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Lamar Jackson Flushes the Browns on MNF

Lamar Jackson touchdown Browns
Cooper Neil/Baltimore Ravens
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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Only one thing mattered tonight and I summarized it pre-game:

Not groundbreaking analysis, but this is one of those games where the Ravens knew they had to do whatever it took to win. If that was leaning on Lamar Jackson’s legs then that’s what they had to do.

They did just that as Lamar Jackson ran for 124 yards and two TD on only nine carries. The MVP played like an MVP and that’s what Baltimore needed.

Offense

Overall: A-

The offense looked much better in this contest. Almost 400 yards, 25 first downs, 47 points(!) and no turnovers? Yeah, I’ll take it.

The only reason this grade gets a little bit of a knock is that they allowed Jackson to get sacked four times. The offensive line was horrendous in the first quarter, more on that later.

Quarterback: A-

Lamar Jackson was electrifying last night. From the 1st drive he looked decisive and he looked to use his legs to pick up easy chunk yards. We all want to see the passing continue to develop, but I’m never going to turn down easy yards on those scrambles when the defense is dropping in zone coverage.

Lamar had to leave the game due to ‘cramping’ (yeah, okay Lamar, and every time I go to the bathroom at 9 am it’s just ‘cramping’ from my coffee – more on that later). However, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s glass breaking theme song came on and he came out to casually throw a 44-yard TD on 4th down.

Then he turned around and threw the Ravens into FG range to set up Justin Tucker’s 55-yard winner.

Lamar Jackson answered the critics. He used his legs early, but when he was called on to use his arm, he got it done and got 10 points in the last two minutes of the game to secure a win. That’s what they wanted to see – that’s what they got.

Running back: A

The Ravens have officially transitioned to J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards as the rotation. Mark Ingram was active but only played one snap and it was a called pass play that ended in a sack. Dobbins and Edwards were phenomenal, finding space and beating tackles for additional yards. The Ravens looked to get back to basics last night and reignite the 2019 success, which they did by using the option run game and pounding fresh legs with these two.

Shout out to Mark Ingram for being a true leader and supporting his teammates even if he is losing his playing time.

Wide Receiver and Tight End: C

Marquise Brown has really put us all in a bind. He’s found the end zone three weeks in a row, but he’s also had costly drops in all three of those games. If he doesn’t score that TD, he’s in the ‘bust’ conversation today. Amazing how one play can change things.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel, but I think it’s clear that he’s a #2 and the Ravens need to go find a #1. Is it ideal given he was 1st round pick? No, but it’s on the Ravens to salvage him.

Willie Snead made the play of the game catching a contested 3rd down from Trace McSorley to keep the drive going when the Ravens eventually took the lead in the 4th quarter. Mark Andrews came on in the clutch making three catches on the drive that led to the Tucker 55-yard field goal.

If this team can just buy a #1 WR (hello Allen Robinson), the possibilities are endless with Brown and Andrews being put in great situations.

Offensive Line: C-

What a disaster of a 1st quarter for the offensive line. The run blocking was fine, but the pass protection was absolutely miserable. Tyre Phillips was outmatched on almost every single pass snap he played to the point where he got benched for D.J. Fluker.

However, the run blocking was solid and running lanes were created. To their credit, the pass protection definitely improved.

It’s still not a good performance and for this team to play playoff football this line simply needs to jell. The RT spot continues to be the gaping hole.

Defense 

Overall: D+

The Ravens allowed 42 points and I know many are going to view this as too generous, so I’ll explain up front. 

The Browns poured in 22 points in the 4th quarter. At this time, the Ravens were down to one corner for most of the time and had to just play zone. It was easy pickings against favorable matchups. Package that with a flukey case of Marcus Peters tripping over his own two feet and it just wasn’t as bad as it seemed – albeit still not good. 

The real takeaway was the Ravens’ inability to get off the field. The Browns were 2-2 on 4th downs and, in my honest opinion, not going for two when they tied the game up at 42 was a mistake. They were all over the Ravens. Sure, the Ravens drove for the FG to win, but it didn’t make much sense to me not to go for two there after decimating a depleted defense. 

Defensive Line: C

It was another poor performance from this defensive line, as the Browns were able to control the LOS and get to the second level frequently. The Ravens came out of this game with only one tackle for a loss and allowed five yards a carry.

Some of it is on the LBs, some of it is because Calais Campbell just isn’t himself, but also some of it is just not being able to anchor against double teams. Cleveland has a top five OL in the league and that’s factored in, but if they are going to see a playoff matchup with a team like Tennessee, they have to solve this issue and win in the trenches.

Linebackers: D+

The inside linebackers really struggled in this one. Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison had a hard time filling gaps against the run game. To be fair, they were facing a ton of level two blocks, but you can just see there a step slow to get in their gap. On Nick Chubb’s first TD, Malik Harrison was just late to the hole and Chubb went untouched for the score.

Tyus Bowser has been playing some phenomenal football and his price continues to rise. Yannick Ngakoue played well in the run game, and provided pressure (and should have drawn a hold or two), but wasn’t able to get home with his pass rush for the second straight week. He had two close ones, but just wasn’t able to convert the sacks.

Defensive Backs: C-

The corners ended up completely dismantled in this one. At one point all of them except Marlon Humphrey were hurt and Marcus Peters ended up running on the field without John Harbaugh and the other coaches even knowing. By the end of the game they had Anthony Levine playing corner. So I’m not going to hammer them there. Wink Martindale played zone and they did the best they could.

However, where I will hammer them is the play of Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott. They both had tough games and were on the receiving end of a number of easy catches. We saw Clark really struggled against the Titans tight end group and Cleveland attacked that matchup early.

They’ll bounce back, but it wasn’t a great night for the duo on the back end.  

Special Teams: A

This is an A+ if Tucker doesn’t get his XP blocked. However, he is the best kicker of all time. All he was missing was signature moments like this one. Kicking a 55-yarder to win, on the road, with the playoffs on the line and he just steps up with ice in his veins and nails it? Yup, GOAT.

Poop Memes: A+

Before we go any further, Twitter deserves a shout out for the poop memes last night surrounding Lamar Jackson’s cramps. I was in tears laughing after the game. Here’s a collection of some of the best:

Just incredible stuff.

Coaching: B-

I thought the offensive gameplan from Greg Roman was really solid in this one. He stuck to the run game when it was working and used Lamar Jackson’s legs.

He perfectly set up Lamar’s 44-yard run on 3rd down.

Guys were open in the passing game and if it weren’t for Brown drops or Jackson’s misses on deep balls while he was suffering form the cramps, the passing game would have had a much higher output, but the reality is guys were open.

On defense, Wink Martindale didn’t have his best game and he allowed 42 points. Not good. He switched a zone look after Jimmy Smith got hurt and it killed the Ravens as they were thriving in press man coverage where Baker struggled to hit tight windows.

By the end of it, when the Browns were putting up 4th quarter points, he had one healthy corner against a pass happy attack. Not many coordinators are going to thrive. I also think he wasn’t helped out much by his players. He used his signature blitz packages, but guys just weren’t winning 1-on-1’s or converting pressures to sacks as Baker shot loose in the pocket a number of times.

Game Ball

This isn’t even a question, Lamar ‘I was just cramping’ Jackson! Action Jackson was on display in a dominating fashion. He took over this game and made plays to get it done.

AND HE DID IT WITH HIS ARM!

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