John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson both made history after leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 28-3 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. In the process, head coach and quarterback left Cleveland Browns Stadium having achieved landmarks in their respective careers.
Jackson rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw for two others against a defense that entered the game as the No. 1 ranked unit in the NFL. By doing so, Jackson achieved something he’d never managed before during his prolific pro career, per StatMuse, a “first game of his career with 2 PASS TDs and 2 RUSH TDs.”
Harbaugh was grateful because Jackson’s performance earned the head coach a 150th career win on the sidelines.
Harbaugh celebrated the moment by finding two new superlatives to describe Jackson’s brilliance.
Harbaugh Praises Ravens’ “Point Guard” and “General”
Harbaugh chose both a sporting and military similarity to praise Jackson when speaking to reporters after the game: “Lamar kept his poise. He was running the show out there. He was the point guard. He was the general.”
Both comparisons were apt after the way Jackson set the direction for the Ravens’ offense on the ground and through the air. In the process, coach and quarterback left Cleveland Browns Stadium having achieved landmarks in their respective careers.
Jackson’s statistics were near flawless against a Cleveland defense that had logged nine sacks and was also setting a historic pace against the run prior to the game on Sunday, October 1, per Pro Football Journal.
Jackson appeared unfazed as he completed 15 of 19 passes, including touchdowns of seven and 18 yards to All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews. No. 8 also ran into the end zone from 10 and two yards.
Jackson’s quartet of scores gave the Browns too much to do without their own starting quarterback, an injured Deshaun Watson. His replacement, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, was swarmed upon by a marauding Ravens’ defense and couldn’t keep pace with Jackson.
While there was plenty to celebrate for both Harbaugh and Jackson, the latter felt the Ravens still could have done more to dominate their AFC North rivals.
Jackson Still Waiting for Statement on Offense
Although he and his unit didn’t do much wrong against the Browns, Jackson didn’t think the Ravens’ offense made a statement, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. Instead, the 26-year-old former league MVP cautioned the Ravens “need to keep focusing, keep getting better.”
It’s a mature response from a veteran who has taken generalship of the offense the way Harbaugh described. The decision to replace run-first coordinator Greg Roman with Todd Monken this offseason gave Jackson greater control of what he sees on the field and how best to move the ball.
He’s often still finding his own rushing skills are the best way to gain yardage in chunks. Jackson ran nine times against the Browns, but he also showed greater accuracy and touch when airing it out.
One of his best throws was the seven-yarder to Andrews 11 seconds before halftime. Jackson also linked up with first-year wide receiver Zay Flowers for a 43-yard gain and found running back Melvin Gordon III for 23 yards.
Those big plays in the passing game showed how the Ravens’ offense is becoming more expansive on Monken’s watch. That’s what was supposed to happen, but what’s more impressive is how Jackson shredded a vaunted defense, despite being without key targets, including Odell Beckham Jr, per “Ravens Vault” co-host Sarah Ellison.
The Browns had allowed just one touchdown and “-36 rushing yards before contact” through three games, according to PFF CLE Browns, before hosting the Ravens. Impressive numbers, but Cleveland’s defense hadn’t faced a dual-threat playmaker as dynamic as Jackson, who is beginning to resemble the player who dominated football back in 2019.