Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram have the most fun friendship in the NFL

The Baltimore Ravens and their explosive offense has taken the NFL by storm during the 2019 season. The two biggest stars from the system, quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Mark Ingram, are a dynamic duo on the field.

This season, each rushed for 1,000 yards — just the seventh time a pair of teammates have done that in a single season. In total, they’ve combined for 5,598 yards of total offense, accounting for almost the entirety of the Ravens’ yardage this season. This is first season the two have played together, too. Ingram started his career with the New Orleans Saints, where he played for eight seasons from 2011-18, and the Ravens picked him up as a free agent in the offseason.

It’s worked out for Ingram and Jackson on the field, but what’s even more awesome to see is their friendship off it. Throughout their first season playing together, the two have been supporting each other along the way.

It’ll be a joy to watch that continue into the playoffs

Even before the Ravens were seen as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, Ingram had high praise for Jackson.

In Jackson’s rookie season, he was known for what he did running the ball, with 17 rushing attempts per game in his seven as a starter. Then, in the first two weeks of the 2019 season, he threw for more touchdowns (7) than he did in all of 2018 (6). But he was still running the ball with moves like he was playing in a video game. In Week 3, he did both, scoring a rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and throwing for 267 yards in a 33-28 loss to the Chiefs. One of his runs in the first quarter looked doomed at the start, until Jackson (somehow) made magic:

Ingram was asked the following week about what it was like to see Jackson make defenders look so silly when he takes off on the run.

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“He’s wild, man, like, he’s amazing,” Ingram said. I don’t think there’s anything like him in the league as far as just extending plays and being able to juke defenders. He’s special. Sometimes he’s scrambling and we’re all out there like: ‘Do we block? Do we trying to get open?’ You know what I mean, it’s just like you’re trying to be there for him, but he’s just doing crazy stuff. But that’s why he’s a special player he can extend plays and buy time for us to get open.”

As the season progressed, Jackson and Ingram continued to power the Ravens into an offensive juggernaut. Since a Week 4 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens have gone undefeated and earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Throughout the year, the two kept hyping each other up.

After Baltimore’s 41-7 win over the Houston Texans in Week 11, Ingram introduced Jackson at his press conference.

At this point in the season, Jackson was the MVP frontrunner. The Ravens were 8-2, and had just demolished another AFC contender. Jackson had already racked up 2,258 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and just six interceptions, along with 781 rushing yards and six more scores on the ground.

Ingram took a stand for Jackson’s MVP candidacy after the game, and also said anyone who has a problem with Jackson winning MVP can come see him about that:

“Now I would like to introduce y’all to the man, the myth, the legend. The MVP frontrunner, if anybody else has something different to say about that then come see me. I’m right here in B-More outside the bank if you have an issue with that come see me, I’m ‘bout that! Big truss, Lamar Jackson in the flesh.”

Sidenote: ‘big truss’ has emerged as a team motto for Baltimore this season. Jackson has been tweeting it since last season, but it caught on with the rest of the Ravens this year. The definition has a lot of different meanings to certain players, via the Baltimore Sun:

[Kicker Justin] Tucker’s interpretation was more personal. “Truss that if I say it, I mean it,” he said. “It’s that simple.”

Defensive tackle Michael Pierce called it a “mixed-use word,” something like Owings Mills’ answer to the Hawaiian word “aloha.”

“Depending on who you’re talking to, it may mean different things,” he said. “For me, it just means you trust your brother, you trust your family, and we all got each other’s backs.”

It wasn’t until Ingram’s press conference and usage of the word at the podium that others knew about it being used in the locker room.

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Jackson and Ingram have even done the same touchdown celebration dances.

During the Ravens’ big 45-6 Week 12 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Jackson copied a move Ingram did on a previous score:

Jackson finished with five passing touchdowns against the Rams on Monday Night Football. Ingram added two more touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving. After the game, Ingram once again urged anyone who has a problem with Jackson winning the MVP to “come see him.”

At this point, Ingram should be named Jackson’s MVP campaign manager. In fact, I hope Ingram introduces Jackson when he inevitably accepts the award, TBH.

In Week 15, the Ravens clinched the AFC North with a 42-21 victory against the Jets.

Jackson rushed for 86 yards and broke Michael Vick’s single-season rushing record during the Thursday Night Football game. Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews let Ingram conduct a postgame interview with Jackson. The result was television gold (it starts right around the 1:30 mark)

Jackson: “It feels good, but you know we have a lot of season left to play and we have two more banners to hang up.”

Ingram: “So you’re telling me the story’s unwritten right now?”

Jackson: “Unwritten right now.”

Ingram: “Book unfinished?”

Jackson: “Right.”

I’d love to see Ingram interview Jackson more often, just saying.

In Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, Ingram finally reached the 1,000-yard mark for the Ravens on the season.

Ingram rushed for 55 yards in the Ravens’ 33-15 win over Cleveland, and it put him at 1,018 yards on the season. But Jackson didn’t know he had eclipsed 1,000 yards until CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson told him during the postgame interview, and Jackson’s reaction was priceless:

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The Week 16 game ended up being the last time these two played in the regular season, as they rested up for the playoffs during the Ravens’ Week 17 game against the Steelers.

It’s really fun to see a team that seems to love each other go so far.

This season, we saw John Harbaugh gush on the sideline about how his QB has changed the game forever. Jackson is convincing his head coach to go for it on fourth down like he’s a kid playing in the schoolyard. The Ravens are even running things like the Heisman formation, featuring Heisman winners Ingram, Jackson, and backup QB Robert Griffin III in the backfield.

Ingram and Jackson’s relationship epitomizes just how fun this Ravens team is. Ingram went from questionable to active for the Ravens’ first playoff game against the Titans this weekend, so we’ll get to see them in action for the first time in the postseason Saturday night.

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