Browns versus Ravens has already been a hell of a rivalry
It should be pointed out that the Browns have generally played the Ravens tough in the Mayfield era. These have been classic battles, and both quarterbacks have shown themselves to be true warriors. Attempts to blame losses on either quarterback are farcical.
Let us begin by pointing out that Baker Mayfield was the quarterback for the last win in the NFL career of 3-33-1 Hue Jackson’s career and it came against the Baltimore Ravens in overtime.
Mayfield threw for 342 yards against Baltimore, while Jackson was used as a situational substitute for then-starter Joe Flacco. They may not have figured out Jackson but they evidently figured out Flacco 12-9, with the game-winning field goal coming on a kick that was partially blocked but just barely made it over the goal post anyway.
Their first true Mayfield versus Jackson meeting later came in the year when Mayfield threw for 376 yards and Jackson threw for 179 yards and added 90 yards on the ground. The Browns evidently could not figure out Jackson, 24-22.
So, the Browns’ quarterback threw for 718 yards in two games, won one game, and should have won both games, but Baltimore edged them because the Browns could not figure out Lamar Jackson.
Jackson was the youngest quarterback to start a playoff game that year, surpassing Bernie Kosar. Both QBs began the season at age 21, although Kosar turned 22 by the time the playoffs rolled around. Neither posted a “W.”
2019 was the year that Baltimore went 14-2, Freddie Kitchens had Jackson figured out as he and Baker put the kibosh on Jackson 40-25, with Mayfield throwing for 342 yards against the team he never plays well against (remember, the great Fox Sports analysts told me this, so it must be true).
The rematch went Baltimore’s way, however, as the Browns evidently could not figure out Jackson, 31-15, with Jackson throwing for 238 yards on his way to an MVP season. Freddie Kitchens and his staff couldn’t figure that out, so they were fired. Jackson did not break down for the playoffs, but his star running back, Mark Ingram, did suffer a calf injury and carried the ball only six times for 22 yards.
Jackson threw for 365 yards and rushed for 143 additional on the ground. That’s 508 yards of offense from one player, and the consensus view is that Jackson is a choker. That is completely idiotic and unfair, but as Browns fans, we are okay with idiotic and unfair criticism of the Ravens.
In 2020, you will recall that the preseason was canceled due to Covid. The Browns had a new coaching staff. But let’s not use that as an excuse, okay? The Browns and Stefanski were beaten by Lamar and the Ravens in the first game, Baker and Odell Beckham, Jr. had bad games, and analysts at ESPN Fox have been calling for the dismissal of Stefanski and for Mayfield to be cut ever since.
In the rematch, the Browns hung 42 on the Ravens with 343 passing yards for Mayfield, but the Ravens scored 47, with Jackson passing for 163 yards and rushing for 124. Cleveland outgained Baltimore 493 yards to 385 yards, but came up short on the scoreboard. Some in the national media grudgingly admitted that they saw some evidence of improvement.
The Ravens won a playoff game versus Tennessee, the team that beat them the previous year, but lost against Buffalo. In the playoff game against Buffalo, Buffalo’s defense deserves great credit. They intercepted Jackson for a pick-six. Still, Baltimore outgained Buffalo, 340-220, and Jackson suffered a concussion in the third quarter. Did Buffalo “figure out” Jackson?
Jackson, by the way, was only 23 years old last season. When Tom Brady was 23, he had one complete pass in his career. Thus, one more accolade for Jackson is that he is the youngest NFL quarterback to ever be considered to be washed up by ESPN.