At just 22 years old, Lamar Jackson is doing things we’ve never seen before. In fact, he’s well on pace to rush for the most yards in a single season than any other quarterback in NFL history. On top of this, he’s leading the Ravens to their best start in franchise history, making them a Super Bowl favorite at this point in the season.
After winning the Heisman Trophy in his Sophomore year of college at The University of Louisville, he sadly fell to the end of the first round in the NFL draft. Four other quarterbacks selected before him, yet Lamar Jackson has proven himself as the best of the bunch thus far. In fact, he’s a nightmare for all defenses across the NFL.
Jackson’s numbers this year along with his abilities make him the front-runner for 2019 NFL MVP. Don’t believe us? Follow us on our journey to showing you why Jackson is the only person that makes sense for the award.
Lamar Jackson is on pace to have the best rushing season by an NFL quarterback in history. With still three games to go, Jackson has run the ball 151 times for 1,017 yards (ninth in the NFL) and 7 touchdowns (ninth in the NFL). That’s an average of 78.2 yards per game and a whopping 6.7 yards-per-carry (first in the NFL).
These are impressive numbers for running backs, let alone a quarterback. In addition to this, Jackson has more 20+ yard runs than anyone else in the league with 9.
With impressive MVP-like numbers come broken records. Jackson is just 23 yards shy of breaking Michael Vick’s quarterback single-season rushing record. This is a record that has been untouchable for over a decade. In fact, no quarterback has run for even 900 yards since, until Jackson did this year.
In addition to his incredible MVP caliber rushing stats, Jackson is one of the best passers in the league. He ranks in the top ten in many important passing stats. This includes 4th in passer rating (109.2), 1st in touchdown passes (28), and 1st in quarterback rating (79.9).
He has managed to do this while only throwing six interceptions too.
Whether it’s rushing or passing, Lamar Jackson has got it all. How can you argue against his self-built MVP portfolio? You can’t. Lamar Jackson is a once in a generation talent who has a respectable passing game to go along with his unbelievable rushing stats.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Lamar Jackson has fit the narrative that MVPs must be great leaders. Three-quarters of the way through the season, the Jackson-led Baltimore Ravens are undeniably the NFL’s best offense. With his passing ability, defenses must stay honest and respect it, opening the door for their rushing attack.
Along with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, Jackson and Ravens run game is one of the best in the league. To this point, they lead the league in yards-per-rush (5.6), yards-per-game (207.8), and touchdowns (18). If they stay on pace, as a team they will rush for about 3,300 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns.
This would rank them second all-time in total rushing yards.
On top of that, the Ravens are 11-2 after 14 weeks and have knocked off tough teams. In addition to their win over the 49ers, the Ravens completely dismantled the Patriots and Texans. The threat of Jackson himself has allowed the Ravens offense to control games and leaves defenses helplessly guessing.
This offensive improvement must be credited mostly to Jackson. In the previous five seasons before Jackson was drafted, the Ravens offense was average at best. They only ranked in the top half of the league two out those five seasons and never cracked the top ten.
One season after drafting Jackson, they are the league’s second-best offense.
While the addition of a two-time pro-bowler, Mark Ingram, contributed to this, Jackson is the clear leader of this offense and the biggest contributor to this turnaround. Keep in mind, the Ravens haven’t won more than 10 games in a season or won their division since winning Super Bowl XLVII in Ray Lewis’s farewell season in 2012.
With three weeks to go, they already have 11 wins and have a three-game lead on their division.
Lamar Jackson Has Dealt With Adversity
Before the season, many weren’t sold on Lamar Jackson as an NFL quarterback. The haters thought he was too one-sided. They knew he was skilled as a runner, but doubted his abilities as a passer. They thought he was a mediocre NFL quarterback at best.
Boy, were they wrong!
Jackson has blossomed into, likely, the best dual-threat quarterback in the NFL. He established his passing ability right away when he tossed for five touchdown passes and a perfect 158.3 passer rating against the Miami Dolphins. He hasn’t let up since.
Even defensive mastermind, Bill Belichick, didn’t have an answer for Jackson. In week 10 when Belichick’s New England Patriots matched up with Jackson’s Ravens in Baltimore. Much of Baltimore’s offensive success came off of the threat of Jackson. Bellichick knew that to win the game, his team would have to focus on stopping Jackson.
Although only passing for 163 yards in the game, Jackson still made a big impact in the game. He capitalized on his passing attempts, going 17 of 23 with a touchdown. He even had completions to seven different receivers! On top of this, Jackson managed to scrape for 63 yards on the ground to go along with two more touchdowns of his own.
While not the main threat in this game, Jackson took the attention off of others. Allowing Mark Ingram & Gus Edwards to take charge of this game. They rushed for more than 100 yards and three rushing touchdowns to get past the Patriots by a score of 37-20!
Jackon’s unselfishness and ability to adapt, taking the focus off teammates, allowed the Ravens to win over the Patriots. While he may prefer to have the ball in his own hands, he gave it up to seal up a win.
Jackson’s stats are in-line with MVPs of the past. The last five MVPs (Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers) have averaged for 42 total touchdowns, 4,831 total yards, a 109.1 passer rating, and a 75.7 quarterback rating. Jackson is on pace to accumulate 43 total touchdowns, 4,678 total yards, a 109.2 passer rating, and a 79.9 quarterback rating.
Due to most of these QBs having different styles compared to Jackson, we cannot judge them all the same. However, we can compare him to the 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.
In his MVP season, Newton scored 45 total touchdowns, accumulated 4,473 total yards, had a passer rating of 99.4 and a quarterback rating of 67.0. All very similar to Jackson’s projected stats. The point here is, it’s clear Lamar Jackson is worthy of MVP.
It’s great that Jackson’s numbers compare to MVPs of the past. Yet how do they compare to other MVP candidates? Also, who does Jackson have to beat out in order to become the youngest MVP in NFL history? Through 14 weeks, the MVP race is a two-horse battle, with Jackson having the clear edge.
The MVP Competition
Who’s the other candidate? Six-time pro bowler (about to be seven), Super Bowl XLVIII champion Russell Wilson. Although not as dominant as Jackson, Wilson has had a great season and therefore deserves a mention.
Wilson, like Jackson, has led his team to a superb 10-3 start. Also like Jackson, Wilson has forced defenses to respect his ground game and ability to work outside the pocket, creating great opportunities for his teammates. His ability to extend plays and make things happen, simply makes him a well-respected MVP candidate.
In terms of numbers, Wilson succeeds in a few stats. His 3,422 pass yards, 26 passing touchdowns, and 107.5 parser rating all exceed Jackson’s stats. The mismatch comes when you include the rushing stats. Although a dual-threat quarterback as well, Wilson’s rushing stats cannot compare to Jackson’s.
So far, Jackson has rushed for 705 yards more yards and has scored four more times on the ground than Wilson.
Wilson is the better passer, Jackson is the better rusher. When you add it all up, numbers still lean towards Jackson. In terms of yards, it’s close. Wilson has only 40 more total yards than Jackson. The gap lies in touchdowns. Jackson’s 37 total touchdowns are far superior to Wilson’s 29.
This touchdown gap plus Jackson’s significantly better rushing stats will edge him over Wilson in the MVP race.
More Than Just Numbers
Although there is no magic stat line for MVP, numbers are a big factor in determining the MVP each year. In addition to numbers, other things are looked at when deciding. This includes leadership ability, the ability to turnaround a team, adaptability, and being able to constantly maintain success throughout a season.
Lamar Jackson has all of this and more.
Jackson has been a great leader on and off the field. He has completely changed the trajectory of the Ravens franchise, and he has been able to adapt to any defensive scheme thrown at him. Also, he has been consistently great this entire season. even in losses.
In the Ravens two losses this season, Jackson has either accumulated over 300 total yards or 3 touchdowns.
Lamar Jackson will most likely win NFL MVP this season. He’s the total package. He can run, he can pass, distribute the ball, lead a great offense, and turn around a team and make them a Super Bowl contender. Basically, Jackson has got it all and truly tough to compare to any other MVP in league history.
He has tremendous talent and knows exactly how to use it to maximize his potential as well as those around him.
Despite the early criticism, Lamar Jackson has elevated his game on all fronts and continues to prove the nay-sayers wrong. It’ll be exciting to see what Jackson can do for the rest of this season and beyond.