Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has capped his record-breaking 2019 season with the league’s most prestigious individual award, as he has been named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press. The award was announced at the NFL Honors show Feb. 1.
Jackson, 23, becomes the first Ravens player and the second-youngest ever to win the MVP award. (Jim Brown won at age 21 and 22.) Jackson won the award unanimously.
In his first full season as a starter, Jackson guided the Ravens to a franchise-record 14-2 regular season and the AFC’s No. 1 overall seeding for the first time ever. The season ended with an upset loss to the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs, halting a team-record 12-game winning streak.
When the season began, Jackson still faced questions about his passing ability and was considered a long shot in any MVP discussion. By season’s end, his status as the league’s MVP was considered a foregone conclusion after he led the league in touchdown passes with 36, set the NFL single-season record for rushing yardage by a quarterback with 1,206 and left a slew of franchise and league records in his wake.
Jackson completed 265 of 401 passes for 3,127 yards, with 36 touchdowns and six interceptions, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history with more than 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season. He set Ravens single-season records for passing yards, touchdown passes and passer rating (113.3), and he did all that in just 15 games; Jackson sat out the regular-season finale with the team’s No. 1 seeding already assured, and he sat out the final minutes of several blowout wins.
In a 42-21 win against the New York Jets in Week 15, Jackson broke Michael Vick’s 13-year-old NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,039), and Jackson’s final total of 1,206 yards ranked sixth overall in 2019. He finished with five games of more than 100 yards rushing, another NFL single-season record for a quarterback.
He won the league’s Offensive Player of the Week Award five times, was named first-team All-Pro and was the AFC’s starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl.
Jackson offered a glimpse of his season to come in Week 1, completing 17 of 20 passes for 324 yards and five touchdowns in a 59-10 rout of the Miami Dolphins. Jackson set a Ravens record with a perfect passer rating (158.3) in that game — becoming the youngest player in NFL history to accomplish that — and then proceeded to do it again at Cincinnati two months later.
Jackson went 15-for-17 with three touchdown passes in that 49-13 rout of the Bengals which also included his signature play of the season, a 47-yard touchdown run featuring a magical spin move that left four Bengals practically crashing into one another.
It also left his own coaches and teammates in awe.
“They’ll be watching that run for decades and decades,” head coach John Harbaugh said after the game.
As the wins piled up, Jackson was increasingly serenaded with chants of “MVP! MVP!” by fans and also drew vocal support from within his own locker room.
After a blowout win over the Houston Texans in November, running back Mark Ingram proclaimed from the press-room podium that Jackson was “the MVP front-runner. If anybody else gotta say something different about that, then come see me. … I’m right here in B-more, outside the Bank.”
By that time, the Ravens had served notice that they were on their way to the upper echelon of the league with wins at Seattle and at home over the New England Patriots. Consecutive wins that followed over the Los Angeles Rams (five touchdown passes), San Francisco 49ers (one touchdown pass, 101 yards rushing) and Buffalo Bills (three touchdown passes) cemented the Ravens status as one of the league’s best teams and Jackson’s spot among the great individual seasons in Ravens history.
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