Lamar Jackson Adds to MVP Resume as Ravens Clinch AFC North with Win vs. Jets

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 13, 2019

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 12: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens carries the ball against defense of the New York Jets during the game at M&T Bank Stadium on December 12, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson tossed five touchdown passes in just 23 attempts as the Baltimore Ravens won their 10th straight game by defeating the visiting New York Jets 42-21 on Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium.

With the victory, Baltimore clinched the AFC North for the second straight year.

Jackson also ran for 86 yards on eight carries and broke ex-NFL signal-caller Michael Vick's single-season rushing record for quarterbacks, which was set in 2006. Jackson has rushed for 1,093 yards with three games remaining.

Baltimore Ravens @Ravens

NEW RECORD‼️ @Lj_era8 | #ProBowlVote https://t.co/c2INLfPEkH

Miles Boykin, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Seth Roberts and Mark Ingram II caught Jackson's touchdown passes. Ingram also ran for a score.

Jamison Crowder paced the Jets offense with six catches, 90 yards and two touchdowns. B.J. Bello scored another New York touchdown off a blocked punt.

Baltimore led 21-7 at the half and opened up a 35-7 edge in the third quarter. The two teams traded touchdowns in the fourth, with the Jets scoring twice.

The 12-2 Ravens own the NFL's best record after beating the short-handed Jets, who were missing safety Jamal Adams, tight end Ryan Griffin, defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and wideout Demaryius Thomas, among others.

Baltimore will clinch the AFC's No. 1 seed with a win in one of its last two games. The Jets, who had won four of their last five games entering Thursday, fell to 5-9 with the loss.


Notable Performances

Jets QB Sam Darnold: 18-of-32, 218 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Jets RB Le'Veon Bell: 21 carries, 87 yards

Jets WR Jamison Crowder: 6 catches, 90 yards, 2 TD

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: 15-of-23, 212 yards, 5 TD; 8 carries, 86 yards

Ravens RB Mark Ingram II: 13 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 10 yards, 1 TD

Ravens WR Seth Roberts: 3 catches, 66 yards, 1 TD


Lamar Jackson and the Ravens Are Breaking Football

One sequence early in the third quarter perfectly encapsulates where Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are right now.

Baltimore, up 28-7, faced a 4th-and-1 from its own 29-yard line.

Conventional wisdom says to play it safe and punt, but Jackson had other ideas:


On a 4th and 1, the Ravens punt team was coming on the field. Lamar Jackson told them to go back to the sideline. They then converted the first down with a 36-yard play. (via @thecheckdown) https://t.co/9EX1kl0exz

He proceeded to find Mark Andrews for a 36-yard completion before this 33-yard touchdown toss to Seth Roberts on 2nd-and-20:


This Ravens offense is just not fair (via @Ravens) https://t.co/KC5pgMoxpV

Ravens 34, Jets 7. Ballgame.

It's not uncommon to see athletes call their own numbers, but it's rare to see a second-year pro do so in a situation where common sense would seem to dictate another approach.

The thing about Jackson and the Ravens, though, is that they've been bucking conventional trends all season, to the point where you may not think twice about them going for it when they're literally in the opposing team's own field-goal territory.

Check out this fourth-down attempt graph via Ben Baldwin of The Athletic, for example:

new-age analytical @benbbaldwin

Update on 4th-down aggressiveness after yesterday's games. Seattle's 4th down attempt last night (the Malik Turner drop) broke a string of 14 straight kicks in NYT-recommended go-for-it situations https://t.co/oUmk7l9YxQ

The Ravens go for it on fourth down more than 10 percent more than anyone else in the league.

Now take a look at Baldwin's graph of the most efficient offenses in football:

new-age analytical @benbbaldwin

Rushing and passing offense through week 14 https://t.co/CU3gYHuoDv

Those graphs tell two different stories, but you can tie them together: The Ravens offense is revolutionary, risk-tasking and remarkably efficient, and those things don't all have to be mutually exclusive.

That's in part because Jackson can basically do whatever he wants due to his ridiculous speed (four runs of 19 mph or more Thursday, per the Fox broadcast) and passing efficiency.

If he wants to call his own shot at any given time, who's going to tell him no? Do you want to be head coach John Harbaugh and tell the NFL's best quarterback that you don't trust him enough?

Probably not, given that Jackson entered the night ranked third in passing DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) and first by a wide margin in rushing DVOA among all signal-callers, per Football Outsiders.

On Thursday, the Heisman Trophy winner threw a touchdown pass once every 4.6 times. He rushed for 10.8 yards per carry and threw for 9.2 yards per attempt. Jackson was sacked just once and had zero turnovers.

The 22-year-old could have piled up his stats even more, but he sat the final half of the fourth quarter with the Ravens up three touchdowns. 

The individual and team accolades also piled up on Thursday, with a few below:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

The Ravens scored a TD on each of their first 3 drives for the 4th time this season, the most by any team in the last 40 years. Baltimore broke a tie with several great offenses including the 2018 Chiefs, 2014 Packers, and 1999 Rams. (h/t @EliasSports) https://t.co/OM9LnVV1r5

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Lamar Jackson breaks Mike Vick's 2006 single-season rush yards record for a QB with his 5-yard rush in the 1st quarter. Earlier, Jackson had his 10th 20-yard rush this season, joins Vick as the only QBs with 10 such rushes in a season in the last 40 seasons. (h/t @EliasSports ) https://t.co/ef127zHGn2

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

Lamar Jackson has 20 touchdowns on 90 completions in his last six games.

Jamison Hensley @jamisonhensley

By throwing 5 touchdown passes Thursday, Lamar Jackson became the fifth QB all-time to record 40 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in his first or second NFL season.

The two-man MVP race between Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Seattle Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson ended on Thursday with the ex-Louisville star dominating in the air and on the ground in a convincing 21-point victory.

Wilson has undoubtedly been excellent for the 10-3 Seahawks, accounting for 29 touchdowns (26 passing, three rushing) on a team that ranks just No. 22 in scoring defense.

However, Jackson and the Ravens have broken football this year, to the point where they're on track to be the AFC's No. 1 seed and a front-runner for Super Bowl LIV.


What's Next?

Both teams will play next on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 1 p.m. ET.

The Jets will host the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Ravens will visit the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.