Two of the league’s most electric and elusive quarterbacks meet when Deshaun Watson’s Texans and Lamar Jackson’s Ravens face off on Sunday
The ‘dual-threat’ quarterback. Defined as a quarterback who possesses the skills and physique to run with the ball if necessary.
And there is truly no better manifestation of the dual-threat QB than the Baltimore Ravens’ meeting with the Houston Texans on Sunday; Lamar Jackson versus Deshaun Watson.
November 17, 2019, 5:00pm
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These two young quarterbacks are currently taking the NFL by storm, upsetting the established elite as much due to what they can do with their legs than with their arm. Just look at Jackson’s Ravens dismantling the previously unbeaten New England Patriots and six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady two weeks ago.
6:30 Highlights of Baltimore’s big win over New England in Week Nine
The Ravens ran out convincing 37-20 winners over the defending Super Bowl champs and, while Jackson’s passing numbers might not immediately jump out (17/23, 163 yards, 1 TD), the sophomore star also ran in for two scores in accounting for 61 yards off 16 carries.
Jackson is on a record pace. The quarterback has six rushing TDs and a staggering 702 rushing yards already this season, surpassing Michael Vick’s previous high through the first nine games of a season of 650 yards in 2006.
Vick is widely considered the best dual-threat QB to ever play the game, and he finished that year with a single-season rushing-record 1,039 yards which Jackson is well on pace to break.
While there is no doubt that Jackson’s running ability is what stands out on tape — just watch his incredible 47-yard run, spin and score against the Cincinnati Bengals — it would be a disservice not to credit the second-year signal-caller as a much-improved passer too.
0:45 Jackson scored on a video game-like run against Cincinnati
Over seven starts in his rookie season, Jackson had only five passing touchdowns, averaging 159.1 yards per game. Those numbers have improved to 15 passing TDs and 226.2 YPG through nine games as a starter in year two.
In fact, only four quarterbacks in the NFL have returned a perfect 158.3 passer rating so far this season, with Jackson not only one of them, but the only one to have hit the mark twice (Week One @ Miami, Week 10 @ Cincinnati).
The other three QBs to reach such lofty heights are Dak Prescott (Week One vs Giants), Aaron Rodgers (Week Seven vs Oakland) and a certain quarterback in Houston, Watson (Week Five vs Atlanta).
Watson might not be putting up the record numbers of Jackson on the ground, but his 279 yards — third among QBs — and five rushing scores are certainly not to be sniffed at, while he is putting up 270.2 passing yards per game along with 18 further passing touchdowns.
0:29 Watson spins out of a sack to deliver a touchdown pass, even after taking a boot to the face
Jackson and Watson are the first two players in NFL history to return at least 15 passing touchdowns, five rushing TDs and a passer rating of 100 or higher through their team’s first nine games of a season — and we get to watch them battle it out this Sunday, live on Sky Sports Action from 6pm.
It is numbers such as these that have the pair billed as leading contenders for league MVP, with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey perhaps the only people likely to stand in their way.
They’re also Brady and the Patriots’ biggest threat to their AFC dominance — eight-straight Championship berths, resulting in five Super Bowl appearances and three-straight — as proven by the beating Baltimore dished out less than a fortnight ago. Watson’s Texans will get their shot in Week 13.
2:05 Jackson and Marlon Humphrey give their reaction after Baltimore beat New England, ending the Patriots winning start to the season
Sunday’s meeting takes on added importance for that matter. New England (8-1) currently occupy the No 1 seed in the AFC, as they tend to do, and the road to the Super Bowl becomes much more fraught if it runs through Foxborough.
The Ravens (7-2) and Texans (6-3) currently sit second and third, respectively, in the AFC. A playoff berth is close to being guaranteed, but their hugely-talented quarterbacks want more than their ‘one and done’ playoff debuts last year.
Watson is 24 years old, Jackson just 22; Sunday’s fascinating contest could well be just the start of a decade-long, perhaps longer, rivalry between the deadly dual-threat duo. Hopefully so.
Watch Texans at Ravens live on Sky Sports Action from 6pm on Sunday night; build-up begins at 5pm; RedZone is on Sky Sports Mix (channel 145) from 6pm.