Unpacking Baltimore Ravens Monday Night clash with the Browns

Ravens Schedule (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Ravens Schedule (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens dramatically beat the Cleveland Browns:

The Baltimore Ravens won. Two things were crystal clear to me on an otherwise brain-fogged Tuesday morning: I do infinitely better in my basic duties as a human being on more than three hours of sleep, and that Monday Night Football matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns was one that will continue in conversations and memes as long as those of us who watched it have even one breath left amongst us.

Playoff ramifications? Sure, it had those. A matchup between rivals? Pretty much a one-sided rivalry to this point, but much of Cleveland still hate the very essence of the Ravens organization, and they do share a division, so… yeah. Superstar players making superstar plays during superstar moments? Absolutely. A steaming controversy surrounding the gastrointestinal system of the biggest star of all?

Well, yeah. Duh.

This one checked all the boxes and portends a promising division rivalry between these two squads into the foreseeable future. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and his Ravens counterpart, defending MVP Lamar Jackson, were both nabbed in the first round of the 2018 NFL  Draft, and, barring the Steelers finding their quarterback of the future in short order or the Bengals finding a hidden stash of general organizational competence, the two look like they will be battling head-to-head for division supremacy for years to come.

And football watchers should take pleasure in that because both young signal-callers showed Monday night to have grit, determination, and competitive fire to back up their obvious physical skills. If last night was any indication of the future of these two franchises, we can expect a ton more games under the bright lights of primetime clashes, and memories to fill the souls and hearts of fanbases near and far.

As for the present, what can we gather from Monday night’s game, outside the show put on by the young quarterbacks? Well, both teams displayed outstanding rush offenses, which they have all season long, ranking at the top of the league.

They also showed that both teams don’t lie down, no matter who grabbed motivation by the proverbial horns at different times of the game. And both teams showed tremendous skill and grit — traits that typically lead teams to contend for playoff spots and more.

Both teams had some things go against them in this game at different points that could have led to a different game flow or result. The Browns saw an obvious face-mask by a Ravens defender not get called, and some missed kicks that were expected to be converted by an NFL kicker. The Ravens knocked out three fumbles without recovering a single one and saw a few questionable calls go against them in the first half, as well.  But guess what? Poop happens in the NFL.

You thought I was going to make a Lamar Jackson joke here, didn’t you?

As for Jackson, and things that didn’t take place in the alleged privacy of the locker room, this might have been his signature moment in the NFL. He dominated this game — via his electric legs in the first half, and his arm after returning from… well, whatever he happened to be returning from. His passing numbers were modest — 11-17 for 163 yards with that exhilarating touchdown pass to Marquise Brown upon his return from… well, you know.

Even when you throw in his 124 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, the numbers don’t do this performance justice. Jackson was his MVP-best, making key plays at key times and lifting his team to a win through his sheer will. He was no Number Two on this night.

See what I did there?

The bottom line:

This was a game for the ages, and all of us who watched it unfold knew instantly we were witnessing something special.

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The hope now is that we get treated to these kinds of battles twice a year-long into the future.