Lamar Jackson is now head and shoulders above everyone else in winning the coveted NFL MVP award.
Last night “Action Jackson,” as his NFL peers call him, whipped up on the New York Jets in Baltimore, tossing the pigskin for 212 yards and five touchdown passes, tying his single-season career-high for most touchdown passes in a game. More importantly, the Ravens blasted the Jets by a score of 42-21 on Thursday Night Football ‑- a chance for the national audience to also determine that there is no better player in the game today than Lamar Jackson. The Ravens also clinched the AFC North for the second straight year.
Jackson on the year now has 33 touchdown passes to just six interceptions, and 2,889 yards passing on the season. Right now, he is ranked first in the league in passing touchdowns and first in the game with an 81.2 QBR.
Yes, the Ravens won over the lowly Jets, a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010, when New York lost in the AFC Championship game with the Sanchize ‑‑ Mark Sanchez as quarterback. But Jackson put up 42 points in this game, and this high number currently helped the Ravens put a stranglehold as the No. 1 team in the NFL in points per game (33.7).
A few weeks ago, the front runners for the MVP award were Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, but a loss to the Rams last week by the Seahawks supplanted Jackson as the clear-cut MVP a week ago and throwing five touchdown passes leading the Ravens to a 21-point blowout win on a national stage allowed pundits and writers from all platforms to categorize Jackson in a class of his own.
Jackson has Vick-like athleticism, but this early on in his career the Baltimore Ravens QB has passed the harbinger of next-generation quarterbacks when it comes to quarterback play, including processing information, making the right reads and for the most part, protecting oneself from excessive bodily harm by running out of bounds as opposed to diving for first downs all the time.
Assisting in the process of augmenting Jackson’s talents that has culminated in the general appraisal of the Louisville product being the best in today’s game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his staff did a great job in coming up with a scheme that fits the mobile quarterback’s talents. Baltimore uses Jackson’s dynamic skillset in a ball control offense that heavily uses a pistol formation.
Historically, Baltimore would allow their defense to carry their team and the offense had to do just enough to win, but the Ravens have flipped the script to rely on their offense and the defense is subject to not making the big mistake. This can all be thanks to Harbaugh as well as offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Much of the game has Jackson a few yards behind center and running back Mark Ingram directly behind him, which allows Baltimore’s offense to run shotgun-based option runs and spread passing plays on either side of the field.
As the Ravens offensive line plays well and playmakers such as Ingram, Willie Snead, Chris Moore, Jaleel Scott, Hayden Hurst, Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle continue to produce, Lamar finds himself in a unique situation in which he either can outrun his competition ‑‑ last night Jackson broke the quarterback single-season rushing record, passing Michael Vick with 1,103 yards ‑‑ or he can hang in the pocket and pick off any opposing defense in the NFL.
Jackson is fervently doing it consistently, and the best player in the NFL is fun to watch.
Still, much time can be well spent dissecting how great of a unit as a whole the Ravens are, but for right now, Baltimore (12-2) will be expected to continue virtuoso performances well into the postseason with Jackson as a foregone conclusion as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.