It’s really early in Lamar Jackson’s career, but maybe not too early to at least wonder if we’re seeing the best running quarterback in NFL history.
We know this much already: Jackson has accomplished something Mike Vick, Randall Cunningham, Steve Young or any other great running quarterback never did. Jackson has rushed for 70 or more yards in five straight games, the first time in NFL history a quarterback has done that. What’s more, Jackson set that mark in his first five career starts.
What we’re seeing from the Baltimore Ravens isn’t conventional in the NFL world. But it’s working. The Ravens took care of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-12 to stay right in the race to win the AFC North. Baltimore is 4-1 since Jackson took over at quarterback, and the only loss came in overtime at Kansas City. There’s a reason Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this week that he’s sticking with Jackson.
Lamar Jackson plays well again
Jackson had the kind of stat line that is becoming a typical one for him. He had 18 carries for 95 yards. He completed 14-of-23 passes for 131 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Jackson hasn’t put up big passing numbers, but he typically makes a few passes each game that are huge in the final outcome.
Jackson also helps the running game as a whole. When defenses have to account for his running ability, it opens up lanes. Gus Edwards had 104 yards on 19 carries. Kenneth Dixon had 48 yards on 11 carries. The Ravens as a team had 242 rushing yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
With the Ravens’ strong defense, the Ravens’ unusual offense is just fine. They’re a tough team to prepare for, because Jackson is fantastic as a runner and teams just don’t see an offense like Baltimore’s very often. Teams probably won’t want to be matched up against this team in the playoffs.
Ravens on a roll
Whether or not the Ravens can run this exact offense in 2019 and beyond with Jackson will be a hot question in the offseason. For now? No need to fix something that isn’t broken.
Baltimore will have to keep winning to steal the AFC North title, but the Steelers have a tough remaining schedule. When Baltimore was 4-5, it seemed hard to believe the Ravens would even make the playoffs. Then the Ravens had to turn to Jackson because of Joe Flacco’s hip injury, and they haven’t looked back.
Jackson has been different, and effective. He’s even making some history. Whatever happens down the road, it’s pretty fun to watch right now.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Report: Redskins’ Smith out of hospital after post-surgery infection
• Alvarez punishes Fielding to win WBA super middleweight belt
• McIntyre: Liverpool rips Manchester United to shreds
• Texans’ Hopkins reaches 500 career catches in win
– – – – – – –