"I'm trying to taste that victory for my birthday on Monday," said Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson who would be turning 22-years old on Monday. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)
Maxx Williams was 2 yards shy of enjoying his first career rushing touchdown Sunday.
As the upback on first-and-goal at the Cleveland Browns’ 2-yard line in the second quarter, the 6-foot-4, 252-pound tight end took a handoff from rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and ran off right tackle.
But he was stopped by outside linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah for no gain just before the two-minute warning. Two plays later, Jackson’s leap from the 1 was thwarted by defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who knocked the ball from Jackson’s grasp before he crossed the goal line. The Browns recovered the fumble at the 7, but a potential game-changing return for a touchdown was whistled dead by the officials.
Only 11 players remain from the last Ravens team that made the playoffs in 2014. Those survivors are counseling younger teammates to cherish the opportunity as they prepare to play the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Williams, who has two career touchdown catches, chastised himself for failing to punch the ball into the end zone.
“I should have dove in,” he said. “I just tried to plow my way in. I tried to get in. It just wasn’t my day to get into the end zone.”
Suggs joins T. Young as practice absences
Slot cornerback Tavon Young sat out his second consecutive practice Thursday because of a nagging groin injury. He was joined by outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who was absent for non-injury related reasons after fully participating Wednesday.
Seven-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda returned Thursday after enjoying Wednesday off as a veteran and practiced fully. Left guard Alex Lewis (left shoulder) and wide receiver Chris Moore (shoulder) were full participants for the second straight day.
Moore’s return after he sat out two kick returns in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win was welcomed by special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg.
“We’re thankful Chris practiced yesterday,” Rosburg said Thursday. “We’re looking forward to having him back.”
» Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield attacked the Ravens pass defense for 376 yards and three touchdowns. While that performance also included three interceptions, defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said it was an uncharacteristic showing from a unit that ranked first in the NFL against the pass.
“It’s like guys just started popping up out of the ground wide open,” he said. “I think that was uncharacteristic of how we played. Like I said, it’s the power of ‘we.’ We all take responsibility for it, and we’re in the process of fixing what happened, and we’ll move on.”
» After a five-game stretch with only one takeaway, the Ravens defense has forced 10 turnovers in the past six games, including two interceptions and one fumble recovery in a 22-10 win against the Chargers on Dec. 22.
Safety Eric Weddle said the defense is taking advantage of situations ripe for takeaways.
“Some of that is us forcing the issue a little bit more, and some is getting the opportunities with the pressure, with the quarterbacks getting hit, the quarterbacks down in games, and they’re forcing the ball up a little bit more,” he said Wednesday. “It’s been a point of emphasis all season, but especially after the bye, to pick it up because where we’re at in the season, we felt turnovers and shoring up the red zone were huge components to making a run at this thing. Over the last four weeks, we’ve done that. It’s obviously a huge part of our success, and we have to continue that to have a chance.”
» Chargers starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane did not practice for the second straight day for non-injury related reasons. Four starters in safety Jahleel Addae (shoulder), left guard Dan Feeney (knee), running back Melvin Gordon (ankle) and right tackle Sam Tevi (groin) were full participants for the second day in a row.