Lamar Jackson has been waiting for wide receiver Zay Flowers to have a breakout game.
On Sunday night, the Baltimore Ravens rookie finally seized his opportunity on a national stage.
Flowers had a touchdown catch and ran for a game-sealing score late in the fourth quarter as the AFC-best Ravens beat the Los Angeles Chargers 20-10 on Sunday night.
"I've been waiting for him to score multiple TDs in a game. Having that last one with the run was nice," said Jackson about Flowers, who was the 22nd overall pick in April's draft.
Flowers wasn't the only one who came through for the Ravens (9-3), who head into the bye week one-half game ahead of Kansas City, Jacksonville and Miami for the best record in the conference.
Baltimore forced four turnovers while the offense was balanced with 197 yards rushing and 177 passing.
Jackson completed 18 of 32 passes and ran for 39 on 11 carries, becoming the fourth quarterback in NFL history to exceed 5,000 rushing yards.
"Our defense was playing lights out all night. I feel like if we can keep our offense balanced, we can put points on the board," Jackson said.
The Chargers largely bottled up Jackson and the Ravens' offense in the second half, but Flowers put the game away when he took an end-around on third-and-2 and dashed for a 37-yard touchdown with 1:36 left.
"I thought the fourth quarter was a statement. We put an exclamation point on it with our defense getting the stops and offense finishing it at the end there," coach John Harbaugh said.
Flowers' first touchdown came with 10:46 remaining in the second quarter when he caught a 3-yard pass in the back of the end zone on a crossing route to give the Ravens a 7-3 lead.
The Chargers came into the game tied for league low with eight giveaways. Their four turnovers were the most since they had that many in a Week 3 loss to Carolina in 2020.
"That was certainly the difference in the game, and it usually is in the NFL," coach Brandon Staley said. "We hung in there about as well as you could, turning it over like that, and one of them in the red area. Just didn't play well enough, clean enough to win tonight."
Justin Herbert was 29 of 44 for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Chargers (4-7), who have lost three straight and are last in the AFC West. Keenan Allen had 14 receptions for 106 yards.
"I don't think that we executed the way that we would have liked to have," Herbert said. "I have to be able to get the ball out quicker. I have to make some checks. It wasn't good enough on our part today."
Gerald Everett's 3-yard touchdown reception with 8:32 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled Los Angeles within 13-10. The tight end caught the ball at the 1 and then outmuscled Ravens safety Marcus Williams.
The Chargers had a chance to possibly send it into overtime after Justin Tucker missed a 44-yard field goal attempt with 2:57 remaining. They took over at their own 34 and drove to the Ravens 46. But they turned it over on downs when Herbert was pressured in the pocket and was called for intentional grounding on fourth down.
Jackson joined Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks in the 5,000-yard rushing club on an 8-yard keeper in the third quarter.
The sixth-year pro though is the fastest by far to do it. Jackson has played 82 games, 22 fewer than it took Vick to reach the milestone.
ALL FOR NAUGHT
Los Angeles had a 19-play drive that took up nearly nine minutes of the second half, but it came away empty.
On third-and-14 from the Baltimore 16, Ravens defensive end Jadeveon Clowney strip-sacked Herbert and recovered the ball at the 23.
"It was a defensive game, so those turnovers definitely helped us out a lot," cornerback Arthur Maulet said. "If we can get three or more, then you have a good chance of winning the game, so we did that for sure today and it paid off."
The possession featured a trick play when Allen caught a 3-yard pass from Herbert and then lateraled to Austin Ekeler, who took it 14 yards to the Ravens 39.
"That was some Boise State (stuff) from (Chargers offensive coordinator) Kellen (Moore)," said Ravens linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who was with the Chargers last season.
The Chargers got the ball first and took a 3-0 lead on Cameron Dicker's 39-yard field goal.
Los Angeles drove to the Baltimore 6-yard line on Herbert's 5-yard scramble, but guard Jamaree Salyer was called for unnecessary roughness after he took exception to what appeared to be an out of bounds hit on Herbert by Ravens safety Geno Stone.
Ravens: OT Ronnie Stanley left with a knee injury during the second quarter but returned during the second half. ... LB Patrick Queen was evaluated for a head injury during the fourth quarter but returned to the game. ...DT Justin Madubuike is in the concussion protocol. ... CB Marlon Humphrey was inactive for the second straight game due to a calf injury.
Chargers: WR Quentin Johnston had an issue with his ribs in the second half and did not return.
Ravens: After their bye, host the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 10.
Chargers: At New England next Sunday.
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