Lamar Jackson needed all 120 of his rushing yards to lead the Baltimore Ravens to a win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday and retain their division lead in the AFC North. The Ravens have a formula for success using Jackson's legs, riding them to a 36-9 record in his 45 starts at quarterback.
Jackson has been one of the best runners in the NFL since he entered the league, leading the NFL in yards per carry the last two seasons -- and leading the league again in that category (6.2) this year. He has 600 yards on 97 carries this year -- including 21 in Sunday's win over Minnesota.
Is Jackson running the football too much? He's on pace for 206 carries this year, the most of his career and the most in NFL history. Jackson is the only quarterback to have over 150 rushing attempts in a season, having that many carries in both his full seasons as a starting quarterback.
The Ravens don't seem concerned about the long-term health of their 24-year-old dynamic quarterback, especially in the midst of another MVP season.
"There's no long-term sustainability observations. It's not even relevant," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. "Would you rather not run 21 times today and lose the game? It's crazy to even suggest that. So, it's not even a relevant question to be answered.
"We don't plan on running any number of times. We plan on running as much, throwing as much, handing it off as much, blitzing as much, playing zone coverage as much as you think it takes to win the game in the game, and that's really what you do. So, the sustainability questions are like, 'Man, life is short. Run to the ball.' I'm trying to win the game."
Hard to argue the results when the Ravens run Jackson. Baltimore is 10-0 when Jackson runs for 100 yards in a game and 19-3 when Jackson eclipses 75 yards. They're 12-1 when Jackson has 15-or-more carries.
"I don't know. I'm focused on right now, though. I've got to focus on right now," Jackson said. "We've got to keep taking it a game at a time. That's just what it was – run 20 times. Did I run 20 times against Cincinnati? So no."
The Ravens were also down Latavius Murray at running back, getting by with Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell Sunday. They also have J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards out for the year -- both never played a regular season snap.
They need Jackson to carry the load in the ground game -- and that's exactly what he's doing.
"We just had to do what we had to do to get the victory," Jackson said. "We just ran for a lot. That's just what it was."