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Jackson returns to save the Ravens with a 47-42 win over the Browns. Photo: Yardbarker

Jackson returns to save Ravens with 47-42 win over Browns

Lamar Jackson's only thought was to rescue his teammates. Like any other superhero.

Jackson emerged from the locker room, saved the game and maybe Baltimore's season with a 47-42 win over the Cleveland Browns in a wild, back-and-forth Monday night game in which the teams combined to tie a 98-year-old NFL record.

Back on the field after being sidelined by cramps, Jackson threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown and then set up Justin Tucker's 55-yard field goal with two seconds left as the Ravens (8-5) stayed in the playoff picture.

A game dripping with playoff intensity delivered with endless drama and numerous twists, none bigger than Jackson running back onto the field for a fourth-down play after his backup, Trace McSorley, had suffered a knee injury.

Jackson first hit Brown for the TD and then, after getting the ball back with 1:04 left, got Baltimore in position for Tucker, who made 70 straight field goals inside 40 yards before missing last week. He made this one look pretty routine, providing an uplifting moment for the Ravens after they spent the past two weeks dealing with a virus outbreak and numerous scheduling changes.

It was a gut punch for the Browns (9-4), who had rallied from a 14-point deficit to take the lead while Jackson was out.

The Browns had one last chance after Tucker's kick, but a series of laterals on the final play ended with safety that affected gamblers all over the country. The Ravens were favored by three on the opening line.

“There can either be good or bad to come from this,” said Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, whose 22-yard TD pass to Kareem Hunt with 1:04 left tied it. "You can start pointing fingers, but that’s not this team. We know that we need to fight and make the plays to win when we need to.”

The NFL's top two rushing teams combined for nine rushing touchdowns, tying a league record set in 1922 by Rock Island and Evansville and then Racine and Louisville.

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Photo: Cleveland

Jackson rushed for two touchdowns and 124 yards. He completed just 11 passes, but five of them came after he returned from the cramps.

With the Ravens down 42-35, Jackson came running back onto the field after McSorley suffered what looked like a serious leg injury when he slipped on a slick FirstEnergy Stadium field that was tough for players to cut on all night.

Jackson spent the first half slipping all over the place before changing cleats.

With no margin for error on fourth-and-5, Jackson calmly rolled to his right — and after getting the Browns to think he was going to run — he found a wide-open Brown in the middle of the field.

"That was a big-time play. We needed that," tight end Mark Andrews said. "It’s hard to describe this game because everyone was doing their thing. Just a lot of fun.”

Even after Jackson's throw, Mayfield wasn't going to be denied. He drove the Browns 75 yards, hitting Hunt for the score.

Jackson then showed why he's a superstar.

The reigning NFL MVP completed two straight passes to Andrews, who missed the past two games with COVID-19, for 28 yards and moved the Ravens in range for Tucker, one of the most accurate kickers in league history.

Mayfield had shaken off a costly interception and brought the Browns back, scrambling from the pocket a la Jackson and scoring on a run with 6:33 left.

The Browns were beaten 38-6 by the Ravens in Week 1, but Cleveland looked like a different team — like a playoff team.

“That's a really good football team with a lot of heart,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s a game that’s going to go down in history. Our guys had faith and trust and belief and sometimes that’s what it takes.”

Social media reacts to Ravens-Browns instant classic

Game of the year? It will be hard to top the Baltimore Ravens' 47-42 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, a game that had twists and turns throughout topped off by a heroic comeback.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson retreated to the locker room while dealing with cramps but returned late in the fourth quarter to throw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown and get Baltimore in range for Justin Tucker's game-winning, 55-yard field goal. Jackson finished with a 99.5 Total QBR. He has four career games with at least a 99.0 QBR, the most of any starting QB since tracking began 15 seasons ago.

The drama had the sports world buzzing on social media, including a big Browns fan who relocated to Los Angeles a few years back.

LeBron James tweeted on his Twitter: "Wow what a GAME!!!"

Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) "This is why I love watching the NFL! Two great young quarterbacks, Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield, dueling it out on MNF! Looking forward to seeing them for years to come."

Dez Bryant "Great team win!

A brief history of Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns, American professional gridiron football team based in Cleveland that plays in the American Football Conference (AFC) of the National Football League (NFL). The Browns have won four NFL championships (1950, 1954–55, 1964) and four All-America Football Conference (AAFC) championships (1946–49) according to Britannica.

The Browns were founded in 1946 and, as the result of a fan contest to choose their moniker, were named after their first head coach, Paul Brown, who was already a popular figure in Ohio, having coached the Ohio State University to a national collegiate football championship. The Browns were originally members of the AAFC and won the league title in each of the four years of the AAFC’s existence.

Top 5 notable Browns' players

1. Edge Myles Garrett

Garrett was on pace to have a great 2019 season before the helmet fiasco ended his season early. I believe he will have a huge bounce-back season and showcase why he is one of the best edge rushers in the league. His combination of speed, power, athleticism, and skill is unmatched in the NFL. He should be a game wrecker this year and provide consistent pressure on the opposing offense, Waiting For Nex Year cites.

2. RB Nick Chubb

Chubb will be the centerpiece of the Browns offense. The offense will be built off the run game and Chubb will be leading that ground game. He is one of the best backs in the NFL with the power and speed combination that few possess. Chubb should build off his strong season last year to have an even better year this season. The new offensive scheme should make him a focal point of the offense and put him in a great position to be successful.

3. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

I expect a huge year from Beckham. He suffered from nagging injuries all of last season, but he still was productive, although not to his usual production level. After getting surgery to fix his injury problem, I believe a fully healthy Beckham will ball out this year. I believe he will return to the status of being one of the best receivers in the league. He should be a big play producer this year.

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Photo: Dawgs By Nature

4. CB Denzel Ward

Denzel Ward started off the season slowly, but he finished his sophomore season very strong. I think Ward takes the leap this year to become one of the best corners in the NFL. He has great man coverage skills that should elevate him toward the top of the list amongst all corners.

5. LG Joel Bitonio

Bitonio is Mr. Reliable at left guard. He is a consistent lineman who can be counted on to get the job done. With the switch to the zone blocking scheme, Bitonio’s movement skills should be utilized well in the new scheme. So, we should see an improvement from him this year. He will also be aided by the better talent around him on the line.

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