Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had 18 carries for 95 yards in today’s win over the Buccaneers, a stat line that would look normal for a running back but is unheard of for a quarterback.
In fact, Jackson is running so much that he’s playing like no other quarterback in NFL history. In his five starts, Jackson has run the ball 26, 11, 17, 14 and 18 times. That’s an average of 17.2 rushing attempts per start. No other quarterback has ever averaged more than 10.1 rushing attempts per start over the course of a season.
There have been four games this season when a quarterback ran the ball 14 or more times, and Jackson was that quarterback all four times. Only one quarterback in NFL history has had four different games in one season when he ran the ball 14 or more times, and that was 1950 Steelers quarterback Joe Geri, who played in such a different era that he can barely even be described as a quarterback at all; he was more of a single wing tailback who functioned as his team’s primary runner, thrower, punter and kicker.
In the five games Lamar Jackson has started, the Ravens have 234 runs and 119 passes. That’s a 2-1 run-pass ratio, which is unheard of in today’s NFL.
The question, however, is whether Jackson can keep playing this way, and whether the Ravens can keep winning if he does. In today’s NFL, passing is more efficient than running, and in the long run, it’s highly unlikely that Jackson can be a long-term success as a starting quarterback if he keeps passing like he did today, when he completed 14 of 23 passes for 131 yards.
Some day, Jackson will have to throw the ball to win. But at the moment, the Ravens are enjoying watching him help them win while keeping the ball on the ground.