Let’s get this done at the top. This is how you greet a player returning from the locker room after “cramps”:
Now that that’s done, the Ravens and Browns (it had to be the Browns, on so many goddamn levels) played a classic on Monday Night Football, if defense being optional is your kind of thing. And it is. Both teams went back and forth, with the lead changing — or a tie game — three times in the last seven minutes. It saw both Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, Jackson especially, making plays left and right until the last team with the ball won.
And there was even more of a hero narrative for Jackson, who had been laid low with COVID-19 just a couple weeks ago, pulling the Ravens even more out of that whole swamp of confusion and corruption that saw them playing on a Wednesday, and returning after the backup QB injured his knee. The first play back from the locker room saw Jackson sucker two Browns defensive backs to float a pass that even Marquise Brown couldn’t find a way to drop.
Drop. Float. Go for two. These are all things you’re going to be hearing and reading over the next couple of days about this win for Baltimore. We pretend otherwise, but we are a collection of children.
Maybe Jackson really did have cramps. That run to and from the locker room could be a guy who just couldn’t bend his legs. It also looks like that run we’ve all made the morning after a big night out to try and get back from the store or wherever we crashed the night before, and the stakes are LARGE. You’ve been there. You know that rushing will shrink the time to salvation, but you also know that rushing will also lessen your ability to clench and raise the risk of failure. Much like a harness horse, you have to run not your fastest as fast as you can. And you just know your attractive neighbor is going to be seen en route and you have to gauge what level of embarrassment you can continue your life with.
Either way, Jackson was either able to take the Mark Schlereth tactic or really focus his chi to cap off one drive and lead another to win the game. Willis Reed merely just had to limp around for a bit.
It was the most Browns loss (again, LEVELS). They had a chance to actually put themselves in a position to win the division, with another game against Pittsburgh on the schedule. Instead they couldn’t find a way to stop a QB who couldn’t move freely or receivers who couldn’t locate their hands.
Oh, and thanks to their last play that never had a chance and slowly moved backwards, much like our democracy, that ended in a safety, one that forced a lot of people from a push to a loss on the gambling front.
This game will be the next version of the Cleveland Tourism video.
Before the game, Roger Goodell emerged from his cave to see if he could spout more drivel. And it turns out, he could. First off, he gave the grand pronouncement that the NFL wouldn’t jump the line for vaccines, which is somewhere around announcing that NFL players will not be kicking your grandmother in the shins.
Then there was a lot on what the league will do about the Super Bowl in Tampa, and how Goodell sat in the stands for a quarter and “felt very safe.” Of course, anyone within 15 feet of Goodell would have been drone-striked into plasma.
Goodell tried to claim that the league had less than 1 percent positivity on their tests, which is true if you go by the number of tests. But everyone is being tested multiple times a week, if not every day. Strictly by numbers of people, the Ravens themselves almost put them over 1 percent.
The Super Bowl is going to be a mess, and Goodell clearly isn’t the guy to get in the way of it. He’s going to do what he’s done all season: Put in half-measures and a lot of theatrical protocols, and then white-knuckle it and pray that it doesn’t blow up in his face.