Lamar Jackson running the ball more often than any other quarterback, ever

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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.

76 responses to “Lamar Jackson running the ball more often than any other quarterback, ever

  1. He’s not a QB that can occasionally run, he’s a RB that can occasionally throw. These guys get about half a season then defenses figure them out and the honeymoon is over.

  2. TOP has always been a solid indicator of success in the NFL. Especially when backed with a very good to great defense. The NY Giants won a Super Bowl this way with their 3rd quarter drive vs Buffalo. I believe the splits on that drive were something like 11 rushes and 3 passes.

  3. Joe Flacco: I won a Super Bowl, was crowned MVP, and have thrown for over 38,000 yards.

    Baltimore Ravens: Hey, thanks.

    Lamar Jackson: I’m Lamar Jackson.

    Baltimore Ravens: OMG YAAAASSSS!!

  4. This is what Jackson is. He is an elusive running QB. He not a great passer despite his college numbers were. NFL defenses are far better than college defenses. RG III and Colin Kaepernick could beat you with their feet, but both could also beat you with their arm. Tim Tebow was an great running QB in college, but not a decent as a passer, and he couldn’t read defenses. Cam Newton can in the NFL as a running QB from Auburn, but had a questionable reputation as a passer. He proved he could pass as well as run. Jackson looks faster and far more elusive than either RG III, Kap or Cam. Cam is a more powerful runner than Jackson. The question is can he hold thru an NFL season, and can Jackson also beat you with his arm at the NFL level?

  5. Statistically speaking he is their starting runningback. On pace for 270carries in a season. insane. On the flipside as he improves numbers are very similar to Flacco. Perhaps Morningwheg is the issue. Who knew?

  6. He has to run. Because he’s an awful QB. Even the passes he completes look bad. Poor fundamentals – struggles to set his feet, stands with his feet astride, and flips the ball. Today he threw one straight into the breadbasket of a LB. and the guy dropped it. At the Ravens’ 40 yard line.

    This team has zero chance of getting anywhere with him at QB. Tim Tebow II.

  7. It’s funny Harbaugh was on the bubble a few weeks ago but he deserves a Comeback of the Year award for winning with Lamar Jackson. That kid is not a quarterback and Harbaugh has earned his job imho

  8. He’ll be ok.
    He has RG3 advising him on how to avoid injury.
    Or at least that’s what the game announcers said today.
    I’m convinced.

  9. If he was drafted by new england or pittsburgh…

    … the nfl would change the rules to protect him (even more)
    and throw more flags at opponents to guarantee victories.

    Anyone who bets on these games are idiots.

  10. Running may be exciting but you cant win for long that way. Defenses adjust and the hits take a toll. It’s been proven time and time again.

  11. The running QB approach is a proven effective method in the NFL. Please keep doing this for as long as you are in the AFC North. Go Browns!

  12. doctorrustbelt says:
    December 16, 2018 at 10:09 pm
    If he was drafted by new england or pittsburgh…

    … the nfl would change the rules to protect him (even more)
    and throw more flags at opponents to guarantee victories.

    Anyone who bets on these games are idiots.
    —————-
    Couldn’t have said it better my freakin self.

  13. End the era of fake QB’s – either you are a passer or you are a running back!

    Time to limit the fraud that is being perpetuated by the offenses – limit these gimmick QB’s to 7 carries and then disqualify them for the game on the eighth rush if it is for positive yardage.

    And since we do things for the health of the players, let’s institute this ban to protect gimmick QB’s – or – allow the defense to go after such QB’s by waiving the protections for any type of hit after the seventh positive yardage rush! Time to protect the defenses from the frauds being perpetuated by teams with fake QB’s that are really running backs who sometimes throw.

  14. The venn diagram of people that thing running qb’s “dont last” and think Lamar Jackson should have declared as a WR is a single overlapping circle. Mike Vick and Kap are two of the most amazing players to have ever played the position. It works

  15. 4-1 as a starting QB and just a couple of plays away from 5-0. Hate him all you want to but all he does is win. He made the Bengals defense look like they’ve never heard of an RPO

  16. Can he prove to be durable enough and keep winning with limited passing attempts?

    Only time will tell.

    So far for the team and the opponents he has faced, Jackson has proven himself to be a short term success. Unfortunately for the Ravens, every NFL team that relied too heavily on the run as the Ravens are now doing, have proven to be unable to sustain any season long success.

    The success the Ravens have will all come to a complete halt if and when Jackson gets hurt just as every running QB before him got hurt.

  17. I wish all people the best. But, this just can not last over a couple years. Vick was bigger, quicker, faster, and had a stronger arm, and the NFL solved him pretty quick. With Vick’s cannon arm he could adjust. Jackson does not have the arm or the accuracy to adjust like Vick

  18. The question isn’t about next year. It’s about now. Right now, that offense is tough to stop with him running with the option to pass much like Vick early, Kaepernick in his half year taking over from Smith, Robert Griffin, etc. If the Ravens get in the playoffs with this defense and the ability to run along with him as an option to, it’s going to be an issue for any team they play. Would not want to see them in the playoffs. I also expect him to be a better QB in the long run than the players mentioned earlier. He only got better at Louisville and takes coaching well.

  19. Well they weren’t winning with Flacco so I say keep doing what you are doing. But this won’t end well for Jackson or the Ravens as it’s not sustainable. He’s already been knocked out if two games this year..

  20. If only the Ravens could look into the future and see what might become of their young, run first QB…..

  21. So much negativity…a lot of insecurities.

    It’s so weird how these individuals can’t just enjoy the sport for the athleticism & excitement.

    Why is there so much vitriol aimed at Lamar Jackson? Psychoanalyze these comments.

    Lamar Jackson is a football player who won a Heisman, he’s doing whatever it takes to win games for his team and it shouldn’t matter how he does it as long as it’s within the confines of the rules.

  22. campcouch says:
    December 16, 2018 at 10:33 pm
    Josh Allen is running too. Let’s not gloss over that.
    ——————————————
    Josh Allan is only running so he can save his life. Offensive line poor an no WR’s making separation so he can throw. Be interesting to see how he goes if Buffalo get him the weapons he needs this off season.

  23. There isn’t a safe place on the field for any NFL QB.
    How many “pocket passers” get injured every year?

  24. If I were him, I’d spend my offseason seeking out and picking the brains of former great QBs. He’d be the scariest qb in the league if he could thrown as well as he could run.

  25. If you want to be a runner like Russell Wilson you better pass like Russell Wilson. Pure runners don’t make it. And 14 of 23 131 yards isn’t so bad If you have a good defense, like the Ravens, but it’s his awkward throwing style.

  26. Wake up kid and understand that your body will betray you. If you want to see that long term deal you gonna have to learn how to sit in the pocket and read defenses. There is no offseason for you, get in that film room and learn. The league waits for nobody. This is a business.

  27. What all of these Einsteins don’t understand is that this is not a permanent situation for Jackson or the Ravens. But it’s working now, with this personnel. So you ride it until next year.

  28. The one thing about Lamar that no one can take away is that he is exciting. Yeah, he throws a sloppy ball. But he is extremely elusive and fast. As he settled down in the game yesterday he made some good throws for good yardage. There were times when the pocket was collapsing and if it weren’t for his natural talents, he would have been sacked for a loss. Most QBs would have been. The other thing I’ve heard about Lamar is his work ethic. Just keep showing up to work every day trying to get better. If he does that, that is all I ask. Get to the offseason and fine tune all the areas that need tweaking (passing).

  29. Say what you want about the kid right now, he’s WINNING! It doesn’t matter how you do it. The league may be pass happy, but that means that most defenses have now been built to defend the pass and lack the front seven to handle a ton of running. The Ravens could legitimately win this year with this game plan.

    Next year, that’s a different story! If Lamar doesn’t add weight and develop into at least an average passer, he won’t be successful for more than a year or two. The jury is out long term, but run the dang ball all you want this year my friend!!!

  30. nynj1986 says:
    December 16, 2018 at 11:10 pm
    He is just going to get run down like RgIII then go right back to Flacco.
    ………………………………………………………………………………

    RG3 only broke down because he’s made of glass and he did not know how to/refused to slide and take some big hits….Time will tell if LJ is cut form the same cloth.

  31. They’re going to keep hating the kid who has played in less than six NFL games and he’s going to keep winning and continuing to progress. Haters are going to hate. Wonder why they don’t do this to Josh Allen.

  32. sigbouncer says:
    December 16, 2018 at 9:34 pm
    TOP has always been a solid indicator of success in the NFL. Especially when backed with a very good to great defense. The NY Giants won a Super Bowl this way with their 3rd quarter drive vs Buffalo. I believe the splits on that drive were something like 11 rushes and 3 passes.

    ————————-

    That was a million years ago. Its a different game now.

  33. LJ doesn’t take big hits, he does an excellent job of avoiding them. He’s extremely accurate over the middle, just needs to clean up the deep throws. If he starts hitting the little easy throws he’s been over-thinking he’ll be a superstar.

  34. I am a Ravens fan and happy that they’re winning at the moment. If his running take the Ravens to the playoff, then keep running. It was so hard looking at the Flacco the last few years. Hopefully the coaches work harder on Jackon’s throwing game in the offseason.

  35. They are winning right now because they control time of possession and have a good defense.

    I am hoping that Lamar with a full offseason of training and preseason that his throwing mechanics improve. I believe that was the Ravens plan for this season – run with Joe and fix Lamar but Joe got hurt and they are winning by running and defense.

    I hope that his passing improves otherwise we will be going through a Jeff Blake, Kyle Bowler, Steve McNair carousel for years like we had before Flacco.

  36. Flacco is due $78M over the next three seasons if he plays and Ravens get $54M in cap savings if cut.
    Jackson is due $4.5M over the next two seasons before his rookie deal would be up.
    Do the math and you can see why the Ravens front office is giving the reps to Lamar now.

  37. 14 of 23 for 131 and no interceptions isn’t a bad game on a rainy day. Given the conditions, a passing focused game plan would have been a horrible idea.

  38. “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” I’d pay to see that today.

  39. Jackson should spend some time looking at video of RGIII and Michael Vick to see what happened to those guys because they ran so often.

  40. Lamar needs to work on passing but as of now we are winning..he cant sustain his style of play and last cam newton gets battered n hes 250 Lamar’s a toothpick also hes been testing up teams that rank near or at the bottom defensively this week at chargers will in my eyes be his first true test we shall see

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