BALTIMORE — As Lamar Jackson etched himself into the NFL record book because of his legs, it was his right arm that was the story of Thursday’s drubbing against the Jets.
Jackson broke the single-season rushing record for a quarterback with a carry in the first quarter, but his passing stole the show in primetime.
He threw for five touchdown passes — the third time he’s done so this season — and 212 yards in a 42-21 win at M&T Bank Stadium. While the Jets struggled to contain he and the Ravens' speed, Jackson's passes sliced through the Jets secondary.
“His performance speaks for itself,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Our guys played well, made some plays...Lamar is definitely the leader there. He’s the catalyst, but those guys are making plays together and that’s what you need to do to win the game.”
Jackson’s passing kept the Jets’ defense off-balance all night, as a mix of scrambles and deep balls left them confused throughout the game.
"I think we were just trying to figure out what was going on,” Jets coach Adam Gase said. “Sometimes against this group, you do not want to commit, because you are unsure. They run their offense well, but you have to pull the trigger and make a decision in real time, and it is not easy."
A 24-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Marquise Brown in the back of the end zone sealed the deal, as the Ravens earned yet another blowout win.
Thursday’s game marked the fifth time this season the Ravens have scored more than 40 points in a game.
Jackson’s run in the first quarter set the single-season record and propelled him to 86 yards on the ground for the day.
“That’s just the chemistry and hard work,” Jackson said. “You know, we take practice like it’s a game, and that’s one thing I had to work on individually by myself — because our guys work so hard, I (wanted) to throw dimes to them and make sure their job is a lot easier catching them in stride, and they just help me out by catching the ball and doing what they do.”
While his arm was on display, the reason his performance will be remembered is what he did with his rushes.
Jackson broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record for quarterbacks in the first quarter, then added 64 yards on top of that for good measure. Now alone at the top of the NFL record book, Jackson can claim the most dominant season by a quarterback on the ground in league history.
“It’s pretty cool,” Jackson said. “My favorite player growing up; it’s amazing and I’m going to cherish that forever and just got to keep it going. Records are made to be broken, like he said. I heard him say that, and it’s an honor for me to do it.”
The Ravens, and Jackson, put 218 yards on the ground against the Jets, who entered as the league's second-best rush defense allowing just 78.8 per game.
“He’s different,” Jets safety Marcus Maye said. “He’s not like the rest of them. He has the ability to run around and make plays. There’s probably only a handful of guys who can do it the way he does it.”
Jackson also led the way to a second-straight AFC North title for the Ravens, who are just a step away from clinching a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Should they get to that point, the Ravens will have their MVP-candidate at quarterback to thank. And this year, Jackson has something to prove.
“That’s my fault we lost in that first-round last year, but this year is a different team, different mindset,” Jackson said. “It’s a brotherhood going on right now, and we’ve just got to keep it going.”
So while Thursday’s game was one for the record books, everyone on the Ravens will tell you there’s more pressing matters at hand.
Even as Jackson became the NFL’s best rushing quarterback in a season, and tied the franchise record for passing touchdowns in a season, it’s clear it’s not something they’re all that concerned about.
“But it’s really, it’s something I’m sure Lamar, as he says, he’ll look back on some day fondly,” Harbaugh said. “But right now, he has other things to think about."