One season doesn’t define a player, good or bad. Not even two. Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny what Lamar Jackson is doing for the 7-2 Baltimore Ravens. While nobody is going to mistake him for Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, he has shown that he can make the throws that need to be made, and his running ability is peerless.
And he keeps going. The Ravens razed the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday afternoon, and it largely had to do with Jackson putting them out of their misery early in the game, throwing two quick touchdown passes to second-year tight end Mark Andrews and flashing his cheat-code abilities in between on a dazzling 47-yard touchdown run.
In all, he completed 15 of 17 passes for 223 yards, throwing three touchdowns with no interceptions. As you can assume, he got pulled from the game before it was over, since it was such a blowout, ending up 49-13. He also rushed for 65 yards on seven attempts, plus the score.
Those passing statistics give him a perfect passer rating for the afternoon. It’s his second game with a perfect passer rating this season, following the victory in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. While it’s true that these performances came against arguably the two worst teams in football—especially at the time that they played them—the fact is that only one other quarterback in NFL history has posted a perfect passer rating in multiple games of the same season.
Meanwhile, he now has 703 rushing yards on the season, putting him well on pace to break Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback. Vick is the only quarterback to ever register a 1000-yard season, putting up 1039 yards with his feet during the 2006 season, on 123 rushes.
Jackson is on pace to rush for 1250 yards this season. And he is also on pace to break his own record, set a year ago, for rushing attempts by a quarterback in a single season. He rushed 147 times last season, despite only starting seven games. He currently has 106 rushing attempts through nine games, and is on pace to hit 188 carries.
What’s more, he hasn’t thrown an interception since he had a three-pick game against the Pittsburgh Steelers all the way back in Week Five. That’s four games now, spanning over 90 pass attempts. One thing he hasn’t been doing lately before yesterday’s game is throwing touchdowns—he now has 15 on the season, and that includes five in the opener—but he also has only five interceptions, and all of them came in just two games. He also hasn’t lost any of his four fumbles after fumbling 15 times last year (losing five).
Here’s the thing. Lamar Jackson isn’t a finished product. That’s the scary part. I don’t think he’s ever going to be capable of developing into a legitimately elite passer, but frankly, if he were able to, it just wouldn’t be fair. That’s how dynamic he is. And Greg Roman deserves a ton of credit for getting the most out of him.