NEW ORLEANS – Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens didn’t need their full arsenal of critical contributors to stop the New Orleans Saints. They silenced the masses at the Superdome.
On Monday night, Kenyan Drake rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Houston had an interception that went with his third straight two-sack game, and Baltimore beat New Orleans 27-13.
Jackson ran the ball for 82 yards and threw one pass for a touchdown. He helped Baltimore clinch the win with his impressive mobility, exhibiting various jump cuts and spin moves to help them beat New Orleans by 3 points and stay at the top of the AFC North division.
“The human spirit can only take so much,” Drake said. “It was just pounding down in and down out.” That’s what this team is all about – continuing to wear teams down and grind them out with four quarters of football.
“If you can stand up to that, more power to you, but more times than not we’re going to win that battle,” Drake said.
The Saints entered the game with a chance to tie for first place in the disappointing NFC South. Instead, they found themselves outclassed by a shorthanded Baltimore team and lost 22-14.
The Baltimore Ravens converted nine of 15 third downs and had 319 total yards. The New Orleans Saints were 3 of 11 on third down and finished with a season lows of 243 yards and 13 first downs. Baltimore possessed the ball for 37:47.
“We got beat in a lot of different areas,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said. “Our time of possession loss is due to the defense and offense.”
Andy Dalton passed for 210 yards and New Orleans’ solitary touchdown to the tight end Juwan Johnson. Alvin Kamara had his lowest output in five games with 62 yards from scrimmage.
Notice how I didn’t touch “Which came in when the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter.”
Dalton explained that they had just lost and that “Baltimore deserved to win this one. They came after us.”
Dalton had four sacks, one an interception on a pass tipped by Brent Urban. That set up Drake’s second touchdown.
Baltimore’s defense was on fire in their first four possessions against New Orleans. The Saints were only able to execute 13 plays.
The New Orleans defense had a tough time containing Jackson in the first half. Baltimore QB Flacco let the first-half time go to his head, and pounded out one of the longest yard-lengthed runs in Browns history.
Saints safety, Tyrann Mathieu said, “Traditionally, you cover for three to four seconds, and if the play is done before then it’s over. But with a guy like that, you have to cover for seven, eight or nine seconds.”
As Jackson rolled to his right, he found Isaiah Likely running a flag pattern for a 24-yard touchdown and making it 7-0.
In the second quarter, Jackson orchestrated a 12-play, 81-yard drive that ended with Drake running for a touchdown.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh shook his head in awe of the explosiveness and agility that Jackson put on display.
Harbaugh said, “I don’t take it for granted. I think I said ‘wow’ a couple of times. Lamar plays at a very high level. You can’t just look at the passing stats.”
The Saints did not get on the board until Wil Lutz’s field goal as time expired in the half; a couple plays after Dalton overthrew open receiver Marquez Callaway in the end zone.
The Saints honored late linebacker Sam Mills at halftime this past Sunday, who had been inducted posthumously into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.
On the field in their gold jackets were Saints Hall of Famers Rickey Jackson, Willie Roaf, and Morten Andersen, who had won games with their defense. Pat Swilling was part of this defense as well – a linebacker who played for the famed “Dome Patrol”.
Their coach Jim Mora, also appeared while a video montage of Saints highlights, where Mills was the star, were playing on the Superdome video boards.
During Baltimore’s third quarter, right tackle Morgan Moses received attention on the field. ——– Veteran receiver DeSean Jackson injured his hamstring in his first game with Baltimore, catching one pass for 16 yards.
There were a number of injuries out on the field today: Center Erik McCoy had to be helped off the field in the second quarter with a calf injury. Pete Werner was injured and carted off during the third quarter with an ankle injury. Defensive end Marcus Davenport left during the second half, suffering from a calf injury.