|Ravens' Jackson to make second start vs. Raiders|
Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson is expected to make his second career start when the Baltimore Ravens host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
Coming off a superb performance in a victory against the Cincinnati Bengals a week ago, Jackson used his legs to help the Ravens snap a three-game slide and keep Baltimore (5-5) atop a crowded pack for the sixth and final AFC playoff slot.
With starter Joe Flacco sidelined with a hip injury, Jackson rushed for 119 yards on 27 carries -- the most attempts by any quarterback since 1960 -- in the 24-21 victory over the Bengals. The former Heisman Trophy winner from Louisville does not expect to run that often against Oakland (2-8).
"I know I can throw," said Jackson, who finished 13 of 19 passing for 150 yards with an interception against Cincinnati. "But we won the game. I ran 27 times. I didn't try to. We did whatever it took to win. Hopefully, I'm going to start throwing the ball more. The game plan is coming up. We're going to be throwing the ball. They're going to see."
Despite Jackson's wish to throw more, Baltimore will probably stick to the ground game against the Raiders, who are allowing 142.3 rushing yards per game.
The Ravens amassed 265 yards rushing against the Bengals behind Jackson and fellow rookie Gus Edwards. An undrafted free agent out of Rutgers, Edwards rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries after logging 15 rushing attempts entering the contest.
"That's just a credit to the players," Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said. "I just feel like however you move the ball is good. There are different ways to do it, and you do it based on your personnel and what's available to you as a coach. You try to figure that out - who you're playing against and what your guys can do well.
"You want it to be a mix, you know, both. Sometimes you do well at it, and sometimes you don't. But in the end, it's a player's game. The players deserve the credit for running the ball so well."
Oakland finally ended a five-game losing streak with a 23-21 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals, getting a last-second field goal from Daniel Carlson. While there was obvious relief in halting the skid, some of the players were irked to hear talk of how the win could jeopardize the team's chances for getting the No. 1 pick in next year's draft.
"That's just stupid," said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. "We don't work hard all week and put our bodies on the line to lose games. That's ridiculous."
Added rookie defensive tackle Mo Hurst: "The idea of tanking is annoying to hear from people. ... It's disrespectful, yeah."
Carr threw for 192 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Arizona, but Oakland also relied heavily on its ground game. Jalen Richard, Doug Martin and DeAndre Washington combined to churn out 152 yards on 33 carries for the Raiders, who had been limited to 10 points or fewer in the previous five games.
With No. 1 running back Doug Martin hobbled by a bad ankle and wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant also dealing with injuries, Oakland will face a daunting task against a Baltimore defense that is tied for first in total points allowed (181) and ranks first in total yards allowed (300), second in passing yards allowed (205.4) and third in rushing yards allowed (94.6).
The lack of healthy receiving targets serves as another reminder that the Raiders released Michael Crabtree after signing Nelson in free agency. Crabtree, who has 42 passes for 479 yards and two scores for Baltimore, had 58 catches for Oakland last season after hauling in a career-high 89 passes for 1,003 yards in 2016.
"I loved Crab, we had great games, great times together," Carr said. "I didn't want to see him go and told him so. We had great chemistry, especially on those red-zone plays."
Harbaugh wants to make sure his team doesn't look past Oakland. Even though the Ravens hold down the No. 6 seed in the AFC, five teams entered Week 12 with identical 5-5 records.
"There are six more games to play. It will be determined in the next six weeks," said Harbaugh. "And anybody who thinks that we have it clinched, no. No way. It's going to be the teams that play the best, the teams that play the best football the next six weeks starting this week, and that's going to be our focus."