Lamar Jackson makes NFL history with huge day in win over Bengals

Lamar Jackson says he’s intent on shedding his “running quarterback” label as he continues his breakout season with the Baltimore Ravens.

The second-year quarterback who lit up opponents with his arm and his remarkable athleticism at Louisville en route to becoming a first-round pick of the Ravens put it in blunt terms last month.

Jackson: ‘I hate running’

“I hate running,” Jackson said prior to a September practice. “Only if I have to, but my job is to get the ball to the receivers, the tight ends, running backs. If I have to run, I’ll do it, but I’d rather just sit back and pass it. I like throwing touchdowns instead of running them.”

With all due respect to his talents as a passer, the Ravens would probably prefer if he kept his scrambling prowess in his tool belt.

He used it to great effect Sunday in a historic performance against the Bengals, torching Cincinnati with his arm and his legs in a 23-17 victory.

Jackson didn’t hate running on Sunday

Jackson completed 21 of 33 pass attempts for 236 yards and led the Ravens in rushing with 152 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts. His effort marks the first time a player in the Super Bowl era has passed for 200 yards and run for 150 in a regular-season game. Colin Kaepernick did so for the San Francisco 49ers during a 2012 playoff win over the Green Bay Packers that saw him tally 263 passing yards and 161 rushing yards.

Lamar Jackson's performance with his arm and legs Sunday marked a first in the Super Bowl era. (Getty)
Lamar Jackson's performance with his arm and legs Sunday marked a first in the Super Bowl era. (Getty)

‘I’m trying to win’

If it wasn’t clear from the box score, Jackson admitted after the game that he’s not abandoning his running game.

“I’m trying to win at the end of the day,” Jackson said. “If I gotta run, I gotta do it. Today, that's what it was. Sometimes I had to pass, sometimes I had to run. Came out with the W.”

Of course anyone paying attention to the Ravens recognizes that Jackson doesn’t have any intent of shutting down one of his most potent weapons. He entered Sunday with 308 yards through five games and passed Mark Ingram to become the team’s leading rusher with his new tally of 460 yards on the season.

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Arm’s pretty good too

Meanwhile he’s getting it done with his arm too. He entered Sunday averaging 254.2 passing yards per game with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 65.4 percent of hit pass attempts.

There’s a certain stigma around “running quarterbacks” that implies they’re not quite up to par in the passing game with the NFL’s top signal callers. It’s a stigma Jackson seems intent on shedding.

As long as he continues to progress with his arm as he has this season, that stigma won’t be a reality for Jackson. Meanwhile, he should probably keep running when it’s safe and the opportunity presents itself.

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