Status Updated for Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, Hollywood Brown vs. Browns

Lamar Jackson

Getty Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Marquise Brown.

The Baltimore Ravens will have two of their most important players back on offense for their Week 12 matchup with the Cleveland Browns, with quarterback Lamar Jackson and wide receiver Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown both set to play tonight.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Jackson will be “back at full strength,” with ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeting that Brown is “is likely to play against the Browns barring a pre-game setback.”

Both players missed last week’s game against the Chicago Bears, with Jackson unable to recover from a non-COVID illness and Brown struggling with a thigh injury. Jackson was a full participant in practice all week, while Brown was limited but practiced every day, per the team’s official injury report.

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Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley led a game-winning drive with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, with veteran wideout Sammy Watkins reeling in a 29-yard pass on 3rd-and-12 to set up a 3-yard Devonta Freeman touchdown.

But the offense still only scored 16 points and put up fewer than 300 total yards for the first time this season, struggling to move the ball without their two superstars. Jackson, the 2019 MVP, has carried the Ravens to victory several times this season, often hitting Brown for key touchdowns in the process.

A 42-yard third-quarter connection between the pair in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs kicked off an 11-point comeback win, and Brown caught the first and last touchdowns in Baltimore’s 19-point comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5.

The duo’s return couldn’t come at a more crucial time for the Ravens, as tonight’s game kicks off three straight division games for Baltimore.

Rapoport Predicts ‘Big Game’ From Jackson

Rapoport thinks that Jackson will be especially motivated to have a strong performance tonight after last week’s absence, saying this morning on NFL Network:

Lamar Jackson is back for the Baltimore Ravens. He was a full participant every day this week in practice. No injury status, he is going to play. Which is good news, because consider where we were last week at exactly this time. This is around the moment we were starting to figured out all was not well with Lamar Jackson. He was dealing with a fever, he was dealing with chills. He boarded the bus and just was not able to go. [Tyler] ‘Snoop’ Huntley had to come in, play quarterback for the Ravens and of course, eventually win the game.

So fast forward a couple days. I”m told he had a great week of practice. He had no relapses, no setbacks. Feeling good, and it sounds like from some of the words of some of his teammates that he was even more energized this week to be out there after what happened last week. Expect a big game from Lamar Jackson tonight.

Jackson has beat Cleveland in four of his five career starts against them, including last year’s dramatic recovery from mid-game cramps to find Hollywood Brown for a 42-yard go-ahead touchdown.

Jackson’s League-Leading Aggressiveness

Jackson seems to have a comeback-driven attitude, with one statistician noting that the former Louisville Cardinal “gets aggressive after a setback,” whether it be an interception, fumble or sack.

Jackson’s targets receivers almost five yards further down the field after a setback play. the highest such figure in the NFL. That’s even more impressive considering he already has the second-highest average intended and completed air yards in the league this season, according to Next Gen Stats

Jackson’s throwing improvements certainly deserve plenty of credit for the Ravens new-look air attack this year, but credit the receiving corps as well. A third-year leap from Brown, plus the offseason arrivals of Watkins and impressive rookie Rashod Bateman, along with another year of excellence from tight end Mark Andrews, have powered Baltimore to five games with over 250 yards passing already this season, the same number as they had in 2019 and 2020 combined.

While their ground game has taken a step back due to injuries at running back and along the offensive line, Baltimore’s offense is still potent enough to give any defense trouble. With both Jackson and Brown returning tonight, the Ravens could put on a show in primetime against a division rival.