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Lamar Jackson Stamps Second MVP With Perfect Day vs. Dolphins

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

The only remaining argument against Lamar Jackson being the 2023 NFL MVP was that he didn't have gaudy statistics.

Cross that one off the list too.

Jackson threw five touchdowns and posted a perfect passer rating in the Ravens' 56-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

On a day in which the Ravens clinched the AFC North and No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, Jackson pretty much sewed up his second MVP. The only question is whether the vote will be unanimous like in 2019.

Jackson was 18-of-21 for 321 yards passing and added 35 yards on the ground. He had more touchdown passes than incompletions. It's his third career game with a perfect passer rating, tied for the most in NFL history with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner.

The 56 points are the most the Ravens have ever scored at M&T Bank Stadium.

"I'm very confident," Jackson said. "Having the freedom to do whatever I want to when I see things out on the field. That's the kind of game I like. We were dialing it up, being aggressive."

Fans chanted "MVP!" from just about start to finish Sunday afternoon as the Ravens romped to the AFC North title and No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Jackson hardly reacted.

He was locked in all the way till the end, only letting loose in celebration when his good buddy and backup quarterback Tyler Huntley threw a touchdown in relief. What was Jackson thinking as the MVP chants reigned down?

"We need to finish this game," Jackson said. "I'm not really paying attention to the chants."

In the past two weeks, Jackson has outshined the four other leading MVP candidates – 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Christian McCaffrey, and Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was one of the man Ravens who said "there is no debate" at this point.

"The proof is in the pudding," he said. "There's just nobody like him. With respect to everyone who has had tremendous seasons and all the great talent in the NFL, I just think he's put himself in great position."

Even going against one of the NFL's best defenses over the second half of the season in Miami, Jackson was in complete control. He consistently stepped up in the pocket to elude pressure and extend plays, a signature of the Ravens' offense in recent weeks.

What's come together is the big play. Jackson hit Zay Flowers for a 75-yard touchdown and made the most improbable completion of his career on a 33-yarder to Beckham down the sideline. Head Coach John Harbaugh said making those big plays is "massively good" for Baltimore's offense as it prepares for the playoffs.

"We kept saying, 'If we can start hitting the deep ball, we can make those big plays. That's going to be a back breaker,'" Harbaugh said. "It turned out to be a back breaker today."

Last week, NBC Sports' Mike Florio annoyed Jackson by saying the 49ers were going to "kick the shit out of" the Ravens. This week, a FOX Sports radio host said Jackson wasn’t “quarterbacky” enough for her taste. He made her look bad, too.

Jackson saw some chatter about that on social media but didn't give it much attention or even know what it meant. He laughed about the word "quarterbacky" in the postgame locker room. Linebacker Patrick Queen took notice, and offense, though.

"MVP. There ain't nothing else to talk about. He look real 'quarterbacky,'" Queen said.

"If anybody else says otherwise, they just don't like Lamar. They don't like us, they don't like Baltimore, they don't like Lamar. Everybody knows who Lamar is. Everybody knows what Lamar can do. And I bet if any team had their chance to come scoop Lamar, they would've scooped him after what he just showed."

Jackson isn't an individual awards guy. He didn't want to talk about the MVP race last time he won it either. But he is even more locked in than usual this season after the way Baltimore fell short in the 2019 playoffs.

"We can't go out there thinking [that] since we're the favorites, teams are just going to bow down and play how we want them to play," Jackson said. "We have to go take it, and that's what we do."

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