Lamar Jackson and the Ravens are always the game to watch
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images Lamar Jackson is the MVP favorite and if you don’t like that, you have to fight Mark Ingram. It’s a shame the NFL isn’t more flexible with kickoff times. There’s really no reason Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens should be playing games along with half the league during the crowded 1 p.m. ET slate of games on Sundays. The football-watching world should be free to give its undivided attention to the Ravens. The Ravens lead the league in scoring with 34.1 points per game. That alone makes the team worth watching, but it’s how Baltimore is dumping an avalanche of offense on opponents that’s truly special. Never was that more evident than during the Ravens’ 41-7 destruction of the Texans in Week 11. The star in that game — and every other Ravens game, for that matter — was Jackson. If he wasn’t already the leader in the MVP race, Jackson solidified his place as the frontrunner with four passing touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added 86 yards rushing on only nine attempts. But the Ravens’ unstoppable offense is more than just Jackson, though. It seemed like everyone in a purple uniform was determined to match Jackson’s wizardry with a highlight of their own. There was running back Mark Ingram, who pulled out a slippery move to get free on one of his two touchdowns: The Ravens are just toying with defenders now @markingram21 pic.twitter.com/1iqJxnRt8P— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 17, 2019 And tight end Mark Andrews, who finished with 75 yards and a touchdown. Most of that yardage came on his longest play of the season. .@MAndrews_81 with room to run... 51-yard gain! #RavensFlock: CBS: NFL app // Yahoo Sports appWatch free on mobile: https://t.co/414bcK9I5b pic.twitter.com/REnoSBLNNT— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2019 Don’t forget about Gus Edwards either, who had his first 100-yard rushing game of 2019, despite only touching the ball eight times. Gus Edwards out here bulldozin pic.twitter.com/0X47w1allB— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) November 17, 2019 There’s plenty more too, like Willie Snead making a ridiculous catch, and Seth Roberts catching his first touchdown as a member of the Ravens. But the man spurring on the offensive revolution in Baltimore is No. 8. Lamar Jackson is taking over as the MVP favorite After his four-touchdown day against the Texans, Jackson has 19 touchdowns and five interceptions through 10 games. His passer rating of 106.3 is way ahead of the franchise record of 93.6, set by Joe Flacco in 2010. With the Texans determined to bottle up Jackson as a runner, he had no problem shredding the Houston secondary as a passer. He completed 17 of his 24 passes and fired accurate passes downfield when plays were there to be made. Lamar tossing out dimes @Lj_era8 pic.twitter.com/Oy1tKj5PZo— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 17, 2019 But it’s that other element of Jackson’s game that sets him apart. He’s well on his way toward setting records as the best rushing quarterback in NFL history. Even with the Texans defense only letting Jackson run nine times, he still embarrassed them when he took off. LAMARVELOUS. pic.twitter.com/FdaGebKcIP— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 17, 2019 It’s somehow even more hilarious to watch Jackson juke defenders out of their shoes in tiny dot form. Lamar Jackson continues to gash opposing defenses on the ground—9 carries, 86 yards in today's win vs HOU.@Lj_era8 has gained 518 rushing yards after a defender closes within 1-yard this season, almost double the next closest QB (Josh Allen, 281).#HOUvsBAL | #RavensFlock pic.twitter.com/bKnl30KvgG— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) November 17, 2019 It’s like watching Mario run through Goombas with a star. And it’s been like that all season. Jackson has 788 rushing yards and he’s averaging 6.9 yards per carry. The only quarterback to ever top 1,000 rushing yards in a season was Michael Vick with 1,039. Jackson is well on pace to soar past that mark and set the rushing record for a quarterback. If you don’t think that makes Jackson the favorite to be named MVP, well I’m sorry, but you have to fight Ingram. Everybody needs a hype man like @markingram21 Right, @Lj_era8? pic.twitter.com/7czLBgvf5q— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 17, 2019 I’m sure you can take him. The Ravens’ chances at winning the Super Bowl will likely depend on how healthy they’re able to remain in the last couple months of the season, and whether the defense can show up every week. It struggled early in the year in losses to the Chiefs and Browns, but picked up significantly in October and November. In the Week 11 win against the Texans, it forced two turnovers and sacked Deshaun Watson seven times. Even if the defense does end up reverting to its lesser self, though, the Ravens offense is a blast you don’t want to miss.
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