Lamar Jackson has a chance to make history Sunday, but his top priority is getting a victory.
Jackson needs 92 yards rushing against the Cincinnati Bengals for his second straight 1,000-yard season. No NFL quarterback has ever rushed for 1,000 yards twice in his career, but Jackson may do it in back-to-back years.
In 2019, Jackson set the single-season rushing record for a quarterback with 1,216 yards, surpassing Michael Vick, who rushed for 1,039 yards in 2006. Jackson and Vick are the only two NFL quarterbacks to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season, and Vick never surpassed 676 rushing yards after 2006.
The possibility that Jackson will reach 1,000 yards rushing again, when opponents have tried so many ways to contain him, reflects how unique Jackson is.
However, individual goals just don't motivate Jackson. Winning does.
"Being honest, I just want to win Sunday and come out of the game healthy," Jackson said. "It doesn't really matter about any records being broken. I just want to win to get to the playoffs."
Jackson has already silenced any doubters who thought he might not be as dynamic running in the NFL as he was in college. He has the elusiveness and speed to make people miss and run away from defenders at the NFL level, just as he did at Louisville. Jackson ran for 1,571 yards in his Heisman Trophy-winning sophomore season and 1,601 yards as a junior.
"I did it in college, so I didn't ever doubt myself," Jackson said when asked if he thought he would be a 1,000-yard rusher in the NFL. "[But] it wasn't really on my mind, to be honest, that I would be running for 1,000 yards."
When the Ravens beat the Bengals, 27-3, in Week 5, Jackson threw two touchdown passes but rushed just twice for three yards, his lowest rushing output of the season. Trying to get Jackson another 1,000-yard season won't be a priority heading into the game, but Head Coach John Harbaugh was impressed when he informed that Jackson has a chance to reach another milestone.
"I didn't know that stat," Harbaugh said. "That's great, good for him and the guys. It won't be in the forefront of our thinking at all, but Lamar is a special person, a talented guy of course."
J.K. Dobbins Runs With Fury Near Goal Line
J. K. Dobbins scored his seventh rushing touchdown Sunday to set a record for Ravens rookies, and his ability to smell the end zone is nothing new. During his three seasons at Ohio State, Dobbins scored 38 touchdowns, including 21 in his final season.
Some of those scores came on long runs, but Dobbins is powerfully built, listed at 5-foot-10, 212 pounds. Dobbins attacks defenders when running between the tackles, often driving them backward after he makes contact. That allows him to be an effective red-zone runner, and he loves that he's trusted near the goal line. His speed is obvious, but the way he finishes runs is sometimes overlooked.
Dobbins has scored a rushing touchdown in five straight games. He had a physical short touchdown run against the Giants on Sunday when he shook off a hit at the goal line and extended the ball forward.
"I take so much pride in that," Dobbins said. "I ain't 6-3, 250. People kind of want to label me as a scatback. That's not me. I can get in there and mix it up with the big guys a little bit. I can be a little powerful. I try to pride myself on being an offensive weapon. Not just a running back but an offensive weapon. I can do things that people may not know I can do. I like to keep showcasing that."
Dobbins was slow to get up after one carry Sunday and was assisted off the field, but Dobbins said he was fine.
"I feel 100 percent," Dobbins said. "I was just kind of tired. I had to sit down a little bit."
Dobbins had just one carry (for 34 yards) against the Bengals earlier this season. He'll see much more than that on Sunday.
Chuck Clark Sticks Like Glue to Tight Ends
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram made the Pro Bowl this year, and Ravens safety Chuck Clark enjoyed the challenge of defending Engram on Sunday.
Engram finished with seven catches for 65 yards, but didn't fare so well when matched up with Clark. Clark had another strong all-around day, finishing with four tackles and a quarterback hit.
Clark's ability to match up with tight ends is important to the Ravens' secondary, and it was more important Sunday because veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (ribs/shoulder) missed his second straight game. Smith sometimes draws matchups against opposing tight ends, but Clark gladly accepts that challenge when asked.
"Certain guys are a lot faster than others," Clark said. "Certain guys are stronger than others. It's definitely a different task, going in different weeks, what type of tight end you're dealing with."
Clark's ability to multitask adds to the strength of Baltimore's secondary.
"He's done a good job," Harbaugh said. "That's one of the toughest jobs there is because of the tight ends in this league, Evan Engram being one of those guys, (Bengals tight end Drew Sample) this week is an emerging tight end in the passing game for sure. That's a big challenge for any safety and all the other things that go into that job. Tackling, he's the play-caller, getting the defense lined up with his calls. He's done a heck of a job. Very impressed with what Chuck has done all year."
Ravens Not Having Bengals Flashbacks to 2017
Facing the Bengals in a win-and-get-in playoff scenario has rekindled talk about 2017, when a heartbreaking Week 17 loss to the Bengals denied the Ravens a playoff spot. Many of the Ravens who played in that game are no longer with the team. Clark was around for that game, but said it won't be talked about this week.
"I don't think we've mentioned that game at all, period," Clark said. "I do personally remember that game. It's the same situation. Fighting for a spot in the playoffs, same team, not the same field but it's something that's definitely in the back of your mind. We keep it moving and deal with the task that's at hand this week. The game that happened three years ago has no control on this one."