OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson could make history Dec. 8 at Buffalo, as he could break Michael Vick’s NFL single-season record for rushing yardage by a quarterback. Jackson said it would be “an honor” to break the mark of Vick, whom Jackson has often called his favorite player, but Jackson said he is more focused on the Ravens (10-2) extending their current eight-game winning streak.
On the strength of that streak — the longest in franchise history in a regular season — the Ravens have taken over the top seeding in the AFC, but they are just one game ahead of the Bills (9-3), who host the Ravens at 1 p.m. Dec. 8.
Jackson enters Sunday’s game with 977 rushing yards, 62 shy of Vick’s record-setting total of 1,039 yards in 2006. Jackson has topped 62 rushing yards in nine of 12 games this year, including eight of the past nine.
Speaking before the team’s practice on Dec. 4, Jackson said, “It would be an honor” to surpass Vick, noting that “Michael Vick was my favorite player. For me to do such a thing is incredible. He had the record for a long time. It would be pretty cool, but I’m focused on the win.”
Jackson has already erased one of Vick’s records. In the Ravens’ 20-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers Dec. 1, Jackson rushed for 101 yards, his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the year. That broke the record for the most 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback in a single season, set by Vick in 2004 and then tied by Vick in 2006 and by Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.
Jackson is considered one of the favorites for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award after leading the Ravens to a 10-2 start for the first time in franchise history. In addition to his electrifying running ability, Jackson ranks second in the league in touchdown passes (25) and fourth in passer rating (109.6).
With 25 touchdown passes and seven touchdown runs, Jackson has been responsible for 32 touchdowns this year, the most in the league.
If Jackson does break Vick’s record this weekend, that bodes well for the Ravens; they are 14-2 when Jackson rushes for at least 60 yards in a game, and 12-0 when he runs for at least 70 yards.
RICARD ‘GRATEFUL’ FOR EXTENSION: Ravens two-way player Patrick Ricard said he felt “very grateful” for a contract extension that he signed Dec. 3, giving the former undrafted rookie a deal through the 2021 season.
According to the NFL Network, the deal is worth $7.3 million for Ricard, who was set to become a restricted free agent this spring.
“I’m very grateful and very appreciative for the opportunity they have given me,” Ricard said as he met with reporters before the team’s practice Dec. 4. “It didn’t really hit me at first until I got that signing bonus, and I was like, ‘OK, this is actually happening.'”
Ricard, 25, joined the Ravens as an undrafted rookie defensive lineman out of Maine in 2017. But then-tight ends coach Greg Roman and Harbaugh took one look at the 6-foot-3, 303-pounder and suggested he take some reps at fullback.
Before long, Ricard was ferrying from defensive meetings to offensive meetings and throwing a blue mesh penny over his white jersey in practice to indicate he was now playing offense. He has since become an invaluable two-way player, with his role expanding this year on offense. He has been a lead blocker for the Ravens’ No. 1-ranked running game and has a career-high eight catches for 47 yards.
On defense, Ricard has nine tackles and a sack this year, which was a strip-sack returned for a touchdown by Tyus Bowser against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ricard has played at least 10 snaps on both offense and defense in seven games this year.
“Pat’s done a great job, and is a real factor for us,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re very fortunate and blessed to have him for the next couple of years.”
HARBAUGH: JOHN BROWN ‘EXPLOSIVE FACTOR’ FOR BILLS: The Ravens were the beneficiary of John Brown’s big-play ability last year, and now they have to defend it, as Brown is the Bills’ top receiver in his first season in Buffalo.
Brown had 42 catches for 715 yards and five touchdowns last year in his only season with the Ravens, then signed a three-year, $27 million free-agent deal with the Bills. In 12 games this year, Brown leads the Bills in receptions (61), receiving yards (882) and touchdown catches (5).
“John’s their guy,” Harbaugh said. “He’s the guy downfield, on crossing routes, zone or man coverage, he’s just been an explosive factor for them. He’s one of the targets that we have to focus on.”
TRAWICK ACTIVATED FROM IR: The Ravens have activated safety and special teams ace Brynden Trawick from injured reserve and Harbaugh said he expects Trawick to play at Buffalo. Trawick has been out since suffering an elbow injury in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.
To make room for Trawick on the roster, the Ravens released safety Bennett Jackson, who was claimed via waivers by the New York Jets.
DIVINE INTERVENTION? POPE GETS RAVENS JERSEY: Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori is in Rome this week, and he came bearing a gift for Pope Francis: A Ravens No. 8 jersey, with “Francis” on the back, signed by both Jackson and Harbaugh.
“We’ll see if he’s wearing his jersey anytime soon,” Harbaugh said with a smile.
FIVE ABSENT FROM RAVENS PRACTICE: The Ravens were missing five players at practice Dec. 4, though most are likely getting a veteran day off. Absent were tight end Nick Boyle, running back Mark Ingram, cornerback Jimmy Smith, cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Earl Thomas.
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