Against Browns' top-ranked defense, Lamar Jackson 'was the general' in Ravens' dominant 28-3 win

People snickered when Lamar Jackson said he believed the Baltimore Ravens offense could score 70 points in a game.

It wasn't the most ridiculous thing to laugh at either, considering the Ravens' reputation for defense and only periodically putting on a show offensively — even with the electrifying Jackson under center.

Not only that, Baltimore was going up against a Cleveland Browns defense that had taken the league by storm and given up only one touchdown through its first three games. The Ravens heard all about the Browns being the new top dog in the division.

Then, Jackson and company went into Cleveland, and put up almost half of those points in the Ravens' 28-3 win against the Browns on Sunday. Baltimore did so missing starting receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, left tackle Ronnie Staley, running back J.K. Dobbins is out for the season and right tackle Morgan Moses was injured during the game.

"To operate against this defense takes a lot of poise," head coach John Harbaugh, who won his 150th game, told reporters after the game. "He was running the show out there.”

Cleveland was without starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was downgraded ahead of the game, and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson made his first career start.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scores a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin)
Lamar Jackson put on a show, scoring two rushing touchdowns and two more passing, in the Baltimore Ravens' 28-3 win over the Cleveland Browns. (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin)

Jackson followed up his two-rushing-touchdown performance last week with two more scores on the ground against Cleveland. He's had six such performances in his six-year career, and three have been against the Browns (also 2018 and 2020). Two of those three performances were in Cleveland.

In addition to those two touchdowns, Jackson had 27 rushing yards on nine carries and threw two more touchdowns to tight end Mark Andrews in the rout. Jackson was 15-of-19 for 186 yards through the air. It was the first time in Jackson's career he had two rushing and passing touchdowns in the same contest.

The win gives the Ravens sole possession of first place in the AFC North at 3-1 (2-0), while the Browns now look up at 2-2 (1-2).