The Cleveland Browns have immense respect for Lamar Jackson, but there are other ways to attack the Baltimore Ravens and beat them.
However, the Baltimore Ravens as a team can be beaten, without necessarily blaming the quarterback in advance.
One thing that Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson have shared since coming into the league is that they rank 1-2 in unfair, illogical, and absurd criticism.
As Browns fans, the Dawg Pound is delighted to support unfair criticism of Mr. Jackson, while acknowledging that it is completely baseless and that he remains the greatest dual-threat quarterback in NFL history. However, it is a nice thought.
Mr. Fowler’s point is that he has this vast cadre of quarterback experts around the NFL (probably true), and they feel that Jackson will struggle to make throws 40 and 50 times a game to bring the Ravens from behind.
This is a fair point, sort of. But if we are going to blame the quarterback in advance of a loss (a new landmark low in sports journalism, by the way), perhaps we should ask why it is that the Ravens are going to put themselves in the situation of requiring Jackson to throw 40 and 50 times a game to bring the Ravens from behind.
It’s one thing if your team is the Green Bay Packers or the New Orleans Saints and they actually want to put the ball in the air 40 and 50 times. It’s quite another thing if your team is forced to do so because your team is behind by two scores in the fourth quarter; i.e., you need two drives to win.
So your team is behind by nine points or more in the fourth quarter. In this situation, we understand why a handoff to J.K. Dobbins up the middle would be a poor play call. However, that’s not the same as negating Jackson’s ability to run. Would the Browns ever say, “okay, great, the Ravens are 10 points down in the fourth quarter, so Jackson is no longer a threat to scramble?”
With deepest apologies to Mr. Fowler and his cadre of football experts, this is nonsense. You don’t know what Lamar Jackson can do! If it is fourth down and 20, he’s still a threat to break off a long run on a scramble, so you simply cannot leave the middle of the field open for him under any circumstance. You have not figured him out, o wise experts of the NFL.
The Browns know better than this. The Browns understand that Jackson is not simply running for three and four yards by diving off tackle. He is the greatest coast-to-coast runner we have seen since Barry Freaking Sanders.
Still, if Fowler’s football experts think the Ravens are going to consistently be behind by nine or 10 points or more in the fourth quarter, maybe we should explore that angle a little further.
Maybe at long last, the Ravens’ front office is faltering now that Ozzie Newsome has finally retired. Maybe that is what is being hinted at by Fowler’s experts. That possibility is discussed on page two of this article.
On page three, the Ravens/Browns rivalry in the Mayfield era is discussed. Just so you know, Baker Mayfield has thrown for 342, 376, 342 (again), and 343 yards. The Browns beat Baltimore in 2018 as well as in 2019, the year they went 14-2. In 2020, Mayfield and the Browns hung 42 on the Ravens only to lose 47 to 42.