Baltimore 47 Cleveland 42

Freaky L if ya need him

Jim Rome
December 15, 2020 - 9:29 am
Lamar Jackson

USA Today


Baltimore 47, Cleveland 42. That was the game of the year last night. And if it’s not the best game we’ll see all year, I wait to see what’s better than that. Because that was incredible.

And yes, I know there’s a prisoner of the moment feel to sports these days. That people talk about whatever happened the night before as if it was the greatest thing ever, while probably knowing that they’ll forget about it a few weeks later.

But that really is a game that’s going to be remembered for a long time.

Because this game had everything: Division rivals. Primetime in December. Multiple lead changes. An iconic return from the locker room. A game-winning field goal in crazy winds.

The heavyweight fight cliché has been absolutely beaten into the ground, buried, dug up, beaten into the ground, and buried again. And that’s too bad. Because it is the perfect description for last night. Two teams just standing in the middle of the ring, standing flat-footed, and trading haymakers: like some Rocky and Apollo Creed bleep. No defense, no lateral movement no one looking to slip punches, just two heavyweights, looking to land the kill shot. 

And you could tell that from the very first drive. The Browns went 81 yards in 11 plays and it was a Kevin Stefanski special. Mixing the run and the pass, throwing in a wide receiver pass, and then closing it out with a Nick Chubb touchdown run.

That drive was a clinic on why Stefanski is awesome and this team is awesome.

But Baltimore responded and they did it in the way that they absolutely had to – with Lamar Jackson looking like Lamar Jackson. The reigning MVP was in the building last night. That was the old Lamar Jackson, spreading the ball around in the air and absolutely carving up the defense on the ground.

You could tell on the first few plays, Baker Mayfield wasn’t’ the only dude who woke up feeling dangerous. Watching Lamar, I thought damn, dude looks spry. Then I thought bleep spry this dude is flat out explosive tonight. This dude is wrecking shop and playing with an unbelievable sense of urgency. Except those time he was on roller skates. But other than that, his quicks were back: like Mike Vick quick: and you just knew if they got him another pair of cleats, the Browns defense was in for a long night. 

Any defense would be when Lamar Jackson is playing like that. Then Jackson scored on a 5-yard touchdown early. 

And then chasing it in the second quarter with another touchdown run.

And then the Tecmo Bowl moves in the third quarter.

That is the Lamar Jackson we know, and love, and fear. That is the guy who was the best player in the league last year and the guy who hasn’t quite been around at times this year.

It doesn’t matter who you were rooting for, it was good to have that guy back. Because damn, he is so electric. So explosive. All right, maybe EXPLOSIVE is a poor word choice. Or maybe it’s the right choice.

Because just, like that, he was gone. He left to go back to the locker room to deal with cramps. Allegedly. I mean, when they first dropped that report, that he was dealing with cramps, my first thought was, cramps? In December? In the cold? What? Hold that thought…, I’ll get into the conspiracy theories in a moment, but while he was dealing with whatever he was dealing with, the Browns went to work.

They came back from a tough interception from Baker Mayfield, his first in what seemed like forever that left them with their backs against the wall, down 14 going into the fourth quarter. 

And they came out swinging.  And landing. Touchdown to Hollywood Higgins and a two-point conversion. Followed a touchdown run from Mayfield. That was a huge moment, not just in that game but in the season, because it drove home the point that this Browns team isn’t going away. They aren’t going to be happy with good job, good effort. They’re going to grind. And battle. And they’ve got heart.  

And it looked like they were going to rip it. Because they had all the momentum at their back and they had Lamar Jackson in the locker room. And on the next series, the Cleveland defense had Baltimore in a 3rd and 10, but backup Trace McSorley hit Willie Snead for 13 yards to keep the drive alive. That was clutch. Clutch as hell for McSorley to come off the bench ice cold, late in the fourth and convert. 

But then, on 3rd and 2 from the Cleveland 41, this happened.

Fourth and 5. Game on the line. Season practically on the line. And Lamar Jackson goes legend. 

And if the game ended right there, it would’ve been incredible. It would’ve been unbelievable. But it didn’t. Because Cleveland came flying right back.

Mayfield to DPJ. Mayfield to Jarvis Landry. Mayfield to Kareem Hunt. And Mayfield to Hunt one more time.

Clutch as hell. Brass as hell. And for any of you dopes thinking that the Browns weren’t ready for primetime, that they got fat on cupcakes, you can shut the hell up right about now. Because that drive was brass as hell.

In fact, the only thing bad about it and you had to knew right when it happened, is that they actually scored too quickly; that they left too much time on the clock for Lamar Jackson. And there was no way that Jackson was going to let Baltimore lose last night. Nobody and nothing was going to keep Lamar down last night. Not explosive diarrhea errrrr, devastating cramps, or anything else. This dude was possessed. This dude just was not going to be denied. This dude was not going to let his team lose or his season potentially end.

Four quick passes, a spike, and this.

Justin Tucker is on another level.

So clutch. So impressive. Especially when you consider the crazy wind that was whipping around. And the fact that Baltimore absolutely had to have that. After they beat the Cowboys last week, I said I wasn’t impressed because they only beat the Cowboys.

Now they’ve beaten a good team, on the road, when their star quarterback was dealing with something, and I’m impressed. I’m hella impressed.

And I cannot say enough about Lamar Jackson. For three quarters, his offensive line was struggling, his receivers were struggling, so he put up a new Monday Night Football quarterback rushing record with 124 yards and two touchdowns. And he missed a big chunk of the game. And then came back and threw for more yards in the final two minutes than he did the previous 58.  Like I said, with their season on the line, the MVP showed up last night. 

But if you’re looking to come in here and bury the Browns. Don’t. You can’t take that crap someplace else. Hell yes, this is a team that is way beyond moral victories, but that was still a strong night for the Cleveland Browns. Losing that game sucks, no doubt. It was the ultimate kick in the junk and blast to the package. But they underlined, again, that they are legit. They didn’t play their best game at all, they ate some serious punches, and they kept fighting their asses off. They kept getting up on the mat. 

Just know, they’re pissed that they lost. They’re pissed that they aren’t 10-3 this morning. And they should be. If they make a play, get the hell off the field defensively, they ARE 10-3 this morning. They should be 10-3 this morning. And the biggest reason they’re not is because. Is because. Lamar Jackson. And I’m not sure anything or anyone was beating Lamar Jackson last night. The Cleveland Browns. Explosive diarrhea, debilitating cramps. Anything. Speaking of the runs: I’ve always said explosive diarrhea is the great equalizer, even when I forgot I said it. But it did it. And it is. Or so I thought. Come to find out it, it’s not. Lamar Jackson is the great equalizer: because this dude was absolutely incredible last night, playing like he did with whatever he was dealing with.