Lamar Jackson made NFL rushing history, and the Baltimore Ravens are headed back into the playoffs on a full sprint.
Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to record multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons Sunday as the Ravens clinched a wild-card berth with their fifth straight victory, a 38-3 rout of the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We still got things that we want to finish,” Jackson said. “It’s just the beginning for us, to be honest with you.”
The Ravens (11-5) secured the No. 5 seed in the AFC and will play at the AFC South champion Tennessee Titans next weekend in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Jackson’s 97 yards rushing and record-setting performance was only part of Baltimore’s dominant rushing attack. With 404 yards rushing, the Ravens became the seventh team in NFL history to run for over 400 yards in a game and the first since the 2000 Bengals to do so.
Rookie running back J.K. Dobbins gained 160 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run. Gus Edwards added 60 yards rushing.
“It’s a bunch of guys that are happy, but we’re still hungry,” Dobbins said. “We’re glad to get this win to get in. But we know what the ultimate goal is. That’s what’s on our minds right now.”
Jackson, who also threw three touchdown passes, became the second quarterback to reach the playoffs in his first three seasons in the league and win an NFL MVP award, joining Dan Marino. He now will seek his first postseason victory after consecutive one-and-done playoff appearances.
“People doubted us throughout the season because we weren’t having the season we had last year,” Jackson said. “Our team fought through that, and we showed the world that we’re here to play.”
Jackson’s rushing milestone — as well as Baltimore’s playoff fate — was settled quickly Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Needing 92 yards to reach 1,000, Jackson reached the NFL record book with a 7-yard scramble to convert a third down with eight minutes left in the third quarter. He was pulled before the start of the fourth quarter.
The only other quarterback to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in a season was Michael Vick in 2006. Jackson has eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in two of his first three NFL seasons, setting the single-season record for quarterbacks last season with 1,206 yards.
In making NFL history, Jackson said, “I don’t know about the record part, but the offensive line did a great job … and receivers blocking downfield and the tight ends doing their job. It’s a team breaking that record, not just me out there.”
It was a year ago when the Ravens clinched the top seed and rested their starters in the season finale. Baltimore got upset by the Titans, becoming the first No. 1 seed to fall to a 6-seed since 2010.
This season, the Ravens had a must-win mentality since early December, and they knew a victory Sunday was needed in order to reach the postseason.
“I like where we’re at right now,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I love where this team is right now. I love us going into the playoffs in this scenario at this time. I’m excited about it.”