Two weeks into the season, the NFL's No. 3 rusher is a quarterback. Lamar Jackson has run for more yards than Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb and Christian McCaffrey. On Sunday he'll come running into Detroit, raring to wreak havoc at Ford Field.
"He’s unbelievable, man, he really is," Lions quarterback Jared Goff said Wednesday.
That's one word. Unprecedented might be another. Dan Campbell said Jackson's only comparable is Michael Vick -- Vick and Jackson are the lone quarterbacks in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Except Jackson has done it twice, while posting a passer rating of 106.6 over the past two seasons. Vick had a career passer rating of 80.4.
"Seeing him grow as a passer has been the scariest part of it all," said Goff. "His rookie year I’m sure he’d be the first to admit how much he was running and as time has gone on, he’s developed so well as a passer and has become dangerous in both ways.
"I’ll never forget when we played him preseason (2018) and I saw him running for the first time. He’s the fastest guy on the field. It’s not even close and you’ve got to be aware of him. Our defense will be ready for it.”
The next time Goff ran into Jackson, on Monday Night Football the following season, Jackson threw five touchdowns in a 45-6 romp for the Ravens -- the Rams' worst loss under Sean McVay. This was his dawning. And this is the daunting reality for a Lions secondary littered with holes: Jackson's arm is catching up to his legs. His 64 passing touchdowns since 2018 rank sixth in the NFL.
In theory, the Lions might know how to stop Jackson. Question is, can they?
"We’ll see," said Goff, happy to pass the buck. "It’s for our defense to handle. I think that’s a better question for some of those guys.”
Like Michael Brockers. The Lions' veteran D-lineman was on the field for the Rams that night, too. So maybe he's the wrong person to ask, but who's ever been right when it comes to stopping Jackson?
"The biggest thing about him is you have to get population to the ball," Brockers said Wednesday. "Everyone has to be able to tackle and everyone has to wrap up. He did have some turnovers (in Week 2 vs. the Chiefs), so we have to look at that as well. We gotta get everyone to the ball, ripping and stripping at the ball. It's all about population and people getting to the ball."
Yeah, Jackson threw two interceptions last week, including a pick six. He looked frazzled in the first half. He also threw for 239 yards and a touchdown and ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns in an epic comeback win against the AFC Champs. Even his off-nights are legendary.
"You gotta make this guy beat you with his arm," said Campbell. "You just do."
Scary thing is, he will.