With Lamar Jackson as their offensive maestro, the Ravens found a rhythm Sunday that silenced the NFL's top-ranked defense.
Jackson's immense dual threat ability was on full display during the Ravens' 28-3 victory Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, as he ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more, and calmly directed Baltimore's offense against a defense that had been having its way.
The Browns' defense that tormented Joe Burrow and the Bengals in Week 1, holding them to three points, couldn't contain Jackson. He got plenty of help from tight end Mark Andrews (five catches, 80 yards, two touchdowns) and a run game led by Gus Edwards (48 yards) and Justice Hill (33 yards).
But it was Jackson who did the heavy lifting, making checks at the line of scrimmage, and keeping his poise against Cleveland's ferocious pass rush led by All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett. The Browns didn't have enough answers, but Jackson did.
"This defense is really a challenge and Lamar kept his poise," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He was running the show out there. He was the point guard. He was the general manager, making his calls, making the changes.
"it's everybody on offense, but against that defense that tries to stop you before you getting going? That's their M.O. To not allow that to happen ... for Lamar to handle that, Dawg Pound behind him? That's what makes him the quarterback he is and that's what won us the game."
Being a perfectionist, Jackson wasn't ready to heap that kind of praise on himself. But he was much more satisfied with how the offense operated coming off a disappointing 22-19 overtime loss against the Colts, in which the Ravens didn't score on their final four possessions and fumbled on four straight drives.
But against Cleveland, the Ravens had two long touchdown drives in the second quarter that went for 93 yards and 74 yards respectively, marching down the field with precision. Jackson capped both drives with touchdown runs, and his throwing was on point all day (15 or 19, 186 yards, no interceptions).
One of Jackson's signature plays came on second-and-26 after a sack, when he bought time by scrambling and found Zay Flowers for a 43-yard completion to set up Baltimore's third touchdown.
"I was trying to make something happen," Jackson said. "We didn't want it to be second-and-26. Zay made a great play and the linemen gave me a lot of time."
Flowers gave most of the credit to Jackson for making plays that many other quarterbacks can't.
"It's something we work on, you know Lamar's going to run around and create plays," Flowers said. "I saw him running and just shot all the way to the corner. Then when we get down there, Lamar's going to do whatever it takes to get into the end zone."
After Jackson scored twice himself, he found Andrews for touchdown catches that went for seven yards and 18 yards respectively. The great chemistry between Andrews and Jackson was on display, especially on Andrews' catch in the back of the end zone where Jackson threw the ball high where only Andrews could soar to get it.
"He's special," Andrews said of Jackson. "I thought he played an incredible game. He was just able to continually find people and extend plays time and again.
"He's the full quarterback. He's also able to do so many things other quarterbacks can't do. Lamar Jackson's second to none."
Jackson wasn't pleased with himself last week after he lost a fumble which was part of Baltimore's demise. Sunday was more like what Jackson expects from himself.
The Ravens (3-1) already have two road wins in the AFC North and hope to keep the momentum going when they visit Pittsburgh in Week 5. Jackson won't be resting on this performance, in his quest to give many more opponents sleepless nights in a new offense that he's gaining comfort with every week.
"Last week, I was just immature, so [I] just have to be week-in and week-out consistent with those situations," Jackson said. "Me being a quarterback and me having the ball in my possession every drive, [I] just have to keep getting better at that and just keep staying focused.
"There's still room to grow for us. We're still building. We had mishaps on the field. We had a fumble that gave the ball back to the defense. I thought our defense made a great stop. I feel like we left points on the board. Every week we've been playing, I felt like we've been leaving points on the board because of little miscommunications and mishaps, but we just need to keep focusing, keep getting better. We got the W, so I feel like we played well."