Lamar Jackson turned in a historic performance in Sunday's win over the New England Patriots, emerging as an early frontrunner for league MVP honors in the process. Jackson became the to have four pass touchdowns, one rush touchdown and 100 rushing yards in a game -- joining Randall Cunningham in 1990 -- and he accomplished this without his top left tackle in the process.
In fact, Jackson played the majority of Sunday's game with a fourth-string offensive tackle. Once Patrick Mekari exited the game with an ankle injury, the Baltimore Ravens were down to Daniel Faalele to play left tackle. Faalele, a fourth-round rookie, is the fourth left tackle on the depth chart -- showcasing how impressive Jackson's game truly was.
"Early on we needed to help the left tackle, and we did a couple times but then we didn't need to," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Sunday. "Then he kind got his footing there, and then the run game started perking up. I thought the offensive line played just a tremendous football game. They played really well last week, too, so they're whipping into shape there. Pat Mekari is going to be fine. It's a sprain. He'll be okay. Won't be long-term."
The Ravens are fortunate Mekari will be back, given how Ronnie Stanley isn't back from his ankle surgery yet and Ja'Wuan James suffered an Achilles injury in Week 1 and is out for the year. Mekari is the left tackle until Stanley returns, but Faalele held it down Sunday -- something the Ravens are used to with all the injuries they've over the past two years.
"He just started dominating like he did in college. I didn't doubt him at all. None of us did," Jackson said. "It was for Pat (Mekari). Mekari left it out of the field for us, and the linemen said it; we was all dialed in, and shout out to Faalele because he stepped up major.
"He got in and started executing, he got his feet wet, got out there and started doing what he was doing. 'Mo' (Morgan Moses) was doing his thing, 'Zeit' (Kevin Zeitler), our other rookie, our center, Tyler (Linderbaum), and Ben Powers, they were doing a terrific job. Everybody was locked in. They was determined, as well, more than the skill guys. Shout out to my linemen."
Jackson is the first player in the Super Bowl era with 10-plus passing touchdowns and 100-plus rushing yards in the first three games of a season. He also leads the NFL in touchdown passes (10) and passer rating (119.0) while ranking third in yards per attempt (8.5). Jackson is tied for fourth in the NFL in rushing (243 yards) while leading the league in yards per carry (9.3).
The Ravens quarterback is doing all this while playing the majority of his games with his third and fourth-string left tackle. Just another case to be made why Jackson is the early frontrunner for MVP.