As ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley suggested, Lamar Jackson
essentially ended the NFL Most Valuable Player debate last week, when he put up another five touchdown passes and broke Michael Vick
’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback.
The more intriguing question involving Jackson is whether the football world is witnessing something historically greater.
“If he gets to 35 to 40 touchdown passes and what he’s done running the ball, Lamar has to be in the conversation of the best season by a quarterback,” said former NFL MVP Kurt Warner
, an analyst for the NFL Network. “With a lot of things Lamar does, it is hard to gauge right now because it’s so new and unique. Maybe 10 to 15 years down the road, we’ll have a better feel where it stands. But with how special he is running and throwing the ball, it’s pretty ridiculous.”
Indeed, Jackson is playing the quarterback position unlike anyone before him, leading the NFL with 33 touchdown passes while becoming the second quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards.
The past four decades, the top seasons, based on QB rating, have been produced by Joe Montana in 1989 (3,521 yards passing, 26 TDs, 112.4 rating), Steve Young in 1994 (3,969 yards passing, 35 TDs, 112.8 rating, 293 yards rushing), Tom Brady
in 2007 (4,806 yards, 50 TDs, 117.2 rating), Peyton Manning in 2013 (5,477 yards, 55 TDs and 115.1 rating) and Patrick Mahomes
(5,097 yards, 50 TDs and 113.8 rating).
Jackson separates himself by being highly rated as a passer (his 112.8 rating is second in the NFL this season) and a top-10 rusher. He is the first quarterback in NFL history to rack up 2,500 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. Jackson can also become the first to finish with 1,000 yards rushing and a 100 passer rating.
“He’s the perfect weapon right now,” ESPN analyst Louis Riddick told Hensley.
Jackson is poised to become the first quarterback since 1940 to be the leading rusher on the team that finishes the regular season with the best record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He can also become the only quarterback to lead the NFL in touchdown passes and finish in the top 10 in rushing yards, per Elias.
Through Week 15, Jackson has thrown three more touchdown passes than anyone else in the NFL and ranks eighth
in rushing, with 1,103 yards.
“I’ve never been with anybody like him,” Ravens wide receiver Seth Roberts
Jackson tops the NFL with three games with five touchdown passes this season. He has recorded four 100-yard rushing games. He is the first NFL player with multiple games of five touchdown passes and at least 50 yards rushing, according to Elias. Jackson accomplished this all-time feat in a four-game span this season.
“He is so rare, and I hear people say he’s opening the door for other teams, and they’ll look for athletic quarterbacks,” Warner said. “I don’t ever think we’re going to see another Lamar Jackson. How many times can we say a player transcended the way the game is played? He has.”
All the above will be major factors driving Jackson's average draft position in 2020. Fantasy owners should be prepared to pay up. ...
In a related note. ... If the Ravens run over their final two games the way they have for their first 14, they’ll set a new NFL record for rushing yards in a season.
The record of 3,165 rushing yards was set by the Patriots in 1978. Since then, teams have rarely even come close to that record, as the NFL has become more of a passing league, and running the ball for 3,000 yards in a season has appeared virtually impossible.
But this year’s Ravens are at 2,830 yards through 14 games. That means they need just 336 yards to break that 1978 Patriots record.
As Profootballtalk.com's Michael David Smith notes, given that the Ravens are averaging 202 rushing yards a game, 336 over two games should be very doable.
Tomorrow, they face a Browns defense that’s 27th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, so it’s highly likely that the Ravens will get most of the way there this week.