Fast track to history: Lamar Jackson on historic rushing pace -- if he can hold up

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson isn't just on pace to break Michael Vick's single-season rushing record for quarterbacks. He's in line to obliterate it in his first full season as an NFL starter.

Jackson can surpass Vick's mark of 1,039 yards rushing -- a record that has stood for 13 years -- by the Ravens' Week 15 game against the New York Jets if he continues on this juke, spin and burst clip.

He took his running to another level in Sunday's 23-17 win over the winless Cincinnati Bengals. His 152 yards rushing were the third-most by a quarterback in a regular-season game.

"Special, man. That’s the only way to describe what he does and who he is as a player. Special," Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said. "He does everything, and he makes everyone else look good. It’s so hard for defenses to game plan for him and game plan for us –- it makes our jobs so much easier. At the same time, he’s growing each and every week. It’s a thrill to play with a guy like that."

Jackson's 460 yards rushing are the second-most by a quarterback through the first six weeks of a season in the Super Bowl era. Only Bobby Douglass had more when he totaled 475 yards rushing for the Chicago Bears in 1972 (25 years before Jackson was born).

It was nearly three weeks ago that Jackson announced, "I hate running." After his highlight-reel performance with his legs Sunday, has he had a change of heart?

Jackson chuckled when the question was asked before saying, "No, I take advantage. Like I said before, I’m trying to win at the end of the day. If I’ve got to run, I’ve got to do it, and [Sunday] that’s what it was. Sometimes I had to pass. Sometimes I had to run. Came up with a 'W.'"

Jackson leads the NFL's No. 1 ground attack in rushing, with 76.7 yards rushing per game. He ranks eighth in the league in rushing, producing more yards with his legs than Alvin Kamara, David Johnson, Derrick Henry or Todd Gurley II.

At this rate, Jackson is on pace for 1,227 yards rushing, or 188 more yards than any other quarterback in NFL history.

"He can hit the edge and run like no quarterback I have ever played, at least that I can remember at this moment," Bengals safety Shawn Williams said. "When he steps outside the pocket, he is as good as anyone."

Jackson is certainly as fast as anyone, no matter if it's a quarterback, wide receiver or running back. He reached 15-plus mph on 10 carries for the second consecutive week, according to NextGen Stats. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is the only other player to have that many runs at that speed this season.

"I think about it all the time," Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr said. "It’s truly a blessing to have a guy like that -- a playmaker, but a guy that’s so humble off the field, just with his characteristics and who he is as a person. It carries over from the locker room to the classroom to the game. We rally around him."

Jackson's biggest obstacle to breaking Vick's record could be durability. He has 69 carries, or 28 more than any other quarterback this season. The question surrounding Jackson has never been whether he can fake out defenders or sprint past them for big gains. It's whether he can sustain the pounding when tacklers get that chance to hit him. On Sunday, it looked like Jackson took more shots in a game than he has all season.

Can Jackson go on like this and remain injury-free?

"He can’t like we’re seeing now," Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy said on NBC's Football Night in America. "You’re a 195-pound guy. You’re not a 220-pound running back. He can’t take all those hits. Do what you’re doing but slide, get out of bounds, learn to go down and not take those hits."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he's impressed with Jackson's toughness, but the goal is for Jackson to not take "certain hits."

"I wouldn’t expect him to be running that many times very many times this year," Harbaugh said. "That’s just the way it went. It was part of the plan, because of the way they played, and it turned out to hold up during the game. It was a big factor in winning the game. So we’re certainly not going to apologize for that. Going forward, we’ll try to manage it the best we can.”