Lamar Jackson Is Breathtaking – But How Long Can He Keep This Up?

Posted in: Op-edSports News
December 13, 2019 9:00 PM UTC

Lamar Jackson did what was expected of him against the Jets Thursday night. But Ravens fans should make sure they enjoy him while they can.

  • Thursday night’s game against the Jets was expected to be a big one for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
  • With the victory, the Ravens locked up their division. Jackson set multiple records during another big night.
  • As exciting as he is, running quarterbacks like Jackson are just a hit away from becoming irrelevant.

Lamar Jackson had the kind of night against the New York Jets that Ravens fans have grown accustomed to this season. As usual, he was exciting every time he ran the ball Thursday night—and deadly whenever he passed it.

Like it has in 11 other games this season, his play led the way to victory for Baltimore. But this wasn’t just any old win. With it, the Ravens clinched the division title and moved a step closer to locking up the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the playoffs.

But this game was about more than just winning the division and playoff seeding. It was another chance for Lamar Jackson to show his doubters that they were wrong about him.

Well—they were right about his potential impact as a runner, but not about his potential as a passer.

One Night, Two Records for Ravens QB

Lamar Jackson was expected to set the record for most rushing yards in a single season by a quarterback and did so early in the first quarter on this run:

Former record holder Michael Vick was among those congratulating Jackson via social media during the game:

But what many fans were probably not aware of was just how well he has been throwing the ball this year. He entered the game with 28 passing touchdowns and needed only two to become the second Ravens quarterback to throw 30 touchdown passes in a single season.

Vinny Testaverde holds the high mark with 33—but now shares it with Jackson after he threw five more Thursday night.

But it will likely become his in the first quarter next week.

Enjoy Lamar Jackson While You Can, Ravens Fans

Lamar Jackson is an exciting, dynamic player that has the world at his feet right now. He’s riding the high from all of his success, as is the team and the fans. But they all may want to be sure and appreciate it to the fullest—because it isn’t going to last.

Yes, he can pass, but Jackson is, first and foremost, a running quarterback. Just like every running quarterback before him, he is going to take one too many hits (like he did at the end of his record-setting run) and go down with an injury.

The very thing that makes Lamar Jackson so exciting also ensures that the excitement can only last for so long. | Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

His athleticism will keep him safe—to a degree—but defensive players are becoming faster and faster with each season. As coaches watch more film on him, someone is bound to develop a defense that will be able to contain him.

Being the competitor that he is, he is going to try to outsmart—and failing that, outrun—that defense. In the process, he is going to take a lot of hits. The more hits a player takes, the more likely he is to have a severe injury.

Since every defender wants to lay his best hit on the opposing quarterback, the danger is even greater for Jackson.

It happened to Michael Vick (broken leg). It happened to Robert Griffin III (knee) back during his Redskins days. Colin Kaepernick’s descent began with a shoulder injury—and then there is the injury-riddled career of Cam Newton.

So, don’t take him for granted, Ravens fans. Don’t bank on having him for the next 15 years. Act like every year is the last (because it might be). Appreciate him and enjoy him—while you still can.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:41 PM UTC

Travis Pulver @FatManWriting

Travis graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, with a master's in Political Science. Prior to that, he attended IU Purdue in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science and earned his first degree at Texas A & M in Galveston, TX, a BS in Maritime Administration. You can contact him on Twitter at @FatManWriting. Over the last few years, Travis has worked for several news-oriented sites that focused on sports, especially football, baseball, basketball, and to a lesser extent, boxing and MMA. Having grown up in the football-crazed state of Texas, football is his first love. According to his mother, he was more excited to watch NFL and college games as a baby than Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse. His passion for sports quickly spread to baseball (favorite team is the Houston Astros), basketball, and track and field as a kid. It wasn’t until his college years that he discovered the tremendous game of rugby. He currently lives in the United States in Indiana (is a basketball fan but hates going to the Indy 500) with his wife and two adorable kids.

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