OWINGS MILLS, Md. — One day later, John Harbaugh remained awed by Lamar Jackson’s sensational, spin-move 47-yard touchdown run that is the talk of the NFL, saying “It’s something that will be watched for many years to come.”
“You feel really privileged to be part of something like that,” Harbaugh added, but he quickly turned his focus to the Houston Texans (6-3), who visit M&T Bank Stadium Nov. 17 in a game with major playoff implications.
Jackson’s spin-move touchdown was the highlight of another remarkable day for Jackson, who led the Ravens to a 49-13 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals with a perfect passer rating (158.3, on 15-for-17 passing for 223 yards and three touchdowns) and a touchdown run for the ages.
That was the fifth straight win for the Ravens (7-2) and added to a Most Valuable Player candidacy that seems to gain momentum each week.
But as with the emotional win against the Patriots, Harbaugh knows there is no time to dwell on big wins or highlight-reel plays during the grind of the season.
“Houston’s watching the play, and they’re figuring out how they can stop all those kinds of plays, not just Lamar but the whole team,” Harbaugh said. “… You do take a minute and maybe look back at the highlight. You watch the tape and grade the tape, and then all eyes go to the next challenge.”
The Texans, who had a bye this past week, come to M&T Bank Stadium one game behind the Ravens and could jump the Ravens for the No. 2 overall seed in the AFC with a win, as they would then own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Harbaugh said there is “no greater challenge” than facing Texans talented quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose appearance opposite Jackson promises to make this one of the most anticipated matchups of Week 11, if not the entire NFL season.
Watson has completed 212 of 302 passes for 2,432 yards, with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions, and his passer rating of 107.1 ranks fourth in the league. He has also rushed 52 times for 279 yards and five touchdowns.
“He’s throwing the ball extremely well, he’s got tremendous poise in the pocket, he’s seeing the field, and he’s really hard to get down,” Harbaugh said.
“We’re going to have to do a great job of the way we rush the quarterback, of how we cover their really good receivers,” Harbaugh added. “It’s just a big challenge.”
HARBAUGH: PIERCE IS ‘DAY TO DAY’: Harbaugh said defensive lineman Michael Pierce is “day to day” after leaving the Bengals game early with a foot injury. “It won’t be a long-term injury, which is good news based on the MRI today,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a chance he’ll play on Sunday.”
The absence of Pierce, one of the Ravens’ top interior run-stuffers, could be significant against a Texans team that ranks No. 4 in the league in rushing. Carlos Hyde has 149 carries for 704 yards and three touchdowns.
Pierce has 21 tackles this season playing alongside Brandon Williams in the trenches for the Ravens. If he is sidelined, the Ravens could turn to two-player Patrick Ricard to play a larger role on defense.
MARSHALL SET TO COME OFF IR: Harbaugh said rookie cornerback Iman Marshall is expected to come off injured reserve this week and join the 53-man roster. Marshall, a fourth-round pick out of USC, has been out since training camp with a toe injury but returned to practice three weeks ago. Under the league’s IR rules, a player designated to return from IR can practice for three weeks and then must either move to the 53-man roster or remain on IR the entire season.
With Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Brandon Carr holding down the secondary, Marshall’s role most likely would be on special teams, where the Ravens have had some breakdowns.
“We plan on bringing him up [to the 53-man roster],” Harbaugh said. “Whether he’s active or not just kind of depends on how the roster shakes out. He’s practiced well, he’s healthy, and hopefully he can contribute.”
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