Lamar Jackson makes dynamic plays with his speedy legs and powerful right arm, lifting the Baltimore Ravens to impressive wins such as their latest one over Kansas City.
Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said there’s one player whose skill set can compare to Jackson’s.
“Michael Vick is probably the closest thing,” Campbell said.
Jackson is also close to the former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback in the NFL record books. In the win over the Chiefs, he ran for 100 yards for the ninth time in the regular season to pull within one of Vick’s league record.
If Jackson accounts for three touchdowns for Baltimore (1-1) against Detroit (0-2) on Sunday to increase his total to 92, just Patrick Mahomes and Hall of Famer Dan Marino will be ahead of him for the most throwing and running scores by a quarterback through his first 40 games in the NFL.
There’s a good chance Jackson will get himself or a teammate in the end zone with the ball at Ford Field, and not just because he’s facing the lowly Lions, who are giving up 38 points per game. The former Louisville star has thrown or run for a touchdown in 38 straight games, the longest active streak by 11 games and the fifth best in NFL history.
“He’s unbelievable, man, he really is,” Detroit quarterback Jared Goff said. “I think seeing him grow as a passer has been the scariest part of it all.”
Even though Jackson had not beaten Kansas City before Sunday night, he limited his celebration to 24 hours, as he would for any victory.
“I didn’t get on a high horse or anything and be like, `We just won a championship,’ or something,” he said. “None of that has happened yet. We still have a long season ahead of us.”
Detroit has lost two of its top cornerbacks to injury each of the first two weeks.
Jeff Okudah, the No. 3 pick overall last year, had a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in the opening loss to San Francisco. Ifeatu Melifonwu, drafted in the third round this year, was put on injured reserve after leaving Monday night’s game at Green Bay with a thigh injury.
That leaves the Lions with Amani Oruwariye, a fifth-round pick in 2019, and converted safety Bobby Price, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent last year.
Baltimore will have faced three of the NFL’s best tight ends before October.
Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson, who is tied for the league lead with 16 catches, has a chance to be the first tight end in league history to catch eight-plus passes and have a touchdown reception in each of the first three games in a season.
“They’ve got plenty of good players over there, but he’s the straw that stirs the drink,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
In Week 1, Darren Waller had 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown for Las Vegas in an overtime win over the Ravens. Travis Kelce had seven receptions for 109 yards and a sensational score for Kansas City against Baltimore on Sunday night.
SOLID SO FAR
Goff isn’t going to make anyone in Detroit forget about Matthew Stafford, but he is off to a solid start with the Lions.
Goff has connected on 69% of his passes for 584 yards and five touchdowns. He did, however, throw a pivotal pick-six in the season-opening loss to San Francisco and fumbled a snap in a setback to the Packers.
“I don’t know if we’re very proud about the results so far, but we’ve done some good things offensively,” Goff said.
Harbaugh was born about 55 miles from Detroit in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Ann Arbor Pioneer High School across the street from Michigan Stadium. His brother Jim, leads the Wolverines. That makes this weekend’s game a bit of a homecoming
“We got a lot of tickets,” the Baltimore coach said. “We’re helping the southeast Michigan economy I think, to some degree.”
Campbell acknowledged the team held veteran linebacker Jamie Collins out of practice this week as the team explores options to trade him, adding there are suitors for the former New England Patriot.
“Just felt like it was time for a reduced role and I have too much respect for him to do that,” Campbell said. “And, we felt like it was time for (Derrick) Barnes and (Jalen) Reeves-Maybin to play more.”