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How Colts are preparing for Lamar Jackson, new-look Ravens offense

The last time the Colts and Ravens squared off, Lamar Jackson had a career day, notching over 500 scrimmage yards and scoring four touchdowns.

Buck Chasing Lamar

The last time the Colts went to M&T Bank Stadium to face the Baltimore Ravens, they lost in an overtime heartbreaker.

Despite going into the fourth quarter with a 22-9 lead, they ended up falling 31-25 in overtime of their 2021 Week 5 matchup.

In that game, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 37 of his 43 passes for 442 yards and threw four touchdowns. He also rushed for 62 yards.

"It was a dogfight," safety Julian Blackmon said. "It's a dual-threat quarterback, so at the end of the day, we just got to be on our keys because these guys will do a lot of motion and a lot of trick shifts. So, we just got to have our eyes in the right place.

"I think for the most part we played very well until we let them get a little confidence and that's how the game goes. When you get a little bit of confidence, teams start just throwing stuff. So, we got to be prepared for anything and make sure that we prepare well."

In the nearly two years since that game, a lot has changed for both teams, particularly for the Colts. They hired Gus Bradley to be their defensive coordinator following the 2021 season and they now have a dual-threat quarterback of their own in rookie Anthony Richardson.

Like Jackson, a play never feels over when Richardson is on the field because, at a moment's notice, he could take off and run for a big gain.

"I've said it since day one, Anthony's pocket awareness - he's really good in the pocket with escaping the pocket and little things like that," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said.

Getting to line up against Richardson almost every day at practice keeps the defense on its toes. However, that unpredictability pays dividends when games like this Sunday's pop up on the schedule.

"I just think more so athletically, both of them [are] running quarterbacks," linebacker Shaquille Leonard said. "They both can throw the ball and when they get out of the pocket, they can beat you with their feet."

As for changes in Baltimore, their biggest differences are the players Jackson will be throwing the ball to. Of the nine players to catch a pass from Jackson during that 2021 game, the only two who are still on the team are tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Devin Duvernay.

As has been the case for most of their careers, Andrews was Jackson's top target, catching 11 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Looking to rein him in this time around, Blackmon said if they can do that, they're going to have a good game.

"I think that's just being aware of where he is at all times because he's his [Lamar's] number one target if not number 4, Zay Flowers," Blackmon said. "And so, we got to make sure that we understand what they're trying to do and when they're trying to do it. And I think we'll be okay."

In addition to Andrews, the Colts will have to worry about slowing down three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and first round picks Rashod Bateman (2021) and Zay Flowers (2023).

Never one to back down from any receiver, cornerback Kenny Moore II said it doesn't matter who the Ravens trot out onto the field as long as the secondary does its job.

"Football is football," Moore II said. "It's no different than what we did last week. You go out there, you play the best ball that you can and we play as a unit. We don't really focus on names or whoever it is out there. It's a nameless, faceless opponent. So, we just gotta do our best to get the call in and communicate with each other. And then once we do that, we'll be good playing together."

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