While the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to create their own misery, their AFC North rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, continue to make NFL history. Last week, their 59 points were the most scored on opening weekend, and Marquise Brown’s touchdowns on his first two receptions made him just the second player ever to do that.
Yesterday, in yet another fairly convincing win, Lamar Jackson made more NFL history of his own. Last season, he set the record for the most rushing attempts by a quarterback in a single season (despite only starting seven games), and also became the youngest quarterback to ever start a playoff game.
In their Week Two victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the second-year quarterback became the first player in the history of the NFL to throw for at least 250 yards in a game in which he also rushed for 120 or more yards during a regular season game. Colin Kaepernick was the first to do it, in 2013, during a postseason victory over the Green Bay Packers.
While that seems like a fairly arbitrary benchmark, it is nonetheless impressive. Barring last week, during which he threw for over 300 yards for the first and so far only time, Jackson set new career-highs in both passing and rushing yards, so not a bad day in the office.
In all, he completed 24 of 37 pass attempts (64.9%) for 274 yards, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions. In the process, he also set a new franchise record for the Ravens, having thrown 178 consecutive passes without an interception, surpassing the mark previously held by Joe Flacco.
On the season, Jackson has now completed 41 of 57 attempts (71.9%) for 596 yards with seven touchdowns to zero interceptions, while also recording 19 rushes for 126 yards, accounting for over 700 all-purpose yards.
His seven touchdown passes is more than he had during all of the regular season last year (six). It’s the most through two games by a Raven in team history, as well. Meanwhile, he has only been sacked three times and has not fumbled the ball yet. He fumbled 12 times during the regular season and several more times in the postseason last year.
Two games is not enough of a sample size to say anything for certain, but Jackson is certainly looking like a much more complete player through two games. He has helped Marquise Brown record 233 yards in his first two games, the most since Anquan Boldin in 2003. Second-year tight end Mark Andrews has had 100 receiving yards or more in both games.
As bad as things are going in Pittsburgh, the inverse is true in Baltimore. In the early goings, they are very much looking like the team to beat. Then again, they were 3-1 last year before going 1-4 in their next four games, and then going 6-1 the rest of the way, so who knows. One thing is clear, and that is that their defense is not as good, so there’s more pressure on the offense to carry the team.