Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens starting quarterback on Sunday at Paycor Stadium. As simple and obvious as that sounds, that's something that hasn't happened since it last occurred all the way back in Jan. 2021 when Baltimore visited Cincinnati to demolish the Bengals with 38-3 final score.
Jackson went on to miss the next three games against the Bengals on the road in Dec. 2021 and last January on back-to-back matchups part of the regular season and the Wild Card round of the postseason.
"It's no excuses. We all have guys in the NFL that are getting paid to bust their behinds, so it is what it is. It's tough just because they're key players, but we have guys that are going to step up and lead us out there on that field and do what they're supposed to do."- Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
This weekend, Jackson will face the Bengals for the first time in more than 11 months after he started in Baltimore's win against the Bengals in Week 5 of the 2022 season.
Speaking to Cliff Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com ahead of this Sunday's matchup, Jackson said that there are "no excuses" for the Ravens entering the game when referring to the multiple starters that will be missing on Baltimore's side.
The Ravens released their final injury report for Week 2 on Friday ruling four starters out for Sunday, as well as listing tight end Mark Andrews as "questionable" to play following his absence from the season opener a few days ago. Andrews was injured in mid-August and has yet to make his 2023 debut while nursing a quad injury.
Outside of Andrews, the four starters ruled out by the Ravens on Friday are CB Marlon Humphrey, S Marcus Williams, OT Ronnie Stanley, and C Tyler Linderbaum, all of them key pieces in both the defensive and offensive sides of Baltimore's lineup.
Those four joined RB J.K. Dobbins (torn Achilles), LB Malik Hamm (ankle), CB Pepe Williams, RB Keaton Mitchell (shoulder), and LB Tyus Bowser (knee) on the shelves with all of them expected to play large roles this season before things took a turn for the bad last weekend.
Last year, the Ravens crashed out of the postseason before even getting things going as the Bengals sent them packing home in the AFC Wild Card game. Jackson was injured and couldn't play in that match. In fact, he missed the most crucial play of the game.
"I feel like it was my fault a little bit, because I had to go use the restroom. Get up, and by the time I’m walking to the bathroom, I’m hearing cheers. I’m like, ‘What happened? What happened?’ I look, and (No.) 94 running the other way. I almost hit my screen."- Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson was mad at himself for missing the crucial fumble-to-touchdown turnover, so mad that he wanted to annihilate his television right then and there. Sheesh.
The Ravens won't have many of their starters this Sunday, but they will have the most important one in Lamar Jackson leading the Flock to a victory in the Jungle and, we hope, a Super Bowl run in January.