SANTA CLARA -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has played his way into becoming one of the big stories of the NFL season.
Jackson clearly is the headliner this week, as the Ravens and 49ers prepare for a Week 12 matchup featuring two of the league’s top teams.
Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said he believes Jackson’s ascension in the early MVP talk has been great for the game.
“The kid deserves it,” Sherman said. “He’s playing good football. It’s good for black quarterbacks. It’s been a long time. It’s been the rhetoric around this league that black quarterbacks have to run, or black quarterbacks can’t do this, or this league is always a drop-back quarterback league.”
Jackson is the only quarterback in NFL history to produce at least 2,000 passing yards (2,427) and 800 rushing yards (876) through the first 11 games of a season. He is on pace to break Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record of 1,039 yards for a quarterback.
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While spearheading the Ravens’ top-ranked offense, Jackson leads the NFL with 30 touchdowns produced – 24 passing, six rushing. He twice has produced perfect passer ratings of 158.3. Ben Roethlisberger in 2007 is the only other player to have two perfect single-game ratings in the same season.
Sherman looks at the big picture and how Jackson’s play fits into a change of perceptions from decades earlier. After all, Jackson, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Dak Prescott rank within the NFL’s top nine in passer rating.
“This kid is being dynamic. He’s taking over the league,” Sherman said of Jackson. “And I think the highest passer ratings right now are all black quarterbacks. So it’s a real cool time for the league. Hearing about him, you’re happy that the kid is getting his just due because he’s playing at a high level.
“And at the end of the day, we’ll play the game, we’ll play hard, and we’ll do what we have to do to help our team win the game.”