Lamar Jackson was not supposed to be this good. He definitely was not supposed to be this good as a quarterback in the NFL.
Of course, anyone who watched him play in college knows those statements weren’t true but we still had to hear them for two years leading up to his first start of the 2019 season. Now Jackson is the frontrunner for the league’s MVP and there is very little argument against that right now.
The Baltimore Ravens departed with a Super Bowl-winning quarterback for a 22-year-old who was supposed to move to wide receiver. Now they appear to be the best team in the AFC as they have won seven straight games, including dominant wins against last year’s Super Bowl participants, and it is all because of Lamar Jackson.
Unfortunately for me, I got to see it in primetime Monday night as Jackson embarrassed my Los Angeles Rams at home on national television. He finished with 169 yards and five touchdowns through the air, leading the Ravens to a 45-6 (yes, I know) victory in Los Angeles.
It was the third time this season Jackson has thrown for as many touchdowns as incomplete passes.
Jackson has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes this year while throwing 24 touchdowns with just five interceptions. On top of that, he has rushed for 876 yards as a quarterback.
He is doing things at the quarterback position we have never seen in the NFL and that includes Michael Vick. It’s no wonder his running back Mark Ingram is not slowing down on the hype train for Jackson’s play.
“LJ for MVP. If you got a problem, come see me,” Ingram told ESPN during his post-game conference.
It was not the first time Ingram made his feelings clear about the MVP race and I have to agree with him.
During Monday’s loss, I started coming to terms with the Rams looking like they will miss the postseason. My first thought was I have absolutely no reason to watch the NFL playoffs this year.
Very soon after that thought, Jackson had another ridiculous pass and I had a different thought. As long as Jackson is playing, he makes the NFL must-watch television every single week.
For the most part, my NFL viewing is an afternoon of NFL RedZone and whenever the Rams are on but for anyone who is a football fan, Jackson is the most entertaining part of the sport right now.
Any chance you have to watch him play, you have to take it.
And I understand the NFL may not be everyone’s favorite anymore but oftentimes, the biggest reason I hear is players are in it for only the money rather than the love of the game. With his actions and words (and constant smiles), you can quickly see Jackson loves the game of football.
“I’m trying to win a Super Bowl. We’re taking it a game at a time. I’m not worried about MVP.”
Those were Jackson’s words on ESPN after Monday’s game when asked about the race for the league’s top individual trophy. If you’re looking for someone to root for in the NFL, Jackson is an easy choice.
And if you’re not, it will not matter. Because Jackson is going to continue to be one of the best players for years to come and it’ll be your loss if you choose not to watch him.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Tribune.