The only thing that could stop Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first half of the team’s road game against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night was his cleats.
From the team’s opening drive, Jackson had trouble with his footing at FirstEnergy Stadium, slipping on dropbacks and runs in the open field. At the end of the Ravens’ fourth possession, which was set back by a slip from Jackson that led to a sack, he was visibly frustrated as he returned to the sideline.
But on the team’s final possession of the first half, he responded, finding tight end Mark Andrews on a rollout to his right for a 39-yard catch-and-run on third down. One play later, he scored on a 17-yard scramble, giving the Ravens a 21-14 lead heading into halftime.
Jackson opened the team’s first drive of the second half with a pair of white cleats, replacing the black pair he wore at the beginning of the game. The results were the same.
The Ravens delivered a quick four-play, 75-yard scoring drive to open the second half, highlighted by a 44-yard run by Jackson. Running back Gus Edwards scored on a 19-yard touchdown run to give the Ravens a 28-14 lead.
The reigning league Most Valuable Player had 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns on nine carries in the 47-42 win, his highest total this season. His career high is 152 yards in a 23-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 last season.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after the game that Jackson switched to 7-stud cleats, longer cleats which allow for better traction on grass.
“[The field] was in good shape, it’s just a looser field,” Harbaugh said. “It was a little bit moist and everything and we did slip quite a bit.”
“I changed [the cleats] after halftime,” Jackson said. “We had gotten a long sack, a long sack. And I tried to make something happen, I ended up slipping. It wasn’t the perfect cleats for the grass. I made a change and put on some better cleats and I didn’t have that problem anymore.”