sunny.png
Sunday January 17th, 2021 10:34AM

Jackson throws 3 TD passes for Ravens in 38-6 rout of Browns

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BALTIMORE (AP) — There were no fans in the seats, no preseason games to draw from and an eerie, unfamiliar silence before each snap.

In spite of it all, two constants prevailed in the matchup between the Cleveland and Baltimore: Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson was the focal point of a high-powered Ravens offense, and the Browns lost another opener.

Jackson threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, and the Ravens rolled to a 38-6 victory Sunday to spoil the debut of Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept the seats empty and the play was sloppy following a summer without any games. That hardly mattered to Jackson, who looked every bit as good — maybe even better — than he did in 2019 while helping Baltimore compile an NFL-best 14-2 record.

“The guy was incredible last year," said tight end Mark Andrews, who caught two touchdown passes. “To me, he’s obviously the best player in the world, and his arm reflects that."

A year ago, the multi-faceted Jackson set an NFL single-season record for yards rushing by a quarterback and threw 36 TD passes. This time, facing a Cleveland secondary depleted by injuries, he completed 20 of 25 passes and racked up a team-high 45 yards on the ground.

The Browns were incapable of stopping him. As a result, Cleveland still hasn't opened with a victory since 2004.

“I think he’s a very talented football player," Stefanski said of Jackson. “We’re not surprised with the plays he made today.”

Neither were the Ravens.

“Lamar Jackson just played a phenomenal game in every single way," coach John Harbaugh said. “He was probably the biggest difference in the game."

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw an interception on the opening series, the first of three Browns turnovers. Those miscues, two missed kicks by Austin Seibert and an unsuccessful fake punt call by Stefanski contributed to the rout.

“Very disappointed, obviously," said Stefanski, the former offensive coordinator of the Vikings. “But credit goes to the Baltimore Ravens. They deserved to win. They outcoached us, they outplayed us. We did a lot of things losing teams do.”

Mayfield went 21 for 39 for 189 yards and was sacked twice.

With no fans allowed — a decision rendered by the Ravens late last month after meeting with government officials and health experts — traffic outside the stadium was light, most parking lots were barren and the smell of grilled meat from tailgates was noticeably absent.

Sections behind the end zones were filled with cutouts of people. Section 146 included 575 cutouts of 14-year-old Mo Gaba, a popular Ravens fan who died in July after several bouts with cancer. In addition, the letters MO within the word Baltimore in one end zone were stenciled in gold.

The Ravens raced out of the tunnel before the game with the public address system announcing their arrival, along with fireworks and smoke billowing out of a makeshift castle. Missing, of course, were cheerleaders and the deafening roar of the crowd.

The game was also a bit surreal.

“It’s just different, being able to hear calls and what the defense is saying," Andrews said. “You’ve got to bring your own energy and play fast without these fans. Missed them today."

Baltimore could not have scripted a better start to a season it hopes ends at the Super Bowl. Marlon Humphrey picked off a throw by Mayfield and Jackson ended the first drive of the year with a touchdown pass to Andrews.

On the ensuing possession, Stefanski gambled on a fake punt and L.J. Fort diagnosed the play and busted it up. That set up a field goal for a 10-0 lead.

Cleveland responded with a 75-yard drive, but a touchdown pass to David Njoku was followed by a botched conversion. The Browns then withstood a 47-yard completion from Jackson to Marquise Brown by forcing a fumble by Patrick Ricard inside the 10.

Late in the half, Jackson went 5 for 5 for 75 yards on a 99-yard drive that ended with the first of rookie J.K. Dobbins' two touchdowns.

“It's a blessing to have two touchdowns in my first NFL game," the former Ohio Star star said.

The Browns moved into position to cut into the deficit, but successive miscues — a third-down drop by Odell Beckham Jr. and a missed field-goal attempt by Seibert — gave the ball to Baltimore with 46 seconds remaining.

Jackson directed a 69-yard drive — passing for every one of those yards — and made it 24-6 with a 9-yard toss to Andrews. Baltimore's opening drive of the second half was more of the same, ending with Jackson's 19-yard touchdown pass to Willie Snead.

INJURIES

Browns: T Jedrick Wills Jr. left with a leg injury and did not return. ... Three projected starters in the secondary were out with injuries: Grant Delpit, Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson. ... LB Jacob Phillips left in the third quarter with a knee injury.

Ravens: Tackle Ronnie Stanley left in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He did not return. ... CB Jimmy Smith (back spasms) was added to the injury list Sunday morning and listed as questionable, but he avoided the inactive list and played.

UP NEXT

Browns: It's a quick turnaround for Cleveland, which hosts the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.

Ravens: A road trip to Houston next Sunday. Baltimore is 9-2 overall against the Texans, who opened Thursday with a loss in Kansas City.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Cubs' Mills through 6 hitless innings vs Brewers
Chicago Cubs pitcher Alec Mills has completed six hitless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers
4:22PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Racial injustice themes on display in empty NFL stadiums
NFL teams opening their seasons in empty stadiums knelt, locked arms or raised fists in protest for pregame ceremonies on the first full Sunday of the football season
4:21PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: Thiem expects close match in US Open final
Dominic Thiem says he expects another close match between he and Alexander Zverev in the U.S. Open final, which has now begun
4:21PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP source: D'Antoni tells Rockets he's not coming back
A person with knowledge of the situation says Mike D’Antoni has told the Houston Rockets that he won't be back as coach with them next season
3:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hamilton wins hectic Tuscan GP, demands justice for Taylor
Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton kept his cool to win a crash-marred Tuscan Grand Prix for the 90th win of his incredible career to move one behind Michael Schumacher’s record
3:16PM ( 1 hour ago )
Giants Alex Dickerson cleared to play after positive test
Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson received news of a positive test result for the coronavirus on Friday moments before he had been set to play for San Francisco against the Padres and knew it couldn’t be right
3:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: Some players kneel, others stay in locker rooms
Some players and at least one coach took a knee during the national anthems before NFL games today to bring attention to social injustices
1:38PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: 2020 NFL season is here at long last
The 2020 NFL season is kicking off today after a strange offseason that included remote meetings and no preseason games because of the coronavirus pandemic
1:11PM ( 3 hours ago )
Titans' Henry faces toughest foe and friend Monday in Denver
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry led the NFL in rushing last year but his worst game came in a loss at Denver
12:29PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Saints, running back Alvin Kamara agree on 5-year extension
The New Orleans Saints says running back Alvin Kamara has agreed to a five-year extension
3:18PM ( 1 day ago )
Titans top draft pick arrested, charged with drunken driving
Tennessee Titans rookie Isaiah Wilson has been arrested and charged with drunken driving after he was spotted doing “donuts” in an intersection before crashing into a concrete wall
11:24AM ( 1 day ago )
Chiefs, Texans booed as racial justice stand sparks outrage
The NFL’s new stance encouraging players to take a stand against racial injustice got its first test as some fans of the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs booed during a moment of silence to promote the cause, touching off a fresh debate on how players should use their voice
9:35PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Cubs' Mills through 6 hitless innings vs Brewers
Chicago Cubs pitcher Alec Mills has completed six hitless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers
4:22PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Racial injustice themes on display in empty NFL stadiums
NFL teams opening their seasons in empty stadiums knelt, locked arms or raised fists in protest for pregame ceremonies on the first full Sunday of the football season
4:21PM ( 12 minutes ago )
The Latest: Thiem expects close match in US Open final
Dominic Thiem says he expects another close match between he and Alexander Zverev in the U.S. Open final, which has now begun
4:21PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Newton runs for 2 TDs, Patriots hold off Dolphins 21-11
Cam Newton rushed for two touchdowns and the New England Patriots held on to beat the Miami Dolphins 21-11
4:13PM ( 21 minutes ago )
AP EXPLAINS: Biden's sizable but not radical tax plans
President Donald Trump describes Democratic challenger Joe Biden as a “tool” of “radical socialists” who are bent on taxing every American business and household into bankruptcy
3:28PM ( 1 hour ago )