There is a new Superman in the media today, and his name is Lamar Jackson. After leaving the Monday night matchup with cramps at the start of the 4th quarter, Jackson returned to lead the Ravens to two game winning drives beating the Browns 47-42.
In what some might call the best NFL game since Chiefs vs. Rams back in 2018, the offenses were on fire with spectacular play throughout the game.
Lamar Jackson was definitely superhero-worthy in this one with stats similar to those of his MVP season last year. While only throwing for 163 yards and a touchdown, Jackson’s rushing was incredible with 124 yards on 9 attempts and 2 touchdowns. Despite numerous slips leading to sacks early in the game, Jackson was dynamic and clutch while passing the ball at the end of regulation. This is the QB play that will not only get the Ravens to the playoffs, but will win a playoff game.
The rushing attack was borderline flawless out of the backfield and by the QB. J.K. Dobbins led the team in rushing attempts with 13 for 53 yards, 1 touchdown, and a crucial 2 point conversion. Gus Edwards was spectacular as well, flexing 7 yards per carry and 2 touchdowns. Both running backs came up big, particularly in the redzone against a Browns defense that held Derrick Henry to 60 rushing yards a little over a week ago. This was truly a return to form for the Ravens’ rushing attack.
The Ravens’ receiving core had a rocky start but finished strong. Mark Andrews led the night with 5 receptions for 78 yards. Marquise Brown, who had multiple dropped passes, came up big on the second to last drive with a 44 yard touchdown to put the Ravens back in the lead. Willie Snead was underwhelming to say the least with one nice 3rd down conversion late in the game. Outside of Mark Andrews, there was little to no consistency in the receiving core. Besides a late game touchdown reception, Brown was very unreliable. The Ravens’ receivers need to not only get open faster, but catch the ball when it comes their way.
The Ravens defense played better than their 42 point give up would suggest, but that still wasn’t great. With Jimmy Smith coming out of the game, Baker Mayfield picked apart the secondary with ease in the second half, making the Ravens look like the Cowboys. The Ravens did an okay job stopping Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt from gaining big chunks of yardage, but failed to stop both of them in the redzone.
What was one overlooked bright spot? The Ravens forced 3 fumbles and had the opportunity to recover 7, with no recoveries. Forcing fumbles were achieved mainly by Marlon Humphrey.
Another highlight for the Ravens defense? A one-handed interception by Tyus Bowser resulting in a 1 yard touchdown run for Dobbins.
Overall, the Ravens defense was average in the first half, and laughable in the second. They gave up 493 total yards to Mayfield and the Browns which would normally result in a loss, but Jackson got their backs this time.
This was the most important game for the Ravens the entire season. A loss here could have sealed the Ravens fate and tossed them out of the playoffs, but they showed the Browns what it takes to win a crucial game.
If the Ravens play with the same grit for the remainder of the season and carry it through to the playoffs, they will be the overlooked team possibly going deep in January.
With matchups against the Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals remaining, the Ravens should have an easy ride (if they keep the gas on the petal) to an 11-5 record, and possibly steer into the playoffs.