The challenge of stopping Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens has proven beyond plenty of defensive teams during his still relatively young NFL career, and one of the finest defensive minds in the league was not up to the task in Week 6.

Jackson's meeting with fellow quarterback Justin Herbert was pegged as a battle between MVP candidates as the Ravens hosted the Los Angeles Chargers, and it is the Ravens star who has the stronger case after their dominant 34-6 win in a clash of 4-1 teams.

Brandon Staley was appointed as Chargers head coach on the back of his excellent performance in his one year as defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams.

His Rams defense allowed the fewest yards per play in the NFL last season, however, the Chargers have struggled mightily against the run in 2021, making them an enticing matchup for the league's premier dual-threat quarterback in Jackson.

As it happened Jackson was able to lighten the burden on his shoulders in terms of running the ball, Latavius Murray and Le'Veon Bell each going in for rushing scores to put the Ravens 14-0 to the good in the second quarter.

Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert responded late in the half with a one-yard touchdown throw to Jared Cook after a Jackson interception, though the Chargers still trailed 17-6 at the half.

But a 12-play, 52-yard drive ended with Jackson hitting Mark Andrews for a nine-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and there was never a hint of a Chargers comeback thereafter.

Jackson's stat line, 19 of 27 passing for 167 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with 51 yards on eight rushes, was pedestrian by his standards, but it was enough to give the Ravens the best record in the AFC as he claimed his 35th win, breaking Dan Marino's record for the most by a quarterback before his 25th birthday.

Chiefs remain unconvincing

Plenty wondered whether it was time to panic for the Kansas City Chiefs following their Week 5 loss to the Buffalo Bills in primetime last Sunday, which dropped them to 2-3.

Concerns about the two-time defending AFC champions were furthered after a first-half performance against the Washington Football Team that saw them trail 13-10 at the half.

Patrick Mahomes threw two interceptions, one off the hands of Tyreek Hill and another with an inexplicable decision to toss the ball up for grabs after fumbling the snap.

However, a touchdown pass to Hill and Darrel Williams' second rushing score of the game put Kansas City in command before Mahomes found Demarcus Robinson in the endzone to secure a 31-13 win that moves them within striking distance of the Chargers in the AFC West.

Five in a row for Packers

The Packers are far from the finished product at this stage of the season, but it is now five wins in a row for Green Bay after their 24-14 victory over NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears.

Aaron Rodgers averaged 8.5 yards per pass play and threw for two touchdowns, with the Packers quarterback reminding the Bears' fans at Soldier Field of his hold over the division after running for a score that effectively put the game to bed.

The Los Angeles Rams are also 5-1 after Matthew Stafford threw four touchdown passes in a 38-11 rout of the New York Giants.

The Green Bay Packers head into Week 6 on the back of a remarkable overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last time out.

Mason Crosby was the hero with a match-winning field goal, though his successful punt came on the back of three misses, not to mention the Bengals' Evan McPherson twice clipping the post with efforts in both regulation time and overtime.

The win took the Packers to 4-1 for the season, and next up are old rivals the Chicago Bears on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens (also 4-1) will look to build on their Lamar Jackson-inspired comeback against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday by beating the similarly in-form Los Angeles Chargers, and the Arizona Cardinals will look to continue their perfect start to the season as they travel to Cleveland.

 

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

One of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL rears its head in Week 6, with Green Bay travelling to Chicago. The foes share 22 championship titles between them, and this divisional contest in the NFC North is sure to serve up a treat.

The Packers are 21-5 in regular-season games against the Bears since 2008, when Aaron Rodgers became Green Bay's starting quarterback - indeed, Rodgers has started 25 of those meetings and is 11-2 in the 13 games he has started against Chicago since 2014, throwing 33 touchdown passes and no interceptions in 11 wins. There are three other matchups in which one team has beaten the other 21 times since 2008: Baltimore over the Cleveland Browns (22-4) and the New England Patriots over the New York Jets (22-5) and the Buffalo Bills (21-5).

This is the Packers' first road game against a division rival this season. Green Bay won all three of their away games against NFC North rivals in each of the past two campaigns.

Chicago are 3-2 for the season, though they have a league-low 728 passing yards. The Saints, with 904, are the only other team below 1000. If the Bears are to get anything from this game, they may well rely on the defensive prowess of Khalil Mack, who led the team with seven tackles in Week 5's 20-6 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Rodgers will be looking to pick out Davante Adams, meanwhile. He caught 11 passes for 206 yards in the win in Cincinnati. It was the third time since 1997 that a Packers player had 200 or more receiving yards in one game. 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Baltimore Ravens

This will be the first meeting between the Chargers and Ravens since the 2018 Wild Card round – Los Angeles claiming a 23-17 win on that occasion.

The Ravens are 3-1 in the regular season at home against the Chargers, though the last three games have been decided by seven points total. Baltimore go into the game on the back of a brilliant comeback win over the Colts. They trailed by 19 points with less than one minute remaining in the third quarter but came back to win 31-25 in overtime - their largest second-half comeback victory in franchise history.

Quarterback Jackson threw for 335 of his 442 passing yards in the second half and overtime, while completing 90.6 per cent of his passes (29/32). Over the last 30 seasons, there have been 635 quarterbacks to attempt at least 30 passes in the second half/OT of a game – he is the only one with a completion percentage over 90 per cent.

Los Angeles QB Justin Herbert, meanwhile, accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) along with 427 total yards in just his 20th career start in the Chargers' 47-42 win in Cleveland. For any quarterback in his first 20 career starts, Herbert ranks first in completions (535), second in pass yards (5912) and third in total touchdowns (50).

Arizona Cardinals @ Cleveland Browns

The Cardinals' dream start to the season continued with a 17-10 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers. Arizona is the only unbeaten team in the NFL. This is the fifth time the Cardinals, an original NFL franchise, have won their first five games but first time since moving from St. Louis in 1988.

Arizona have won their last four games against the Browns, dating back to 2007. Before this streak, they had never won more than two consecutive games versus Cleveland. The Browns lead the all-time series, 33 wins to 15, with three ties.

The Browns, however, have won their last six games against NFC teams, including wins against the Bears and Vikings this season. Cleveland’s last loss against an NFC opponent was to the Cardinals in Arizona in 2019 (38-24).

Cleveland's Nick Chubb has 4080 yards rushing in his 49-game NFL career, and will likely become the third active player who had at least 4000 rushing yards through his first 50 games in the NFL, joining Ezekiel Elliott (4881) and Le'Veon Bell (4225).

Elsewhere...

The Patriots have endured a difficult start for the season, going 2-3 through the opening five games. The 4-1 Cowboys are next up, though New England have history on their side, having won six straight games against Dallas, a run dating back to 1998.

London calls for the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, as the Florida rivals go head-to-head at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Jaguars' 37-19 loss at home to the Tennessee Titans last week extended their losing streak to 20 games. It is just the second 20-game losing streak in NFL history (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 straight between 1976 and 1977).

It has been a difficult week for the Raiders, whose coach Jon Gruden resigned due to the emergence of offensive emails. Las Vegas take on the Denver Broncos, who they have more wins against than any other opponent in their history.

Cincinnati will look to bounce back from their defeat to the Packers when they take on Detroit. They have won six consecutive games against the Lions, going back to 1998, and a win on Sunday would see the Bengals equal a team record for the most successive victories against a single opponent, matching seven-game streaks against the Houston Oilers (1981- 1984) and the Browns (2014-2017).

Lamar Jackson is honoured to have matched Dan Marino's record for the most wins by a quarterback before the age of 25 in NFL history after inspiring the Baltimore Ravens to a 31-25 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday. 

The All-Pro quarterback, who does not turn 25 until January 7, accounted for all but 19 of Baltimore's 523 yards of total offence, completing 37 of 43 passes for a franchise-record 442 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 62 more.

In doing so, Jackson became the first player in NFL history to post at least 400 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and four TD passes with no interceptions in a single game.

Jackson led four straight touchdown drives to erase a 19-point deficit against the Colts as he overtook Drew Bledsoe (33) to join Marino on 34 wins before turning 25.

"I'm up there with the guys – those legends," Jackson said. "I appreciate that. It's an honour to be up there with those guys, but I'm focused on winning."

Jackson's effort was described as "one of the greatest performances I have ever seen" by head coach John Harbaugh, the 2019 MVP hitting six straight passes on the drive in overtime.

Despite his side falling 22-3 behind with 3:11 left in the third quarter, Jackson insists he was always confident of fighting back to make it 4-1 for the season.

"To be honest, it wasn't a doubt in my mind," he said. "Our team, we hit that peak that we needed at the right time in the second half. We just knew it was one play at a time – that's all we kept saying in the huddle.

"I was just locked in. I was just calm, everything was moving slow. I was just taking it a play at a time."

Jackson is now fifth in the NFL in passing yards this season with 1,519 through five games, while his 241 rushing yards ranks him eighth.

But Monday's performance was not quite flawless, as he threw his helmet so far into the air after the overtime win that somebody else had to help retrieve it.

"I shouldn't have done that – for real," Jackson said. "I've got to have more restraint, but I was just excited. We had an overtime win in the league and stuff like that. It was pretty cool."

The Baltimore Ravens were left struggling for words to describe their star quarterback after Lamar Jackson led his team to a 31-25 overtime victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday. 

Head coach John Harbaugh called Jackson's effort "one of the greatest performances I've ever seen" after Jackson led four straight touchdown drives to erase a 19-point deficit. 

Jackson's career-best 442 passing yards set a franchise record and with 62 additional yards on the ground he accounted for all but 19 of Baltimore's 523 yards of total offence. 

It was a breathtaking effort that left team-mates in awe. 

"He's amazing," said Marquise Brown, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime after hauling in a 43-yard TD to start the comeback.

"I think he's just 24 years old? It's crazy what he can do," said veteran defensive end Calais Campbell. 

A significant part of Jackson's allure stems from his ability to get the team out of jams, as he did once again Monday with Baltimore down 22-3 late in the third quarter and 25-9 with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth. 

"It wasn't easy," Harbaugh told reporters. "I mean, it wasn't like we came out up and down the field. We had to overcome and fight through some things.

"[Jackson] just came alive like all of our guys did. All of the guys made plays, but it starts with Lamar. He deserves the credit."

The quarterback insisted he never doubted the Ravens' ability to come back in the game. It was just a matter of time before they got their offence going. 

"Our team, we hit that peak that we needed at the right time in the second half," Jackson said. "We just knew it was one play at a time – that's all we kept saying in the huddle."

Down by 16 points early in the fourth quarter, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens rallied to beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-25 in overtime Monday. 

The All-Pro quarterback accounted for all but 19 of Baltimore's 523 yards of total offence in the game, completing 37 of 43 passes for a franchise-record 442 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 62 more. 

Jackson is the first player in NFL history to post at least 400 yards passing, 50 yards rushing and four TD passes with no interceptions in a game.

While Jackson was a one-man show for the Ravens, he did get a bit of help – from Rodrigo Blankenship of the Colts. 

The second-year kicker played through a hip injury Monday and wrapped up a miserable weekend for kickers around the NFL by missing an extra point early in the third quarter before having a field goal blocked late in the fourth and missing a 47-yarder that would have won the game in regulation.

He did not get another chance at redemption, as Jackson and the Ravens took the ball in overtime and marched all the way down the field until the QB hit Marquise Brown for a five-yard touchdown pass to win it. 

Before the Baltimore comeback, Carson Wentz and the Colts had built a 25-9 lead with 12 minutes to play in the game. Wentz finished the night with 402 passing yards, including 76- and 42-yard touchdowns in the first half. 

But it was the Ravens who found a way to win once again, improving to 4-1 with their only loss coming in overtime to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1, while the Colts fell to 1-4. 

Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson called for all quarterbacks to be protected, insisting he is not seeking any special treatment from referees in the NFL.

Jackson was on the end of some late hits during Baltimore's 23-7 win over the Denver Broncos last week.

Former MVP Jackson was 22-of-37 passing for 316 yards, a touchdown and three sacks on the road in Denver, where the Ravens QB showed no signs of a sore back to snap the Broncos' unbeaten start to the season.

"I just feel we should be protecting all quarterbacks in the league, not just myself," Jackson said Thursday, ahead of the Week 5 clash with the Indianapolis Colts.

"Everyone should be included in that, especially while we're in the pocket – our leg area and stuff like that.

"Football is football. Guys get aggressive sometimes. Stuff happens. Probably don't mean it. I'd like the ref to throw the flag, though, if they catch it."

Against Denver, Jackson had his highest passing yardage total since Week 1 of 2019 (324) – the 2019 Pro Bowler has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 13 consecutive home games.

The Ravens have the chase to break the record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games – Baltimore are currently level on 43 alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers (1974-77).

Baltimore have won their last two games against Indianapolis, including a 24-10 road win last season.

The Ravens have never won three straight games against the Colts, the franchise which began in Charm City before moving to Indianapolis in 1984.

Lamar Jackson was not pleased with the way the Baltimore Ravens' game against the Kansas City Chiefs began. 

Two of the Ravens' first three possessions Sunday ended with Jackson being picked off by Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, who returned the first of those interceptions 34 yards for a touchdown. 

But Jackson's team-mates encouraged him to keep playing his game, and he turned in a vintage performance to lead Baltimore to a 36-35 victory – his first win in four encounters with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. 

"I know my team is going to look at me. If I'm out there just messing up, they're going to be like, 'Damn, what are you doing?'" Jackson told reporters. "So, I've got to do it for my guys.

"My guys have my back. The first two interceptions, they were like, 'Man, you're good; you got that out the way. Let's just play.' I was like, 'You're right, I've got to play now. That's over with.' And that's what we did."

Jackson was at his dual-threat best after those early wobbles, passing for 239 yards and a touchdown and rushing for a game-high 107 yards and two more TDs. 

Those last two scores came in the fourth quarter as the Ravens completed their comeback against the reigning AFC champions, but there was one last key play Jackson had to make. 

Mahomes had the Chiefs moving downfield in search of a game-winning field goal when Ravens rookie Odafe Oweh stripped Clyde Edwards-Helaire and recovered the fumble with 1:20 remaining.

Fifteen seconds later, after Kansas City had used all three of their timeouts, Baltimore coach John Harbaugh faced a decision on fourth-and-one from the Ravens 43-yard line. 

He fully intended to go for the first down, but he thought he would ask Jackson's opinion on what they should do.

The quarterback's response was a simple "Hell, yeah," and the Ravens of course put the ball in his hands. He gained two yards to convert and the game was over. 

Asked about making that call, Harbaugh made it clear there was no hesitation. 

"It says that I have complete confidence in Lamar Jackson to make every play," he said. "I'll just never, ever, not have faith in him to make a play in any situation.

"I'm happy for him. We love each other. All of us have each other's backs."

It was a welcome recovery for the Ravens after a difficult season-opening loss at the Las Vegas Raiders last week and now they can move forward with a bit more confidence after a long-awaited defeat of the Chiefs. 

"It feels good to get that monkey off our back," Jackson said. "It just feels good. But we've gotta move on to Detroit now. We didn't win the Super Bowl yet. It's just one game. We just gotta keep staying focused."

Lamar Jackson put his all-around game on display once again, making NFL history as he led the Baltimore Ravens to a 36-35 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Jackson passed for 239 yards and ran for 107, becoming the first player ever to record four games with at least 200 passing and 100 rushing yards as the Ravens rebounded from a tough season-opening loss at the Las Vegas Raiders to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the reigning AFC champions. 

It was Jackson's first career win over fellow quarterback Mahomes, having lost the three previous head-to-head meetings in the NFL.

Sunday's game got off to a wild start as Tyrann Mathieu picked off Jackson on the third play of the game and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, only to have the Ravens answer on their next possession with a bizarre sequence that saw Ty'Son Williams fumble at the one-yard line but team-mate Devin Duvernay picked it up and took it in for a score. 

That set the tone for a high-scoring affair in which Mahomes completed touchdown passes of 33, 40 and 46 yards, the last of which saw his favourite target Travis Kelce elude much of the vaunted Baltimore defence on the way to the end zone. 

That score put the Chiefs up 35-24 but Baltimore star Jackson led the Ravens right back with a boost from the defence. 

With just over two minutes to play in the third period, Tavon Young picked off Mahomes' pass to Kelce – the first interception the Chiefs quarterback has thrown in September in his NFL career. 

Jackson would cap the ensuing drive by running for a two-yard touchdown, and run it in again from one yard out the next time Baltimore had the ball to give the Ravens the lead. 

Mahomes got the Chiefs moving immediately, looking for the game-winning field goal, but Ravens rookie Odafe Oweh stripped Clyde Edwards-Helaire and recovered the fumble with 1:20 remaining. 

Kansas City used up all three of their remaining timeouts on the next possession, but Jackson sealed the win with a two-yard run on fourth-and-one. 

Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season threw up more questions than answers, but there remains no doubting Patrick Mahomes' outstanding talent.

In one of the highlights of the opening round of games, Mahomes threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a comeback win over the Cleveland Browns.

All eyes will be on Mahomes again in Week 2, and the Chiefs have an intriguing matchup against fellow quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

This battle between two of the past three MVPs has been one-sided in the past, though, as Stats Perform discovers in the most interesting facts from Sunday's biggest games.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

The Chiefs will have few concerns about going on the road, boasting a 5-1 record against the Ravens in Baltimore all-time. They have also won each of the teams' past four meetings.

This dominance is reflected in Mahomes' record against Jackson, winning all three head-to-heads and averaging 378.7 passing yards per game to his opponent's 170.3.

Of course, Jackson is a greater threat across the ground than through the air, leading the Ravens in rushing yards against the Las Vegas Raiders last week for the 21st game of his career (including the postseason). In that time, no other QB has led his team in rushing in more than 12 games.

But even if Jackson can guide the Ravens into a lead, that brings no guarantee of victory. They gave up a 14-point lead for the first time in 99 games against the Raiders, while the Chiefs recovered from 12 points down at home to the Browns and actually have a 10-8 record after trailing by double digits since the start of 2018.

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Chargers

Another clash between two top QBs on Sunday sees Dak Prescott take the Cowboys to the Chargers having last week continued his impressive run even in defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Due to injury, Prescott has only actually played six games since the start of last year, but he has passed for at least 400 yards in four of them – no other player has more than two such games in that span.

However, Dallas have lost a league-high three games while posting 450-plus total net yards since the beginning of 2020.

The Chargers have their own prolific passer, too, in Justin Herbert, who threw for 337 yards in a win against the Washington Football Team in Week 1, meaning he now has 4,673 passing yards through 16 career games – a tally only topped by Mahomes' 5,100 in his first 16 games.

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins

Josh Allen is another elite passer who would hope to be in MVP contention at the end of the year, but he was less impressive in the Bills' opening defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers, completing only 30 of 51 passes.

While that was a career high for pass attempts, NFL teams are 4-20 when having a QB throw 50 or more since the start of last season.

Allen at least has fond memories of facing Miami. In the first of the sides' two meetings last year, he threw for career bests in yards (415) and TD passes (four), while the second clash saw the Bills score 56 points – a tally they have only ever topped once, also against the Dolphins in 1966.

Buffalo have five straight wins against Miami, although the Dolphins are in form with 10 wins in 13 games after 10 victories in their prior 33.

Elsewhere...

New Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford will fancy his chances against the Indianapolis Colts. His passer rating of 156.1 in Week 1 led the league, but Russell Wilson, against the Colts, was second with 152.3. Stafford threw three TD passes, including two of more than 50 yards – a feat only previously achieved once by a player in their first game with the team in the Super Bowl era (John Stofa for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968).

Jameis Winston took a slightly less spectacular route to his five TD passes last time out, with 148 passing yards the fewest from a QB to throw five for five scores.

Meanwhile, first overall pick Trevor Lawrence threw for 332 yards, the most by a player on his debut since Cam Newton's 422 yards in 2011, but he also had three interceptions – something he never did in his 40 games at Clemson.

Each of the first-round rookie QBs will be aiming to build on feats of some manner, with 21-year-old Trey Lance the youngest player in the Super Bowl era to throw a touchdown on his first NFL pass.

Mac Jones, who this week faces Zach Wilson, threw for 281 yards – the most by a New England Patriots rookie on debut.

The Las Vegas Raiders welcomed fans to their new home a year later than expected, but it was worth the wait. 

Derek Carr's 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones in overtime gave the Raiders a stunning season-opening 33-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday. 

It was a thrilling conclusion to the opening weekend of the NFL season after Lamar Jackson and the Ravens appeared in control for most of the game. 

Injury-wracked Baltimore took a 14-0 lead on a 35-yard touchdown run from Ty'Son Williams and a signature 10-yard Jackson TD pass to Marquise Brown.

Las Vegas ultimately would level the game at 17-17 on Josh Jacobs' second touchdown run of the game with 9:18 to play in the fourth quarter, a drive set up by Jackson fumbling after a scramble for the first turnover of the night. 

That set up a wild finish in the first regular-season game at $1.9billion Allegiant Stadium, as newly signed Ravens running back Latavius Murray gave the visitors a 24-17 lead with 6:04 to play before Carr equalised just over two minutes later with a 10-yard scoring pass to Darren Waller. 

Jackson got loose again on the ensuing possession to set up a 47-yard Justin Tucker field goal that gave the Ravens a lead with 37 seconds remaining, but the Raiders were not done. 

Carr zipped a pair of completions to get Las Vegas down the field and set Daneil Carlson up for a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining that sent the game to overtime. 

The Raiders thought they had the game won on the opening possession of the extra session, as Carr hit Bryan Edwards for an apparent 33-yard touchdown. 

But video replay determined Edwards was down just before the goal line, and after a run for no gain by Carr, a critical false start penalty an an incompletion, Anthony Averett ntercepted Carr in the end zone after a deflection on a pass intended for Willie Snead. 

The Las Vegas defence would bail out the home side once again, though, as Carl Nassib forced a fumble on a sack of Jackson with 4:31 to play in overtime. 

After a Raiders penalty moved the ball back five yards, the Ravens assumed the next play would be a run to set up a winning field-goal try, but Carr saw Jones get free in the secondary and looped a pass over everyone's head for an uncontested touchdown to win the game.

Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Jackson was 19 of 30 for 235 yards and a TD. The Ravens quarterback also rushed for a game-high 86 yards. 

The Baltimore Ravens will not rush into an extension on quarterback Lamar Jackson's contract says coach John Harbaugh, in light of Josh Allen's bumper Buffalo Bills deal.

The Ravens already exercised their fifth-year option on Jackson's contract, which will see the 24-year-old paid just over $23 million in 2022, and have since been in talks about an extension.

Jackson had indicated he wants to remain with the Ravens long-term, saying in May he "would love to be here forever".

The situation has now been complicated after the Buffalo Bills handed quarterback Josh Allen one of the richest deals in NFL history, with a six-year extension worth $258m.

"There’s really not a hurry for us," Harbaugh said about how Allen's deal may impact talks with Jackson on an extension.

"He’s going to be our quarterback for years to come."

Jackson, who was a unanimous choice as the NFL's Most Valuable Player two years ago, has won more games (30) than any other quarterback since taking over as Baltimore's starter midway through the 2018 season and became the fastest QB in NFL history to reach 30 regular-season victories (37 games).

The Ravens have reached the NFL postseason for the past three seasons with Jackson, although they have only won one playoff during that span, failing to progress to any Championship games.

Jackson's output slipped in 2020 but he remains the NFL's premier dual-threat quarterback, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring seven touchdowns on the ground in each of the past two seasons in addition to his work in the passing game.

The 24-year-old is also the first in league history to produce 5,000 passing yard and 2,500 rushing yards in his first three NFL seasons. He had 242 completions for 2,757 yards – at 64.4 per cent – 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 appearances for Baltimore in 2020.

In total, Jackson has tallied 606 completions, 7,085 yards, 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions since entering the league.

Lamar Jackson has tested positive for coronavirus, disrupting the Baltimore Ravens' preparations for the new NFL season.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh revealed on Wednesday his quarterback was missing the team's first practice of training camp.

Former NFL MVP Jackson reported to camp last Thursday but only returned a positive result on Tuesday, with running back Gus Edwards also confirmed as a case.

Harbaugh, who would not reveal how long the pair would be sidelined for, said: "It's just part of the deal. It's just the way the world is right now.

"It's no different than if somebody gets an injury – you tweak an ankle and you're out for some number of days. It's just part of football.

"To me, whenever you have a problem or whenever something comes up like that, you embrace it and you almost kind of rejoice in it because it's an opportunity to improve somewhere else."

Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley took the majority of snaps in Wednesday's practice, with Robert Griffin III waived by Baltimore in January.

Griffin started for the Ravens on both occasions Jackson was missing over the past two seasons, including when he previously tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Week 12 trip to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020.

In a 19-14 defeat, Griffin completed seven of 12 passes for 33 yards and an interception.

McSorley came off the bench to supply their sole touchdown pass, connecting with Marquise Brown for a 70-yard score from one of only two successful throws.

Across the other 15 games, Jackson regressed from his MVP year, his passer rating falling from 113.3 to 99.3 as 36 touchdowns and six interceptions became 26 TDs and nine picks.

He still passed 1,000 rushing yards, however, and scored seven times with the ball in his hands.

Lamar Jackson said he wants to remain with the Baltimore Ravens for the long term, saying he "would love to be here forever".

The Ravens already exercised their fifth-year option on Jackson's contract, which will see the star quarterback paid just over $23million in 2022, though the two parties are in talks over a contract extension.

It remains to be seen when the former NFL MVP will sign a contract extension, but Jackson is happy in Baltimore, where he was drafted in 2018.

"I would love to be here forever," Jackson said on Wednesday. "I love Baltimore. I love the whole organisation.

"I love everybody in the building. Hopefully, we'll be making something happen pretty soon whenever."

Jackson, who will make $1.8m this season – the final year of his rookie contract – was a unanimous choice as the NFL's Most Valuable Player two years ago.

His performance slipped a bit in 2020 but he remains the NFL's premier dual-threat quarterback, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring seven touchdowns on the ground in each of the past two seasons in addition to his work in the passing game. 

Jackson has won more games (30) than any other quarterback since taking over as Baltimore's starter midway through the 2018 season and became the fastest QB in NFL history to reach 30 regular-season victories (37 games).

The 24-year-old is also the first in league history to produce 5,000 passing yard and 2,500 rushing yards in his first three NFL seasons.

Jackson had 242 completions for 2,757 yards – at 64.4 per cent – 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 appearances for the Ravens last season.

In total, Jackson has tallied 606 completions, 7,085 yards, 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions since entering the league.

"I'm really focused on the season, and I'm focused on trying to win," Jackson said midweek. "I'm not really worried about if it gets done this year or next year. We're going to see. We don't know yet."

Judging draft picks in the immediate aftermath of their selection can be a foolhardy endeavour, as the success of rookies that enter the league depends on several factors including situation, opportunity and luck.

While it is tough to dole out grades for players who have not even hit the practice field for their new teams, it is possible to assess the totality of a franchise's moves in a draft and determine who has been impacted, positively and negatively, by those player selections.

In a draft dominated by a historic level of talent at the position, it is the classes of teams that made changes at quarterback that will likely have the most significant influence on the league.

After five quarterbacks went in the first round, we use Stats Perform data to determine the winners and losers from a draft that should go on to be remembered as one of the most important in NFL history.


Winners

Chicago Bears fans

Who knows whether the Justin Fields-era in Chicago will be a success? The weight of history surrounding Bears quarterbacks suggests it has a very good chance of being a failure.

But by trading up to land the Ohio State quarterback instead of committing to a year of purgatory with Andy Dalton, the Bears ensured they should be significantly more watchable in 2021, assuming post-draft talk about wanting to sit Fields behind Dalton proves false.

Fields is an exciting downfield thrower who averaged 10.10 air yards per attempt in the 2020 college season. It is an imperfect comparison given the difference in the level of competition but the two Bears starters in 2019, Mitchell Trubisky (7.94) and Nick Foles (7.92), each averaged under eight air yards per attempt.

And Fields was accurate when he pushed the ball downfield. On throws of 15 air yards or more, 76.47 per cent were well thrown, compared to 71.43 for Lawrence, 69.41 for Wilson and 67.39 for 15th overall pick Mac Jones.

His aggressive style should mesh well with number one receiver Allen Robinson, who was fifth in the NFL with 908 of his receiving yards coming at the point of reception.

Fields will also have the benefit of improved protection from a nasty offensive tackle in the form of second-round pick Teven Jenkins.

Jenkins allowed a pressure rate of 2.9 per cent in 2020, third among tackles with at least 100 pass protection snaps. The top tackle in that regard was Larry Borom of Missouri (1.8%), whom Chicago drafted in the fifth round.

Chicago also further helped Fields' cause by drafting Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert, who was second in the Power 5 in yards per carry (7.63) among running backs with at least 100 carries and Dazz Newsome, the North Carolina wideout who was 11th in burn percentage (71) among receivers with at least 25 slot targets. 

The Bears have been a chore to watch in recent years. It isn't clear whether the move up for Fields will work and it is debatable whether general manager Ryan Pace should have been allowed to make it given his track record, but there is finally reason for a passionate fanbase to be genuinely excited about their team.

Zach Wilson

Wilson going second overall to the Jets was no secret, but New York did an excellent job of taking steps to ensure concerns over his one season of elite production against non-Power 5 opposition do not prove prescient by surrounding him with talent.

A trade up for guard Alijah Vera-Tucker raised eyebrows but his pressure rate allowed of 1.3 per cent when playing left guard for USC in 2019 was the best in the Power 5 and suggests he can lock down that spot for the next decade for the Jets.

Wide receiver Elijah Moore brings inside-out versatility and should have gone in the first round. Instead, the Ole Miss star went 34th overall to the Jets, adding a wideout who led the FBS in receiving yards per game (149.1) last season to an intriguing group that includes Denzel Mims, Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder.

Third-round running back Michael Carter will give offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur a versatile skill set to utilise.

The North Carolina back led Power 5 runners with 100 carries or more in yards per carry (7.98) and yards before contact per rush (5.36) in 2020.

As a receiver, Carter was eighth among those Power 5 backs, who also had a minimum of 10 targets, in burn yards per target (10.86).

Carter should, therefore, be able to have a substantial impact in the zone-running scheme the Jets will employ in 2021 and influence the passing game significantly.

Growing pains are to be expected in Wilson's rookie season in New York but this was a draft in which the Jets went to great lengths to make his adaptation to the pros as smooth as possible.

Lamar Jackson

Every year, the Baltimore Ravens do an excellent job of letting the draft board come to them and reaping the rewards.

In 2020, they stole linebacker Patrick Queen in the back end of the first round. This year they grabbed arguably the most well-refined receiver in the draft, Minnesota's Rashod Bateman, with the 27th overall pick.

A truncated 2020 season in which he played just five games following a bout of coronavirus may not have helped Bateman's stock, but his 2019 tape showed a receiver who can develop into a number one target for Lamar Jackson.

Bateman can excel at all levels of the field and his downfield upside shone through in 2019, when he was open on 70.8 per cent of his targets in 2019 with an average depth of target of 16.2 yards.

His burn yards per target average of 16.15 was sixth among all Power 5 receivers with at least 50 targets two seasons ago, with Henry Ruggs III and Chris Olave the only players in the same group to produce a superior big-play percentage to Bateman's 50.4.

Big plays in the passing game have not been consistent for the Ravens. Jackson (25) had fewer passing plays of 25 yards or more than Teddy Bridgewater (27) and Drew Lock (28) in 2020.

Bateman has the talent to greatly increase that tally of explosive plays while the addition of Tylan Wallace, who was eighth among Power 5 receivers with a minimum of 50 targets last season with a burn yards per route average of 4.33, should further boost Jackson's hopes of bouncing back as a passer in 2021.

Having also addressed the interior of the offensive line by drafting Ben Cleveland, whose pressure rate allowed of 2.7 per cent was seventh among Power 5 guards last season, in the third round, Jackson goes into 2021 in an excellent position to take the passing game to levels that escaped the 2019 MVP in 2020.

In the coming season, Jackson will have much better weapons and should have improved protection. If the Ravens' offense falls short again in the playoffs in 2021, he won't have much room for excuses.

Losers

Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh lost left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and the versatile Matt Feiler in free agency but did nothing to fill either of the voids left by that duo until the third round when they picked up athletic Illinois guard Kendrick Green. Tackle Dan Moore was picked in the fourth round.

Instead, they spent their first two picks on a running back and a tight end in Alabama's Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth of Penn State, stacking the offense with further weapons for Ben Roethlisberger in what will likely be his last season in the NFL.

But, beyond running back, weapons were not the need for the Steelers. Harris is an upgrade in the backfield but he averaged only 2.14 yards after contact per rush last season, below the Power 5 average of 2.21, and typically the offensive line has just as much of an impact on running game production as the back.

A failure to prioritise the trenches could result in Harris struggling to evade defenders that the O-Line has allowed into the backfield. More worryingly for Roethlisberger, the lack of a dependable replacement at left tackle could leave a quarterback who missed 14 games as recently as 2019 open to punishment from opposing pass rushers.

Roethlisberger completed 50.7 per cent of his passes when under pressure in 2020, the fifth-worst number of all quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. If this is to be his swansong, the Steelers are not setting him up for a successful one.

Trevor Lawrence

Ok, so Trevor Lawrence is a winner. He's the number one overall pick and is set to be paid millions to take his talents to the highest level.

But, in terms of the situation he is going into in Jacksonville, the Jaguars did little to help him.

With the 25th pick, they passed up the chance to boost their pass-catching options in favour of drafting his Clemson team-mate, running back Travis Etienne, following a 2020 season in which undrafted rookie James Robinson finished the year sixth in yards after contact per attempt (2.34). 

Simply put, Etienne was the definition of an unnecessary luxury pick.

Tyson Campbell was a decent value pick at 33rd overall in the second round but Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, who developed a reputation during his time running the San Francisco 49ers for taking ill-advised risks on players with bad injury histories, picked a safety in Andre Cisco who tore his ACL in September and offensive tackle Walker Little, who has not played a game since 2019, when he featured in just one before suffering a knee injury.

The only pass-catching additions came in the form of a 29-year-old tight end, Luke Farrell, in the fifth round and wide receiver Jalen Camp in the sixth. 

Between D.J. Chark, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault, Lawrence does have reasonable weapons, but the Jags did not do much to add to his arsenal.

NFC West run defenses

Teams trying to stop the 49ers' ground game have had a hard time since Kyle Shanahan became head coach in 2017.

Their 224 rushes of 10 yards or more are tied sixth in the NFL in that time, and that tally looks set to increase after San Francisco drafted a franchise quarterback in Trey Lance who boasts a devastating mix of speed and power in the open field.

Lance's 14 touchdowns in 2019 were bettered by just four quarterbacks across the FBS and FCS, his rushing average of 6.5 yards fifth among signal-callers with at least 100 rushes.

San Francisco then added further to their ground game by picking Trey Sermon in the third round and Elijah Mitchell in the sixth.

In the Power 5 and Group of Five, just four running backs with a minimum of 100 attempts had a better yards per carry average than Sermon's 7.50 last season.

Burst to the second level is a key trait for Sermon, who was fourth in average yards before contact per attempt with 4.85.

The electric Mitchell, meanwhile, averaged the third-most yards after contact per attempt, putting up 3.23 per rush, a rate beaten by Javonte Williams (4.59) and Jaret Patterson (3.25).

Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. are each free agents in 2022 but, by drafting Lance, Sermon and Mitchell, the Niners ensured their run game is about to get more diverse and potentially more destructive.

For the three NFC West teams that face them twice a year, that is simply terrible news.

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