Don’t call it a Paul Pierce moment, but Lamar Jackson and his late game heroics were simply breathtaking. In what might’ve been the game of the year, the Ravens bested the Browns 47-42 in a Monday Night Football thriller. With less then five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Lamar Jackson left the field due to cramping. With the Trace McSorley lead offense sputtering, Baker and the Browns to took a 35-34 lead in the fourth.
Cue Lamar Jackson.
On fourth and five with two minutes remaining, Lamar Jackson returned to the field with Trace McSorley injured on the previous play. Not only did they get the first down, but Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to take the lead.
Cue Baker Mayfield.
With under two minutes left and all three of their timeouts, Baker drove the Browns down the field in 47 seconds to tie the game.
Cue Justin Tucker.
I guess it helps to have the best kicker in NFL history on your roster. After a few big throws from Lamar Jackson, Justin Tucker nailed a 55-yard field goal to, essentially, win the game.
Lamar: Two. Baker: Zero.
Takeaways From the Game
The good news for Lamar is that their playoff hopes are alive and in order for the Ravens to be successful this season, Lamar needs to run. Plain and simple, he isn’t the passer they need him to be yet, as I’ve written before. Let him do what he does best, make other professional athletes look stupid.
For the Ravens, this off-season they should prioritize three things. Lamar Jackson’s mechanics as a passer, their pass rush, and getting him a legitimate number one wide receiver. Willie Sneed and Marquise Brown simply aren’t enough.
The good news for Baker is that the Browns have finally clicked. Since Odell Beckham Jr. was lost to injury, Baker has been one of the best pure passers in the NFL. At this point I think it’s safe to say, with Odell on the field, Baker gets “Odell-conscious”, and plays worse. While it might not be fair to Beckham Jr, it’s just a fact. With their run game, offensive line, and balanced receiving core, this is an offense that can score on anybody in bunches.
For the Browns, this off-season they should prioritize two things. Trading Odell and fixing their defense. Their pass rush is great, but the rest of the defense leaves a lot to be desired. I like Denzel Ward and Grant Delpit coming back next year, but they need more help.
In the Big Picture
Are the Ravens a Super Bowl team? No, but neither are the Browns. Both teams have major flaws that will prevent them for getting to and winning the Super Bowl. However, if you’re in the AFC with Super Bowl aspirations and you happen to draw either team, don’t take them lightly. Both the Browns and the Ravens have the capability to embarrass you with their run games. And if you think they’re a tough out now? Just wait until next season.
If this game is any indication for the future, the AFC North will be a stacked division for years to come. Between the 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski, Joe Burrow, and the Mike Tomlin Steelers, every year has the capability of coming down to week 17.
The NFL is in good hands.
John Harbaugh to Kevin Stefanski: “Hey, that was one of the greatest games in history right there. … Maybe we’ll see you in the playoffs, if we can win some games.”— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 15, 2020