Bird is the Word: Jackson and Ravens face Wilson’s Seahawks

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SEATTLE (AP) — There is an understandable mutual admiration between Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

In Jackson, Wilson sees a combination of speed and shiftiness working in concert with an underrated passing ability that has the young QB causing headaches for anyone tasked with slowing him down.

In Wilson, Jackson sees a veteran who has reached the pinnacle of the NFL, who has figured out a way to balance his athleticism and running ability with a dynamic right arm that makes him one of the premier passers in the league.

“I love everything about his game,” Jackson said. “He’s a great quarterback. He makes guys miss. He breaks the pocket, and there will be guys chasing him everywhere. He knows what to do with the ball — dish it out, go to a checkdown. He makes plays. He’s a playmaker, and that’s what you need in a guy and at the quarterback position. That’s what he is.”

Jackson and Wilson will meet on the field or the first time on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Ravens in a showdown between two of the better teams in each conference and two of the early MVP candidates.

Jackson has wowed with his combination of running and passing. He’s on pace to rush for 1,200 yards and throw for 4,000. Last week, he became the first player in league history to throw for more than 200 yards and rush for more than 150 in the same regular season game.

Jackson is completing 65% of his passes, has 13 touchdowns passing and rushing and causing nightmares for opposing defenses.

“People always mention his speed. That’s obvious. But I think the mixture of all the different things he can do — he can throw it down the field, he’s tough, he hangs in there, he’s a smart player too,” Wilson said. “You put all those things together with his elusiveness, which is as good as it gets, probably best you’ve ever seen kind of speed, he’s really special.”

Where Wilson has impressed is his overall command of Seattle’s offense. He’s just the fourth QB in league history to start the season with six straight games with a passer rating of 100 or higher. He hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 17 of last season. Wilson is playing with a confidence and savvy that’s flashed at times throughout his career, but perhaps never for such a prolonged period.

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