Imagine on September 5 if someone had said 11 weeks into the season Lamar Jackson would be the best player in the NFL. Coinciding with being the best show in sports and this season's clear MVP frontrunner.
Week 9 was a coming out part for Jackson on national television, where Jackson led the charge in handing the New England Patriots their first loss of the season. In doing so, Jackson was the best player on the field in the air and arguably on the ground, which is becoming the new normal for him each week.
In Week 12, Jackson went head-to-head with Deshaun Watson, winning the non-competitive game 41-7 following a week where the world debated which of the two QBs they would rather start a franchise around. And once the game unfolded, there was no doubt which young quarterback was playing at the -- much -- higher level.
Jackson threw four more passing touchdowns and ran for 86 yards. Jackson's rushing total would have been the most in the game if it wasn't for a 63-yard home run shot from his teammate, Gus Edwards. Watson, who came into the game as an MVP candidate, albeit against a better defense, accumulated only 169 yards, with no touchdowns, and an interception.
Jackson's 2019 campaign is beginning to open eyes similarly to how Patrick Mahomes' did last season. No, Jackson isn't putting up the same level of stats or already looking better than most at the position have in their primes, but he is doing things on the football field that, outside of Michael Vick, had not been seen before. And Jackson already looks more accurate, and a better decision-maker than Vick.
Jackson on the field on Sundays resembles a character used in Madden. I say a character because he plays like the player you made in "Create a Player" mode when you slide the bar all the way to the highest available overall number in more than one of the abilities category. Particularly, with speed.
Before you watch this video, remember, this is not a running back, not a wide receiver, not a safety, but a quarterback that is outrunning everyone on the football field:
The former Heisman-winner isn't doing this in a down year where the NFL is begging some player to take over as the season's MVP, either. Russell Wilson is having his best season yet and is coming off a spectacular win over the 49ers. Watson has been jaw-dropping, Aaron Rodgers is back to his all-time great self, and Patrick Mahomes is still a highlight machine weekly. But Jackson's play is transcending the league.
Jackson is Steph Curry when he won his first MVP. As was shooting for Curry, Jackson has taken a trope in the NFL -- the running quarterback -- to historic levels. During Curry's rise, his teammates fed off the plays that needed to be replayed over-and-over again and it made them better. Jackson's play has given his teammates such an extra spark, they are willing to fight anyone -- maybe kidding -- if they don't appreciate what he is doing.
The discussion of the best player gets overcomplicated. It gets overblown with past comparisons, what players have done, and how their future is predicted. If it's kept simple, and is awarded to the individual that is playing better than anyone else at the moment, the conclusion won't take long: It's Lamar Jackson.
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