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Lamar Jackson exposes Browns’ vaunted defense early in Ravens’ rout

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (right) was congratulated by wide receiver Zay Flowers after scoring one of his two rushing touchdowns.Kirk Irwin/Associated Press

Lamar Jackson ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more in Cleveland against the Browns’ top-ranked defense, leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 28-3 win Sunday.

The Browns played without injured quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Jackson scored untouched on runs of 10 yards and 2 yards and threaded a 7-yard scoring pass to tight end Mark Andrews with 11 seconds left before halftime as the Ravens (3-1) opened a 21-3 lead. Baltimore’s electrifying QB added an 18-yard TD pass to Andrews in the fourth quarter to put an exclamation point on the blowout.

The Browns (2-2) didn’t have Watson because of a right shoulder injury and had to start rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The fifth-round pick from UCLA looked overmatched in his NFL debut.


Cleveland’s offense, already missing star running back Nick Chubb for the season with a knee injury, gained just 166 yards — 53 on a meaningless final drive. Thompson-Robinson threw three interceptions and was sacked four times.

The Ravens had plenty of their own injuries and were missing six starters, including receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman. However, they still had Jackson — and he was more than enough.

Cleveland’s defense came in ranked No. 1 in virtually every major statistical category, but Jackson brought the Browns back to Earth. He finished 15 of 19 for 187 yards passing, added 27 yards rushing and made several spectacular plays, none bigger than his first TD throw to Andrews — over several defenders — in the back corner of the end zone.

Browns tight end David Njoku played despite suffering burns on his face and arm while lighting a fire pit at home Friday. Njoku, who caught a team-high six passes for 46 yards, arrived at the stadium wearing a mask to cover his injuries.

Texans 30, Steelers 6 — Rookie C.J. Stroud had another big game, throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Houston (2-2) to the win over Pittsburgh (2-2). It was the Texans’ first win at home since Dec. 26, 2021. Stroud, the second overall pick in the draft, continued his strong start and he threw a TD pass to get things going in a first half where the Texans built a 16-0 lead. Sunday was his second 300-yard passing game and he has thrown six touchdown passes with no interceptions in his first four games. The Steelers’ Kenny Pickett threw for 114 yards with an interception and struggled to move the offense before leaving late in the third quarter with a knee injury.


Titans 27, Bengals 3 — Ryan Tannehill threw for 240 yards and a touchdown and host Tennessee (2-2) rebounded from the franchise’s worst offensive performance in 49 years by routing Cincinnati (1-3). The Titans managed only 94 yards in losing a week earlier in Cleveland, and they bounced back strongly. They scored 27 unanswered points and led 24-3 at halftime, giving coach Mike Vrabel his first win in four tries against the Bengals. Derrick Henry (122 yards on 22 carries) ran 29 yards for a touchdown, and he also found rookie tight end Josh Whyle for a 2-yard TD on a jump pass from the wildcat just before halftime. Tennessee sacked Joe Burrow three times and stripped him of the ball.

Chargers 24, Raiders 17 — Khalil Mack set a franchise single-game record with six sacks, Justin Herbert accounted for three touchdowns, two by air and one by ground, and Los Angeles (2-2) held on to beat visiting Las Vegas (1-3). The NFL sacks record is seven, by Kansas City’s Derrick Thomas in 1990. The Chargers scored on four of their first five drives to build a 24-7 halftime lead. Las Vegas was driving for the tying touchdown when Asante Samuel Jr. picked off Aidan O’Connell’s pass at the Chargers’ 2-yard line with 2:33 remaining. With Jimmy Garoppolo in concussion protocol, O’Connell started and completed 24 of 38 passes for 238 yards and the pick.


Broncos 31, Bears 28 — Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns, Wil Lutz kicked a tiebreaking 51-yard field goal with just under two minutes remaining, and Denver (1-3) bounced back from one of the most lopsided losses in franchise history by rallying past host Chicago (0-4). The Broncos were coming off a 70-20 blowout by Miami that was franchise’s second-worst loss of the Super Bowl era, behind only a 51-0 pounding by the Raiders in 1967. Lutz’s kick capped a comeback from a 28-7, third-quarter deficit. Kareem Jackson then intercepted Justin Fields (career-high 335 yards, 4 TDs) with the Bears near midfield. Wilson threw for 223 yards on 21-of-28 passing.

Rams 29, Colts 23 — Matthew Stafford overcame a hip injury to throw a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Puka Nacua in overtime and give visiting Los Angeles (2-2) the victory against Indianapolis (2-2). The Rams rebounded after blowing a 23-point lead. Stafford (27 of 40, 319 yards, TD, INT) was injured while being driven into the ground in the third quarter. Following an interception on the next play, he wore a heating wrap around his waist and when he returned to the game was limping noticeably. Nacua had nine receptions for 163 yards. Rookie Anthony Richardson threw for two touchdowns (plus a 2-point conversion) and ran in another, but never got the ball in overtime.


Vikings 21, Panthers 13 — Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to Justin Jefferson and D.J. Wonnum returned Bryce Young’s fumble 51 yards for a momentum-changing touchdown, and visiting Minnesota (1-3) held on to beat Carolina (0-4). Cousins overcame two interceptions, including one that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown by Sam Franklin, and finished with 139 yards passing. The INT return came just three plays after Franklin was flagged for pass interference, setting the Vikings up with first and goal. Jefferson beat a Carolina secondary playing without three starters for 85 yards on six catches. Alexander Mattison ran for 95 yards and Harrison Smith had three sacks for Minnesota.

Jaguars 23, Falcons 7 — Calvin Ridley held on to a touchdown pass, after a couple of key drops the previous week, to help Jacksonville (2-2) beat Atlanta (2-2) at London’s Wembley Stadium. Besides defeating his old team, Ridley is also catching up after being suspended for the entire 2022 season for violations of the league’s gambling policy. Josh Allen had three sacks and Darious Williams returned an interception for a 61-yard score to help the Jaguars celebrate playing for the 10th time in London by snapping a three-game slide there. They held on as the Falcons tried to rally in the second half, with Trevor Lawrence finishing 23 of 30 for 207 yards and the TD pass to Ridley.