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Instant analysis: Led by Lamar Jackson, Ravens crush Jaguars, 40-14, but get little help in playoff chase

Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and rushed for a score Sunday, leading the Ravens to a 40-14 victory over the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars that kept them in the running for a postseason berth.

The win, the Ravens’ third straight, marked their biggest margin of victory of the season since Week 1. With games against the New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals remaining, the team could end the season on a roll.

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The Ravens (9-5) still need some help to make the playoffs for the third straight season, however. Entering the late-afternoon slate of games, their postseason chances were virtually unchanged (91%), according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Wins by the Miami Dolphins (9-5) over the New England Patriots and by Indianapolis Colts (10-4) over the Houston Texans kept the Ravens out of an AFC wild-card spot — for now.

Six days after Jackson dramatically returned from cramps to lead the Ravens to an important victory over the Cleveland Browns, he had a far more tame fourth quarter Sunday. A 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews (five catches for 66 yards) was his last of the day. When the Ravens got the ball back midway through the period, they led 40-7 and rookie Tyler Huntley was in control of the offense.

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It was an altogether comfortable afternoon for the Ravens, who extended the Jaguars’ losing streak to 13 games. They averaged 6.7 yards per play, committed just four penalties and led 26-0 at halftime, thanks to wide receiver Dez Bryant’s first touchdown catch since 2017.

Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown had six catches for a game-high 98 yards, while rookie running back J.K. Dobbins had 14 carries for a game-high 64 yards and a score. Jackson’s 133.1 passer rating (17-for-22 for 243 yards, three touchdowns and an interception) was his highest since the season-opening blowout of the Browns.

The game opened on a sour note for the Ravens. On their opening drive, Jaguars safety Josh Jones intercepted Jackson’s underthrown deep shot to Brown. But a post-pick penalty forced the Jaguars (1-13) to start at their own 1-yard line.

Two plays later, the Ravens had a safety, outside linebacker Matthew Judon easily beating tight end Tyler Eifert and sacking Minshew on a play-action pass. On the Ravens’ next drive, Jackson had all day to find wide receiver Miles Boykin open in the back of the end zone for a full-extension catch.

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That set the tone for Jacksonville’s weekend. Against a Ravens pass rush that had six sacks in its previous seven games, the Jaguars’ protection couldn’t hold up. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, whom Minshew said would be “out for blood” in his first game against the team that traded him before this season, had two of the Ravens’ five sacks, including a strip-sack to end a potential scoring drive in the third quarter.

Instant analysis

Daniel Oyefusi: This was the perfect “get right” game for a Ravens team that has had as odd of a month as you’ll see in professional sports. The Ravens took care of business in earning their third straight win but didn’t get much help from the New England Patriots or Houston Texans. As a result, they’ll enter Week 16 at 9-5 and still outside the playoff picture. But if they keep winning — and get some injured players back — they should be in a good position for a postseason berth.

Jonas Shaffer: After all the craziness of Monday’s game and the uncertainty that brewed in the next five days, the Ravens would’ve settled for a close win over Jacksonville. The Jaguars have played a lot of very good teams competitively. Instead, the Ravens took care of business and showed their superiority in every phase of Sunday’s game. Would they have sacrificed a touchdown or two for a Dolphins loss? Maybe. But they’re rounding into shape for a potential postseason run.

Childs Walker: Between injuries and the emotional effort they expended six days earlier in Cleveland, the Ravens had excuses to come out flat against an opponent they were supposed to thrash. To their credit, they never let the Jaguars build any hope, dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. After an early interception, Lamar Jackson made excellent use of his clean pocket, probing downfield against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. On defense, the Ravens got after Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II and gave him little chance to go after an undermanned secondary. Give John Harbaugh credit; his teams usually do this as heavy favorites. The Ravens did not receive the help they needed in other games Sunday, so they’ll continue to survey the playoff landscape nervously as they prepare for another must-win game against the New York Giants.

GIANTS@RAVENS

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 45

Radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM

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