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Lamar Jackson Caps MVP Season With Another Glorious Day

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

After Lamar Jackson took the league by storm with five touchdown passes in Miami, he coined the phrase "not bad for a running back."

After he potentially capped his 2019 regular season with another magnificent performance – throwing three touchdowns and running for more than 100 yards – his head coach did it for him.

"Should I say it?" Harbaugh said. "It's not bad for a running back."

If it wasn't already abundantly clear, Lamar Jackson deserves to be the NFL's 2019 MVP. CBS analyst Tony Romo called it during Sunday's broadcast, and others echoed that in the postgame show. Many other pundits had done so earlier.

Sunday's performance was either the cement or cherry on top, depending on how you see it.

Jackson and the offense got off to a slow start. He atypically fumbled an exchange with running back Mark Ingram II and the league's most potent offense nearly went scoreless in the first half.

Then it was like Jackson flipped a switch. In just two plays – a 24-yard pass to Ingram, followed by a 39-yarder to Mark Andrews – the Ravens took the lead.

They got the ball back again before the end of the half and Jackson poured on another touchdown, this time with one of his most impressive throws of the season.

Jackson juked a free blitzer and stepped up in the pocket. He bumped into one of his own blockers and got off balance, but was still able to flick a pass to the back of the end zone to find Andrews for a leaping touchdown catch.

"I wish I was able to hit Mark the first time because he was open already," Jackson said. "But the guy grabbed me and I just had to stay up to make a throw. I really didn't see the catch, I just know when I looked up, it was six. I just had to throw it where only he could get it."

Now a big question over the coming days and week will be whether Jackson's regular season is finished. The Ravens want to win their Week 17 game against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. But they also obviously know staying healthy is of utmost importance.

Jackson said there's "no doubt" that he wants to play next week, but that it's Harbaugh's decision.

"I'm chilling. It's up to him," Jackson said.

If it is the end of Jackson's regular season, he finished with 36 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. The 36 touchdown passes are a new franchise high, surpassing Vinny Testaverde's mark from 1996.

"Throwing them, not running them. You know, 'Mr. Running Back.' To all the people that said that," Jackson said. "My guys do a great job catching the passes. Just got to keep it going. I'm happy with the record or whatever, but we have bigger fish to fry."

Jackson topped 3,000 passing yards (3,127) during Sunday's win. Oh, and he finished with an NFL record 1,206 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

"It's impressive. There's no question about it," Harbaugh said. "How many interceptions did he have for the season? 6? 36-6? What more do you need to say? It's amazing."

From Week 1 to Week 16, Jackson hasn't had a single clunker. When it looked like Baltimore's offense could be in trouble Sunday afternoon, Jackson broke them out of it.

For veteran Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, a man who preaches consistency as the secret to his Hall of Fame-worthy career, Jackson's consistency – at age 22 – has been a marvel.

"He is obviously very special in what he does in space and throwing the football and all of those things," Yanda said.

"Obviously, we have done it for weeks in a row without really any drag. I know we had some drag in the first quarter into the second quarter, but then, boom, we got hot and he diced them up fast. That has been pretty awesome to watch him do that consistently for that many games. That is hard to do."

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