Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen rush into historic meeting

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Selections in the first round just a year ago, second-season sensations Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen will run into history when they lead the Ravens and Bills into Sunday's much-ballyhooed collision.

With their fleet feet having carried them to much success, Jackson's 977 rushing yards and Allen's 430 combine for a tally of 1,407 -- the most all-time between two opposing quarterbacks entering a game.

It's a new dawn and a new Sunday with dual threats such like Jackson, Allen, Kyler Murray and others leading the way.

"It's just an extra thing that defenses have to worry about," Allen told the media on Wednesday of dual-threat QBs.

Both quarterbacks have bettered themselves drastically in the passing game, with Jackson's plus-25.1 increase in passer rating and Allen's plus-20.4 ranking first and third in terms of largest increases from last season to this, per NFL Research.

Their ability to cause havoc running the ball remains stellar, though. Allen has eight rushing touchdowns - tied for seventh in all of the NFL and tops among quarterbacks. Jackson, who has seven scores on the ground, is ninth in the NFL in rushing yards and closing in on Michael Vick's single-season quarterback rushing record of 1,039 yards. With his average of 81.4 yards per game, Jackson might well topple the mark in Buffalo.

Allen joins only Cam Newton as quarterbacks in NFL chronicle to have eight or more rushing touchdowns in each of their first two seasons and 4,500 passing yards and 15-plus rushing scores.

Jackson, meanwhile, is running away with records. He's tallied four 100-yard rushing games (the most by a QB in the Super Bowl era), become the only man in NFL lore to tally 25-plus touchdown passes and more than 950 yards rushing and is on pace to become the first to average 200-plus yards passing and 60-plus yards rushing.

Less than half a year after they were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson and Allen were rookie quarterbacks finding their way to varying levels of success.

The No. 7 overall pick, Allen was a starter from the second game of the Bills' 2018 campaign.

Jackson, selected 32nd overall (in what already looks like a steal of historic proportions), saw playing time for the Ravens from the beginning, as well, but didn't take over the starting reins until Week 10.

As fate would have it, the two made their NFL debuts on opposing sidelines in Week 1, both coming in off the bench as the Ravens rolled to a 47-3 win. Jackson mustered 24 yards on one completion and ran for 39, while Allen had 74 yards passing and 26 more.

"We got our butts whooped that game," Allen said. "I remember watching Lamar go out there a few times and make some plays. It's kind of surreal to now be in the position I'm in. I feel night and day as far as football perspective, knowledge of the game, knowledge of my own offense. That's one of those moments I got to learn from."

Things have changed drastically since then, as the Ravens (10-2), winners of eight straight, are an AFC juggernaut and the Bills (9-3), who have won three in a row, have proven themselves to be contenders among their conference's heavyweights. And in phenomenal fashion, Jackson and Allen have improved at a dizzying rate right in front of the collective eyes of the NFL world.

"They've got a young quarterback -- sound familiar?" Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of the teams' similarities, via the team website. "Young quarterback -- he can throw, he can run."

It's becoming a winning formula for the Ravens and Bills as Jackson and Allen head into a historic rematch.

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