After Sunday’s game, even Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is conceding the MVP race to Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
After Baltimore’s 41-7 win at M&T Bank Stadium, Watson handed Jackson his jersey with the message written on it, “Always love, keep grinding and MVP.”
Jackson slayed another MVP candidate Sunday, with four touchdowns and another ridiculous run. He finished the day with 222 yards passing, a 139.2 quarterback rating and 86 yards rushing.
Not good enough? Mark Ingram would like a word with you.
“I would like to introduce ya’ll to the man, the myth, the legend, the MVP front-runner,” Ingram said at the end of his podium session. “If anybody else got something different to say about that, then come see me. I’m right here in B’more outside The Bank.”
The last time Jackson and Watson were on the same field was in an epic college showdown in 2016, in which Watson and Clemson came out the victor in the final minutes. Now in the NFL and two leaders of the league’s revolution at quarterback, Jackson didn’t even make it close.
Jackson has now beaten Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Watson – the other leading MVP quarterback candidates – in head-to-head matchups. There are still six games left to go, and the San Francisco 49ers’ top-notch defense awaits, but Jackson seems unstoppable right now.
Of course, don’t expect Jackson to feed into the hype though.
“Like I said before, I’m all about winning,” Jackson said. “It is what it is. I’m glad he feels that way, but I’m trying to get something even more.”
It didn’t begin the way anybody expected with a scoreless first quarter. Jackson started the frigid mid-November game 1-of-6 and looked a bit indecisive at the start.
But a slow start didn’t derail Jackson for the entire day. He snapped out of it with 13 straight completions spread over the second and third quarters. It was the fourth-longest streak in Ravens history and second-longest of his career and included three touchdowns.
The first touchdown strike was on a well-thrown ball and impressive leaping catch by Seth Roberts. Jackson said this week during a Facebook Live Q&A with fans that he wanted to get Roberts his first touchdown this season after getting one to Nick Boyle a couple weeks ago.
Jackson’s second touchdown pass was even prettier. He found Andrews open on a post pattern to the end zone and Jackson delivered a perfect strike into his open arms.
The third and fourth touchdowns were both to Ingram, who was left open in the flats. Ingram cruised in on one and ducked a defender and powered in for the other.
Jackson is the first quarterback in Ravens history to throw at least four touchdown passes in multiple games in a season.
“That’s a good stat,” Jackson said. “I’d rather throw them than run them, like I said before, since I’m a running back …”
Midway through the third quarter, when he had already gashed the Texans with his arm, Jackson reminded everybody that ever time he touches the ball, he could take it to the house with his legs. He didn’t put a spin move on or score this time, but it was nearly just as spectacular.
Jackson should have been tackled for a loss. Instead, he put a swim move on the first defender and broke free from his grasp. Then he was off to the races. He left four more defenders in his wake before the sixth took him down. Add a 39-yard gain to the highlight package.
Once again, “MVP! MVP! MVP!” rang out from the crowd. They’re running out of superlatives. Play-by-play CBS announcer Ian Eagle called Jackson “Lamarkable” after the run. Last week, he was “Houdini,” and “Lamarvelous” is a common one these days.
“He keeps one-upping himself each week,” Ingram said.
Head Coach John Harbaugh is having a tough time summing up the runs too. Each week, he’s asked if he’s still in awe of Jackson’s runs.
“I’ve never seen one like it ... except for last week,” Harbaugh said with a grin.
The Ravens are on a six-game winning streak that has included dominant wins over the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots and now the Texans. Those are three of the best teams in the NFL.
There are countless factors that have gone into that winning streak. The Ravens don’t have many – or any – glaring weaknesses. The pass rush was probably the most questioned group, and it had seven sacks Sunday afternoon.
But even outside linebacker Matthew Judon made it clear. It all starts with No. 8, he said.
So with Jackson leading the way, how good can the Ravens be this year?
“Only Lord knows,” Jackson said. “The Lord, that’s our leader right now. We’re just praying.”