Newspapers