While it can be said that the Baltimore Ravens have had good luck in a few of their wins this season, the reality is that they are sitting at 5-1 six games into the season, the best record in the AFC and with an outright lead in the AFC North.
You can thank Lamar Jackson for that, whom you can easily argue is playing better this year than two years ago when he became the youngest player in NFL history to be voted MVP. As always, he leads the league in yards per attempt, with nearly 400 rushing yards already, on pace to rush for more than 1000 yards once again.
More significantly, he has already thrown for 1686 yards, averaging 281 yards per game. That’s nearly 100 yards per game more than he averaged last year. His career high was in 2019, when he threw for 3127 yards, averaging 208.5 yards per game. But he’s also throwing about 20 percent more as well. And doing it effectively, showing his improvement as a passer.
At 24 years old, he already has 35 career wins in the regular season, capped off by a dominant Ravens win against the Las Angeles Chargers on Sunday—even though it wasn’t one of Jackson’s better games. But the victory broke a tie with Dan Marino for the most all-time wins by a quarterback under the age of 25 in NFL history.
Frankly, I’m not really sure where the Marino number comes from. At least if you go by Pro Football Focus, Marino appears to have won only 33 games before turning 25—seven as a rookie, 14 in year two, and 12 in year three. He already turned 25 on September 15, 1986, before winning his first game that season, on September 20.
But whatever, I’m just going to assume the 34 figure is correct and that there’s something off with the data somewhere. Either way, both Jackson and Marino have gone 35-8 in their first 43 starts, where Jackson is now—only Marino went on a slide at that point. The Dolphins lost five of their first seven games of the 1986 season, and Marino had a career 41-16 record as a starter by the end of the year.
As for Jackson, he has the advantage of having a late birthday, and doesn’t turn 25 until January. He still have 10 more games to play during the 2021 season to extend his new record, potentially driving it all the way up to a seemingly insurmountable 45 career wins before the age of 25.
The Ravens have a winning percentage of .814 since Jackson’s first start in the middle of the 2018 season. They had been about a .500 team from the time they won the Super Bowl in 2012 up to that point. One can make the argument that no one player has added greater value to their franchise during that time than he has.