Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will go head-to-head with Cam Newton for the first time on Sunday night when the Ravens face off with the New England Patriots. Jackson was on the bench when the Ravens and Carolina Panthers played in 2018, so playing against Newton for the first time is a dream come true.
It’s not because the 3-5 Patriots are having a rough season (though that’s not bad news for the Ravens), but because Jackson has looked up to Newton for years.
'He's the O.G. — Superman'
“I watched Cam since Auburn. Everyone in the country did,” Jackson said via Boston.com. “Everyone knew about Cam — Superman — doing his thing. A lot of us looked up to him.”
Jackson, one of the game’s most mobile quarterbacks and the 2019 NFL MVP, was inspired by Newton. Newton’s 5,120 rushing yards is second all time for a quarterback, and the 2015 NFL MVP paved the way for players like Jackson.
“He’s a mobile quarterback. He does his thing,” Jackson said. “He won the Heisman, won the college championship, won MVP, went to the Super Bowl. I followed him a lot, wanted to get to where he’s at. Now I’m here, now I’ve got to play against him. I just can’t wait to do that.”
Jackson has even broken one of Newton’s records. The record for the most rushing yards by a QB in his first three seasons was held by Newton with 2,032, until Jackson broke it earlier this season by tallying 2,370 rushing yards.
“Game recognize game,” Jackson said. “He’s the O.G. — Superman.”
Harbaugh recognizes Newton as a tough competitor
The Patriots may be 3-5, but the Ravens aren’t sleeping on them. Head coach John Harbaugh understands how dangerous Newton and the Patriots can be.
“I think they’ve done a really good job of building up the offense around the players that they have, around the quarterback, Cam, who we played before and is a super-talented, extremely dangerous quarterback,” Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday via Boston.com. “Great arm, great presence, can take off and go, as well, manages the game really well, a good leader — all those things.”
Harbaugh is speaking from experience. The Ravens played Newton and the Panthers in 2018 (when Jackson was on the bench) and got beaten soundly. They lost 36-21, and Newton stomped all over them, going 21-for-29 with 219 yards and two touchdowns passing, plus 52 yards rushing with a touchdown.
Harbaugh definitely doesn’t want a repeat of that on Sunday night. A few years may have passed, but he knows better than to underestimate Newton.
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