Back in action after a 15-day Covid-19 layoff, Lamar Jackson directed a relentless rushing attack that the Baltimore Ravens hope will be the first big step in a run to the playoffs, but admitted he is still experiencing symptoms of the disease.
Jackson ran for 94 yards and a touchdown, and the Ravens returned from their Covid-19 outbreak to amass 294 yards rushing in a 34-17 rout of the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday night.
Playing for the first time since 22 November following a positive test for the potentially deadly virus, Jackson carried 13 times and threw for two scores. He was one of 23 Ravens to spend time on the reserve/Covid-19 list while four different strains of the virus swept through the organization.
“I still can’t really taste or smell, but I’m good,” Jackson said. “I feel good to be back with my guys. It was like two weeks I ain’t seen them.”
Although the Ravens still have a half-dozen players on the Covid-19 list, the team felt complete for the first time in weeks.
“It’s like when you go on a family vacation and one of your family members get sick and you can’t bring them,” rookie linebacker Patrick Queen said. “You’re down in the dumps.”
The game was played on Tuesday night because Baltimore’s previous game against Pittsburgh last Wednesday was pushed back three times while the Ravens had at least one player test positive for 10 consecutive days.
The game was supposed to feature Ravens receiver Dez Bryant going against his former team, but Bryant left during warmups and was scratched with what Baltimore termed “an illness.”
Bryant wrote on Twitter that he tested positive for Covid-19 and later posted: “Yea I’m going to go ahead and call it a quit for the rest of the season… I can’t deal with this.” He subsequently posted a series of tweets, including, “Yea I’m coming back… I’m being smart.”
If Jackson was rusty or stale after missing a game, it was tough to tell by his performance. “The one thing you do know about Lamar: You’re going to get everything he’s got,” Harbaugh said. “That’s all you can ask for.”