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Lamar Jackson passes more but run game reigns supreme in win over Raiders

Lamar Jackson passes more but run game reigns supreme in win over Raiders

Lamar Jackson's NFL start in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals was one of the most anticipated game of the season for the Baltimore Ravens.

But even more anticipated was how the first-round pick would follow up on the record-making win in his second start against the Oakland Raiders. 

After going 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air and rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts Week 11,  Jackson and the Ravens made it clear that the first-round pick can, and will, throw the ball more in Week 12. 

That promise was kept as Jackson was 14-of-25 for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions finding Mark Andrews, John Brown, Hayden Hurst, Michael Crabtree and Nick Boyle along the way.

But the rushing game still reigned supreme for the Ravens in the 34-17 win.

Running back Gus 'the bus' Edwards recorded 100+ rushing yards for the second straight week, finishing the day with 23 rushing attempts for 118 yards while trade deadline acquisition, Ty Montgomery, saw his fair share of action with eight rushing attempts for 51 yards.

During the second-half of the game, the Ravens committed to sticking with what Jackson has been the most comfortable, and successful with, and that's taking matters into his own hands.

Jackson finished the day with 11 rushing attempts for 71 yards and one rushing touchdown with his long coming in at 39 yards. He now has the most rushing yards (192) by a quarterback in his first two consecutive starts in the Super Bowl Era, per ESPN Stats & Info.

It was another solid day for the rookie in what was head coach John Harbaugh's 100th career win. 

Now as the Ravens head to Atlanta in Week 13 to take on the Falcons, the team is faced with an interesting dilemma as Joe Flacco is nearing a return from a hip injury sustained in Week 9.

Nonetheless, the Ravens must feel confident in the options they have after a total team win. 

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There's a chance Robert Griffin III could start for the Ravens in two weeks

There's a chance Robert Griffin III could start for the Ravens in two weeks

For anyone hoping to see Robert Griffin III start at quarterback for the Ravens, there's a way it could happen without an injury to Lamar Jackson.

According to Mike Garafolo, if the Ravens secure their playoff seed by Week 17, Griffin would be the expected starter for Baltimore. 

The Ravens are currently the top seed in the AFC with a one-game lead over the Patriots. They also hold the tiebreaker over New England. 

Their opponent in Week 17, the Steelers, are 8-5 and hold the sixth seed in the conference. They'd likely be playing for their playoff lives against the Ravens, so even though Baltimore would have a chance to keep their arch-rival out of the postseason, it would appear Griffin would start if their playoff standing is sealed. 

Griffin has appeared in five games for the Ravens this season and has completed 12-of-16 throws for 126 yards and a touchdown. His last start was with the Browns in Week 17 of 2016. He completed 29-40 passed for 232 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a loss to, you guessed it, the Steelers. 

So if you want to see Robert Griffin III start a football game under center again, it's time to root for the Ravens to secure the top seed in the conference. They can do that with a win and a loss from both the Patriots and Chiefs. 

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Michael Vick: 'I couldn’t even foresee Lamar [Jackson] doing this so quickly.'

Michael Vick: 'I couldn’t even foresee Lamar [Jackson] doing this so quickly.'

Lamar Jackson became the second quarterback ever to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season in Week 14 against the Bills, joining legendary scrambler Michael Vick. 

He's now just 23 yards away from breaking Vick's single-season rushing record for quarterbacks (1,039). With Jackson bound to pass Vick over the next game or two, the four-time Pro-Bowler talked with Clifton Brown of Ravens.com about the record and his relationship with Baltimore's bright new star. 

“It’s a cool moment in sports, especially for Lamar and also for the Baltimore Ravens,” Vick said. “It’s something that everybody can be excited about. Breaking that record, it’s something I can honestly say I didn’t think I’d see for a long time. When Lamar was coming out of college, we had conversations. I used to tell him, ‘Play your game, be you.’ But I couldn’t even foresee Lamar doing this so quickly.”

Vick and Jackson met through a mutual quarterback coach based in South Florida named Oliver Boseman. Vick liked Jackson's game, so he reached out. 

“Oliver [Boseman] put me in contact with Lamar, and we just stayed in contact, built a relationship,” he said. “It’s cool to see Lamar having so much fun, so much success with his teammates. That’s what the game is all about.”

Not every quarterback with elite running ability makes it in the NFL. For every Vick and Jackson, there's a Marcus Mariota and Terrelle Pryor. 

Building an offense around a running quarterback's strengths rather than making them fit into a pass-heavy system puts those players in a position to succeed. That's exactly what John Harbaugh and his staff have done with Jackson, and Vick loves what he sees. 

“If he had gone to a different place, they may have tried to throw Lamar into a different system,” Vick said. “He could’ve done it, shown his scrambling ability when a play broke down. But it’s different when you have a coach whose expertise is the run game. And John Harbaugh is a coach who’s going to insist that the defense is tight, that the whole ship stays air tight.”

But what gave Vick confidence Jackson was bound for success? The fact he got to work with Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman. 

“Greg Roman spent time with Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, and their offense was different and dynamic when Kaepernick burst on the scene,” he said. “Then Roman had success with Tyrod (Taylor) in the same system. But now he gets a guy like Lamar, who’s a phenomenal talent. You hook him up with Roman, a master of the run game. You put the fastest quarterback in the game, with that? Okay.”

Vick changed the game, and so is Jackson with his play this season. Time will tell whether he can lift the Ravens to a level Vick never could with his teams. 

A Super Bowl championship. 

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