After a shaky performance last week against the Chiefs, quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 24 of 34 passes (70.6%) for 247 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s 40-25 loss to the Browns, but his streak of not throwing an interception ended at 248 passes.
Down 33-18 in the fourth quarter, Jackson was intercepted by safety James Whitehead while forcing a deep pass in double coverage to tight end Mark Andrews. Jackson was picked off two passes later on the offense’s next possession by defensive lineman Devaroe Lawrence after the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
The Browns played without three starters in the secondary — both starting cornerbacks missed the game because of hamstring injuries — but the Ravens offense couldn’t take advantage in the passing game.
For the second consecutive week, two of Jackson’s top targets — Andrews and rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown" — had quiet afternoons.
After becoming the first Ravens wide receiver since 2016 to record back-to-back 100-yard performances, Andrews has been held to seven catches for 46 yards and one touchdown in his past two games.
Andrews is also dealing with a lingering foot injury, which has forced him to miss practice and placed his game status in question for the past three weeks.
Brown has recorded six catches for 71 yards in his past two games after becoming the first player in NFL history to debut with multiple 40-yard receiving touchdowns.
Jackson said after Sunday’s game that similar to the Chiefs game, the Browns worked to take away the big pass plays the Ravens have exploited.
“We stuck to the game plan,” Browns cornerback T.J. Carrie said. “[We] packed the box as much as you can. Play overtop of No. 15 [Brown], don’t let him get anything cheap. Fight the ball downfield, so eventually, we would get some takeaways and turnovers."
The Ravens entered Sunday’s game without a single giveaway but turned the ball over three times.
Running back Mark Ingram II’s third-quarter fumble stopped a promising drive that entered Cleveland territory when the team was down 17-10. The Browns scored on the following possession to take a two-score lead.
“Mistakes happen," Jackson said. “We just got to go out there and punch it in. Shoot, I threw an out [route] to Marquise that hit the ground. Bad ball. If we would have kept that drive going, we would have scored points. It’s not a one-man show. It’s a team thing."
The offense hasn’t struggled mightily, but the unit’s need to score points has been amplified amid the defense’s mishaps.
When asked how this year differs from previous ones with the offense not being able to depend on the defense as frequently, Jackson interjected, saying, “[We] still can.”
“Like I said, our job is to score points,” Jackson added. “If that’s going on, we just got to punch it in a lot more. We’re not relying on our defense to go out there and stop everyone.”
“We’ve got to be better on offense and defense. We’ve got to help them out. It was just a bad game for us. We all have games like these. We’ve just got to come to work on Monday, watch the film, learn from it and get ready for Pittsburgh next week.”