In a season of milestones for Lamar Jackson, one of the most significant ones could take place Sunday.
Jackson needs just 63 rushing yards to set the NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,039) set by Michael Vick in 2006.
Keep in mind there are still four games left in the regular season. With 977 rushing yards already, Jackson is on track to shatter Vick's record, significantly raising the bar for running quarterbacks during a season in which Jackson could be named the league's MVP.
Vick is the quarterback Jackson is most often compared to, and a chance to break the record has special meaning to Jackson. Jackson said he still watches Vick's highlights to this day.
"It would be an honor," Jackson said. "Like I said, Michael Vick is my favorite player. For me to do such a thing, it's incredible. He had that record for a long time, and it will be pretty cool. But I'm focused on the win, regardless."
Vick's record isn't the only one that could fall Sunday. Baltimore needs 181 yards rushing to set the franchise record for most rushing yards in a season (2,674 yards) set in 2003. The Ravens lead the NFL in rushing and in scoring, and they are on pace for 3,325 rushing yards, which would set an NFL single-season record.
However, Jackson remains outwardly unfazed by milestones, playing with an unwavering focus that has helped Baltimore win a franchise-record eight straight regular season games. Jackson may break Vick's record on Sunday, but another "W" is what Jackson wants most.
*Jackson to Face Childhood Rival Singletary *
Jackson and Bills rookie running back Devin Singletary grew up close to each other in South Florida and had a memorable meeting on the football field as 9-year-old Pee Wee players.
A cool story on the Buffalo Bills team website details the players' recollection of that game, when Jackson played for the Pompano Cowboys and Singletary played for the Deerfield Beach Packer-Rattlers.
As you would expect, Jackson and Singletary dominated the game.
Jackson's team got the last word, winning 21-14 with Jackson playing quarterback and leading the Cowboys on the final touchdown drive. However, Singletary had his moments
"I remember he got a toss, and I was at corner," Jackson said. "They had me at corner. I had never played corner before.
"He got a toss. He was like a little stocky, cocky running back. So, I'm like, 'I'm not about to hit him by myself.' So, I tried to like brush [him] off, and he just ran up the sideline and scored. So, I was hot by the next play. It was like, 'I can't let that happen again.' I was like a little punk. He was a great running back then, he still is right now."
Nicknamed "Motor," Singletary is averaging 5.6 yards per carry this season. That's third in the league, trailing the NFL's leader in Jackson (7.0 yards) and San Francisco's Raheem Mostert.
Working in tandem with 15-year veteran Frank Gore, Singletary has 553 yards rushing and two touchdowns this season. He's a threat the Ravens must be wary of on Sunday, and he is looking forward to reuniting with Jackson. The two have remained friends over the years and send each other encouraging texts – two players from South Florida living their dreams.
"I can't even tell you that it crossed my mind that this would happen," Jackson said via BuffaloBills.com. "We had a lot of the same friends and some had the same kind of ability. And we thought a lot of them would make it. So to see us the only two playing in the league right now, I would've never thought that."
Harbaugh: Chuck Clark Has Established Himself as a Good NFL Starter
The Ravens have played seven games with Chuck Clark starting at safety this season and have yet to lose one. Since Tony Jefferson's season-ending knee injury in Week 5 in Pittsburgh, Clark has calmly stepped into a starting job and assumed the role of wearing the microphoned helmet and relaying defensive signals to teammates.
Clark made an important splash play against the San Francisco 49ers, blitzing for a sack on quarterback Jimmy Garopollo that caused a fumble the Ravens recovered and turned into a first-quarter touchdown.
However, Clark's steadiness has been the key to his success. He is rarely out of position and is a sure tackler. As a sixth-round pick in 2017, Clark waited patiently for more than two seasons playing behind established veterans like Eric Weddle, Earl Thomas III and Jefferson.
"Chuck has been an A-plus as far as that goes," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He plays a position where he's handled every aspect of it, and he has a lot of responsibility. He's the signal caller and the quarterback in some ways of the defense. He's done it exceptionally well and I think he's established himself as an NFL starting safety and a good one."
Hayden Hurst Relishes Opportunities to Make Plays
One of Hayden Hurst's three catches Sunday came on the Ravens' game-winning drive, a 10-yard reception that helped set up Justin Tucker for the clinching 49-yard field goal. Hurst also had a clutch fourth-down catch in the first half to keep a scoring drive going.
Hurst is happy to have earned Jackson's confidence in key situations.
"I sure hope so," Hurst said. "I think through training camp and practices, me and Lamar have established that. It's starting to carry over into games. We've just got to continue. He's a smart guy, he knows what he's doing out there. He knows who gets open and makes plays."
Baltimore's three tight end rotation of Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle and Hurst is the deepest and most versatile in the NFL. But while Andrews gets attention for his talent as a receiver, and Boyle draws notice for his devastating blocking, Hurst sometimes flies under the radar despite being a first-round draft choice. Hurst admitted that being in the spotlight Sunday felt good.
"It's awesome, to be blunt," Hurst said. "I want everybody to do well. Mark's a hell of a player, Nick's obviously a hell of a player. But it's nice getting recognized for some of the stuff that I do. It doesn't always make ESPN, it doesn't always make the stat sheet, but the little things I'm doing to help the team … whenever my number's called, I just want to contribute."