Through two games, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was looking like an early favorite for the MVP race. He has cooled off since then (and the team’s record has reflected that), including yesterday’s performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in which he averaged just 5.8 yards per pass attempt with one touchdown and three interceptions.
But he did tie an all-time mark, in fact drawing even with his own teammate, backup quarterback Robert Griffin III. He reached 1000 rushing yards in 21 games, the fastest ever by a quarterback in NFL history, a record now jointly owned by the two. Michael Vick had previously held the record at 22 games.
Against the Steelers, Jackson recorded 14 rush attempts for a total of 70 yards on the ground, both the second-highest marks on the season for him, behind his Week Two numbers of 120 rushing yards on 16 attempts.
In all, he has rushed 50 times for 308 yards, once again putting him on-pace to break his own record from last season for the most rushing attempts by a quarterback in a single season. He recorded 147 rush attempts as a rookie in 2018 for 695 yards with five touchdowns. He is currently on-pace for 160 rush attempts, and nearing an average that would see him eclipse 1000 yard with his legs.
Vick is the only quarterback to have ever hit the mark before, rushing for 1039 yards on 123 attempts in 2006. He also rushed for 902 yards in 2004. Bobby Douglass in 1972 rushed for 968 yards, while Randall Cunningham rushed for 942 yards in 1990. Jackson’s current pace has him hitting 985 yards. He would have to average 63 rushing yards per game for the remainder of the season to hit the mark.
The notable thing about Jackson’s tying Griffins’ record, of course, is the fact that he did not start for the majority of his rookie year. In his first nine games before entering the starting lineup, he only had 28 carries for 139 yards. He recorded 119 attempts for 556 yards in the seven games that he did start that season.
In contrast, Griffin started every game he played in during his rookie season, as well as his second, so his first 21 games, in which he surpassed 1000 yards on the ground, all came in games in which he was the starter. On the other hand, Vick only started two of eight games as a rookie, recording 289 rushing yards on 31 attempts.
Of course, what the Ravens are more interested in is his development as a passer. Over the past three games, he has four touchdown passes (three of which came last week) to five interceptions. He had previously broken the franchise record for the most consecutive passes thrown without an interception.