Lamar Jackson doesn’t play for individual honors, but he keeps winning them.
For the second time this season, Jackson has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after his primetime performance Sunday against the New England Patriots.
Against the NFL's top-ranked defense, Jackson completed 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 61 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
He led the Ravens (6-2) to their fourth straight win, 37-20, over the previously undefeated Patriots (8-1) who had allowed just four touchdowns in their first eight games.
It was more evidence that Jackson, at age 22, is having an MVP-caliber season in his first full year as a starting quarterback. With 637 yards rushing, Jackson is on pace to shatter the single-season rushing record for a quarterback held by Michael Vick, who ran for 1,039 yards in 2006. Jackson has also completed 64.3 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,813 yards, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Jackson scored the game’s first touchdown when he faked a handoff to Gus Edwards that froze New England’s defense and rolled outside. Thanks to a good block by Edwards, he was able to strut into the end zone untouched for a 3-yard score.
Then in the fourth quarter, Jackson finished strong. He spotted Nick Boyle open in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass – the first touchdown of Boyle’s career. On the Ravens’ next possession, they went on a 14-play, 68-yard drive to seal the win. Jackson completed three passes during that drive, then finished it with a 1-yard scoring run.
Head Coach John Harbaugh praised Jackson for his command of the offense and his poise.
“It just goes to the way he thinks and the way his mind works,” Harbaugh said. “He has an amazing ability to take a lot of factors, a lot of things – play clock, play call, personnel, formation, defense that presents, whatever changes that have to be made – and just process all of that in that kind of a moment, which is what makes the position at quarterback so difficult. That’s why Tom Brady is so good at it, too. Lamar does it his way, but Lamar does it as well as anybody. He did a great job tonight, and the whole world saw it.”
Jackson won his first AFC Offensive Player of the Week award to start the season, when he threw five touchdown passes Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. In Week 6 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson became the first player in league history to pass for 200 yards (236) and rush for 150 yards (152) during a regular season game. He leads the NFL in yards per carry (6.4) and he already has three 100-yard rushing games this season.
When Jackson took over as the starter last season, the Ravens won six of their last seven regular season games to capture the AFC North. But Jackson has raised his game to a new level, and the best moments could be yet to come.