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Biggest Ravens stories of 2020: Lamar Jackson wins MVP unanimously originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
On the field, Lamar Jackson’s start to 2020 didn’t go as planned.
The Ravens lost to the Titans in the AFC Divisional Round, as criticism, unfounded or otherwise, of Jackson — who dropped to 0-2 in the playoffs as a starter — only intensified despite Jackson’s clear performance as the team’s best player that night.
But off the field just a few weeks later, he entered the history books.
In February, Jackson was named the league’s MVP like most around the league expected for quite some time. And not only that, he was just the second to ever do so unanimously, was the youngest to ever win the award and the first Raven to ever be named MVP.
The only other player in league history to be named unanimous MVP was former Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, after the 2010 season.
Jackson, who began the year with a quip of, “not bad for a running back,” after a blowout win over the Dolphins, dominated the league in 15 games as the starting quarterback. He threw for 3,127 yards and a league-best 36 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He rushed for a quarterback record 1,206 yards, breaking Michael Vick’s record of 1,039 yards in the process. Jackson finished sixth in the league in rushing yards and 15th in touchdowns, with seven.
The Ravens went 13-2 with Jackson as the starter and were the only team in the league to average more than 30 points per game (33.2). They also set the NFL’s single-season rushing record for yards in a season with 3,296, due in large part to Jackson’s ability to run the football, as well as the simple threat of him rushing the ball.
Early in the 2019 season, Jackson came as a surprise to opposing defenses, as the powerful and speedy new Ravens’ offense seemed to take the league by storm. But even as defenses knew what to prepare for, the Ravens were unstoppable.
In the eight weeks after the bye week last season, the Ravens averaged 36.1 points per game. Four of their opponents in that stretch made the playoffs and three won their division.
Later in the year, Jackson let it slip that he was EA Sports' cover athlete for Madden 21, once again another long-expected move.
The 2020 regular season hasn’t been as sharp or crisp for the Ravens, as they’ve had much more adversity to deal with than they did in the 2019 season. But everyone will remember Jackson’s famed night on Feb. 1, 2020, when the entire league recognized Jackson's stardom.