Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is once again playing like the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. He led the Ravens to a fantastic comeback victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football.
The former MVP’s historic performance opened a lot of eyes, including those of the referees. They gave Jackson precisely what he’s deserved since he entered the league.
Lamar Jackson is the most dynamic dual-threat QB we’ve ever seen
The NFL has never seen another player like Lamar Jackson. Michael Vick is the most similar, but even he couldn’t accomplish some of Jackson’s feats.
The Ravens’ QB’s career is already legendary. He broke Vick’s single-season quarterback rushing record in 2019. Jackson has racked up 3,247 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground in 51 games.
The Louisville product is the most dangerous player in the league with the ball in his hands, regardless of position. Making defenders look extremely silly is just another day at the office. As phenomenal as Jackson is as a runner, he continues to prove he’s dangerous as a passer as well.
In the Week 5 victory over the Colts, Jackson finished with 504 total yards, and 442 were through the air. The narrative that he isn’t a true quarterback never made any sense. Everything the doubters say Jackson can’t do, he ends up checking off his list.
Some analysts agree that Lamar Jackson is the MVP through the first five weeks, including ESPN’s Mina Kimes.
Referees allowed Jackson to take hits other QBs don’t take
Lamar Jackson has carried the 538 times in his first four NFL seasons. That’s unheard of for a quarterback. Naturally, he takes an insane amount of hits from opposing defenders. However, some of the hits commonly get called for other players at the same position.
The 24-year-old spoke out last week on the lack of calls going his way. “I just feel we should be protecting all quarterbacks in the league, not just myself,” Jackson said per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
“Everyone should be included in that, especially while we’re in the pocket — our leg area and stuff like that,” he continued. “Football is football. Guys get aggressive sometimes. Stuff happens. They probably don’t mean it. I’d like the ref to throw the flag, though, if they catch it.”
The refs finally caught it in Week 5, when they called a roughing the passer penalty on a late hit by Colts linebacker Darius Leonard. Lamar Jackson shouted out referee Land Clark for the call.
“Mr. Clark, I appreciate that call,” he said.” “That was a pretty dope call, and it was fair, too.”
A former MVP should not have to beg the refs to make the right calls
There’s sometimes a disparity in the treatment of dual-threat quarterbacks compared to traditional pocket passers.
According to ESPN, the roughing the passer penalty called on Leonard was the first time an official threw a flag of its kind since Dec. 2019.
Heading into Week 5, Jackson dropped back 600 times since the last time the referees called a personal foul. Historically, quarterbacks get special treatment when it comes to penalties.
The NFL implemented roughing the passer penalties to protect signal-callers. Quarterbacks touch the ball on every play, and they’re usually the face of the team. However, Jackson wasn’t getting the same courtesy as his counterparts.
The lack of calls in the Pompano Beach, Florida native’s favor was egregious. He runs more often than Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be protected the same way. Jackson’s running ability has nothing to do with him getting hit in the pocket, either.
Lamar Jackson is a former MVP and could win the award a second time. He deserves calls, too. He’ll remember this one. “It was dope to get one.”
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference