John Harbaugh stands by decision to play Lamar Jackson late in blowout win against Browns

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had no issue getting past the Cleveland Browns in their season opener on Sunday.” data-reactid=”16″>Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens had no issue getting past the Cleveland Browns in their season opener on Sunday.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Ravens flew to a dominant 38-6 win at M&amp;T Bank Stadium, and had mounted their 32-point lead just minutes into the fourth quarter after Jackson handed the ball off to running back J.K. Dobbins at the goal line.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”17″>The Ravens flew to a dominant 38-6 win at M&T Bank Stadium, and had mounted their 32-point lead just minutes into the fourth quarter after Jackson handed the ball off to running back J.K. Dobbins at the goal line. 

Jackson, however, remained in the game up until their final drive with just four minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Though some have criticized that decision — wondering why they would risk the reigning league MVP’s health given the circumstances — coach John Harbaugh isn’t bothered by that noise.

“Ten minutes left? Nah, I don’t think so,” Harbaugh said Monday, via ESPN. “It’s the National Football League. You look around the league and you’ll see not too many people are taking their quarterbacks out with 10 minutes left in the game in the National Football League. That’s historically true. There’s a lot of reasons for that. I don’t think I have to get into all the reasons for that. 

“For all the people that want to say that should be done, I’d have to disagree with that.”

‘We could take him out of the game at halftime, too’

Jackson had a tremendous performance on Sunday, going 20 of 25 for 275 yards and three touchdowns through the air and grabbing another 45 yards on the ground. 

Harbaugh pulled Jackson out early several times last season, including twice where he didn’t play in the fourth quarter at all. 

While he isn’t ruling that scenario out later in the year, he didn’t see a need to do so on Sunday — especially given that it was their first game of the season after every preseason game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of things can happen. I’ve seen teams come back in the fourth quarter,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN. “It’s the first game of the season. We’re trying to work on things as well. It’s just a criticism that you guys can keep asking me about and I’m going to keep telling you the same thing. I think if you study football and look at what other teams do, you’ll see that people don’t do that and there’s a reason for it.”

And if Harbaugh does pull Jackson early in the future, it’s not just because he’s trying to protect him.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“We could take him out of the game at halftime, too. That might keep him safer, too,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN. “But we’re not going to do that.”” data-reactid=”37″>“We could take him out of the game at halftime, too. That might keep him safer, too,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN. “But we’re not going to do that.”

Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore RavensLamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens
John Harbaugh is fine with his decision to keep Lamar Jackson in late during their blowout win against the Browns on Sunday. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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