OWINGS MILLS, Md -- What will Lamar Jackson do for an encore performance?
The rookie first-round pick got his first start for the injured Joe Flacco and shined in his debut. Jackson set a franchise record with 117 yards rushing as a quarterback in a 24-21 victory over the Bengals.
Jackson will have the opportunity to take the next step in his development Week 12 against the Raiders with Flacco expected to miss the game with an injured hip.
Jackson ran the ball 27 times, the most by any quarterback since 1960. He also completed 13 of 19 passes for 150 yards with an interception.
While coach John Harbaugh acknowledged the high number of carries for a quarterback, he is confident Jackson is equipped to handle any type of workload, whether running or throwing the ball.
“You don’t want your quarterback getting hit that much,” a feisty Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference. “It’s not going to last that way, so I think that’s pretty self-evident.”
Jackson was able to gain yards even though Cincinnati stocked the box to contain him. Nonetheless, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis concurred a running quarterback is not a sustainable option in the NFL.
“Quarterbacks don't run forever in the NFL,” Lewis said. “Sooner or later, they get hurt, and they don't run the same. But, today, he could run, and he did a good job."
While much the attention has been on Jackson’s performance, fellow rookie Gus Edwards also had his best game, finishing with 115 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. It was the first time Baltimore had a pair of 100-yard rushers in a game since Dec. 23, 2012 against the New York Giants.
Overall, Baltimore had 265 yards rushing, which helped the team avoid its first three-game home losing streak since 2007.
“That’s just a credit to the players. I just feel like however you move the ball is good,” Harbaugh said. “There are different ways to do it, and you do it based on your personnel and what’s available to you as a coach. You try to figure that out – who you’re playing against and what your guys can do well. The coaches do the best they can to put a game plan together, and sometimes it’s run, sometimes it’s pass. You want it to be a mix, you know, both.
The victory over the Bengals snapped a three-game losing streak and moved Baltimore (5-5) into the sixth and final playoff spot. Harbaugh, however, is not concerned about the postseason scenarios.
“You have a five-way tie at 5-5 for sixth place [after] Week, what, 10? There are six more games to play,” Harbaugh said. “It will be determined in the next six weeks. Nothing is over, so all of you guys who counted us out, we aren’t out. We’re not dead. Sorry. And anybody who thinks that we have it clinched, no.”
-- LT Ronnie Stanley had to leave the game several times with a sprained ankle, according to coach John Harbaugh. His absence disrupted the flow of the line. Stanley was limited in practice the prior week after missing the previous game against the Steelers in Week 9. His status is uncertain for the upcoming game against the Raiders. “He’s a young player, a very talented guy,” Harbaugh said. “From the physicality and a finish standpoint – those are things that he’s really been focusing on this year. It seems to be paying off.”
-- RB Gus Edwards had a breakout game finishing with 115 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. The undrafted rookie was promoted from practice squad on Oct. 13 when running back De'Lance Turner was placed on IR. Edwards could get an opportunity to start Week 12 against the Raiders. “He has been practicing great. He’s been playing well on special teams,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
-- RT James Hurst (back) has missed his fourth consecutive games after being held out of practice last week. Hurst is a valuable lineman capable of playing multiple positions. His status against the Raiders is uncertain.
-- LG Alex Lewis made his second consecutive start after missing the last two games because of a pinched nerve in his neck. Lewis had to briefly leave the game with an undisclosed injury and was replaced by rookie Bradley Bozeman. However, Lewis was able to play on the final offensive drive of the fourth quarter.
-- QB Joe Flacco missed his first game of the season because of an injured hip. Rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson started in his place and set the franchise record for yards rushing by a quarterback in a game with 117. Flacco will also likely be inactive for the following game against the Raiders, according to coach John Harbaugh. “Yes, it will be tough for him this week coming,” Harbaugh said when asked about Flacco’s status.