Lamar Jackson is a big fan of Tua Tagovailoa, but can't root for the Dolphins' quarterback this weekend.
The relationship between the two quarterbacks dates back to Tagovailoa's days at Alabama. Jackson was so impressed with Tua's game that he messaged the young quarterback and has kept track of his career since.
"Tua's a phenomenal player," Jackson said. "I don't know if Alabama was playing Georgia in the national championship game when I think they took one quarterback out and put him in. Tua threw the game-winning touchdown. After that, I was like, 'He's amazing.' I just fell in love with his game then and his poise.
"I believed he was going to win the Heisman [Trophy] one year. I messaged him, and I was like, 'You need to win a Heisman. I voted for you.'"
There will be plenty at stake in Week 17, when the Ravens try to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC by beating the Dolphins. It may come down to which quarterback plays best, and Jackson hopes to be that guy.
"His game is great," Jackson said. "He's a phenomenal quarterback. He just has to keep doing what he's doing – just not this week."
Jackson, who's making a strong case to win his second Most Valuable Player Award, has an admirer on the Dolphins in All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. While Ramsey can talk trash with the best, he has called Jackson the toughest player to defend in the NFL.
Jackson doesn't take the compliment lightly.
"My guy," Jackson said of Ramsey. "What we say in Florida, if we're cool with somebody, we say, 'Mess with them.' That's my boy. I mess with him. That's my guy. He's a great corner – a future Hall of Fame cornerback. I accept that. That's respect. I respect his game as well. I appreciate the comment."
John Harbaugh Gives Update on Mark Andrews
Head Coach John Harbaugh gave a positive update on Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews, who is recovering from a Nov. 16 ankle injury against the Bengals that required surgery.
Andrews is on injured reserve, but the possibility of him returning at some point in the playoffs has not been ruled out. Harbaugh has received good reports about Andrews' progress.
"I've heard of no setbacks," Harbaugh said. "I think Mark Andrews is on schedule as far as I've heard. He's maybe a little ahead of schedule – I don't know really if that's accurate to say. But I've seen him in there working, and he's in great spirits, and we're hopeful.
"Our job is to get to that point. That's what we have to do is get to the point where we're still playing when he comes back, and it's going to take everything we have."
Jackson Has Made Reducing Fumbles a Priority
After fumbling five times in the first seven games of the season, Jackson has fumbled just once in the last eight. He's worked hard on ball security in the pocket, and has eliminated miscues on handoffs at the mesh point between himself and Justice Hill that resulted in earlier turnovers.
"I think I said it a couple weeks ago – our No. 1 job on offense is to protect the ball," Jackson said. "We can't move on with drives without the football. We can't score touchdowns without the ball in our possession. The biggest thing for me was just protecting the ball, and I believe I've been doing a pretty good job at it."
Former Raven Raheem Mostert Leads the NFL in Touchdowns With Miami
Undrafted in 2015, running back Raheem Mostert spent seven games as a rookie with the Ravens and was used primarily as a kick returner before being released.
After playing for several other teams, Mostert became a starter with the 49ers in 2020 and has become one of the NFL's best running backs with the Dolphins. He enters Week 17 leading the league with 18 rushing touchdowns and he's fourth in rushing (1,012 yards), breaking 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
Mostert is also a receiving threat with 32 receptions for 175 yards and three touchdowns. His top-end speed makes him a big-play threat as both a runner and receiver. Though he wants to stop Mostert on Sunday, Harbaugh is glad that the 31-year-old running back's persistence has paid off.
"We had him here, and unfortunately, he got off the hook," Harbaugh said. "We let him get away.
"He's the lead guy, but they use all three guys, and they're all very similar. They're all very fast. They're very physical. They run downhill; they can get the edge. They're all good in the passing game. Seeing Raheem's success after being here for that period of time is really neat to see."