Lamar Jackson reaching historic heights (just don't bring it up)

Stephen A. alarmed by Jackson's issue completing passes (1:57)

Stephen A. Smith is concerned that Lamar Jackson completed only 22 of 43 passes in Baltimore's Week 3 loss to Kansas City. (1:57)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has reached a historic level with mistake-free football.

Just don't ask anyone in the Ravens organization about it. Like not talking about a no-hitter during a no-hitter, they don't want to invite bad luck.

Jackson's string of avoiding an interception in 221 straight regular-season pass attempts is the longest current streak in the NFL and the best in the Ravens' 24-year history.

It also has given him a unique distinction. Jackson has the lowest interception rate in league history (1.1 percent) among quarterbacks with at least 250 attempts.

What has been the key to Jackson not getting picked off?

"Is that something we're allowed to talk about?" said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, alluding to the bad luck that comes with mentioning it.

Why does Jackson think he's so good at keeping the ball away from defenses?

"Don’t jinx me, dog," he said. "I don’t want to get jinxed."

Superstitions aside, Jackson's interception-free stretch goes against the trend for young quarterbacks and traces nearly back to the time when he took over for the injured Joe Flacco around midseason last year.

Jackson threw three interceptions in his first two NFL starts but hasn't thrown a regular-season pick since. The last time Jackson was intercepted in the regular season was Nov. 25, 2018, when Oakland Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist (who is now out of the league) pulled in a tipped pass deep downfield.

By Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, he will have gone eight regular-season games, 511 playing minutes and 308 days without an interception. Over that stretch, 53 quarterbacks have thrown at least one interception, including an NFL-worst 12 by Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Those who talked about Jackson's prowess for staying away from interceptions believe it's the result of vision, patience and his legs.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman noticed by the second week of practice during Jackson's rookie season that the young quarterback saw the field much like Steve McNair. Both had the uncanny ability to immediately see the open receiver even if it wasn't part of their read progressions.

“I just think he has good natural field vision, which is hard to coach," Roman said. "We felt this way about him since last year, that he just saw the field well -- his depth perception, spatial relationships, just seeing guys, seeing different leverages out there. Some guys have it."

It's unusual to see so few mistakes from a quarterback this early in his career.

Here is a look at the career interception total and rate for all five quarterbacks taken in the first round last year:

  • Jackson (three interceptions): 1.1 percent

  • Mayfield (19 interceptions): 3.2 percent

  • Sam Darnold (New York Jets) (15 interceptions): 3.3 percent

  • Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills) (15 interceptions): 3.5 percent

  • Josh Rosen (Arizona Cardinals; Miami Dolphins) (16 interceptions): 3.5 percent

  • Many young quarterbacks play at a frenetic pace. Tight end Hayden Hurst has been impressed with how Jackson is patient in going through the progressions and letting the play develop.

    "He doesn’t put pressure on himself. He stays loose," Hurst said. "If something doesn’t work, he’s able to improvise."

    Wide receiver Willie Snead IV, who knocked on the wood of his locker when asked about Jackson's streak, feels Jackson's ability to run helps him cut down on interceptions.

    "I think his thing is making better decisions and knowing he doesn’t have to force a throw," Snead said. "He can take off and scramble. He has a quality that a lot of quarterbacks don’t have. Guys can’t escape that quick. Why throw an ill-advised pass when you can get out of the pocket and get a scramble play or take off. In his mind, I’m not going to take that risk."

    Jackson hates throwing interceptions with a passion, which probably goes back to his college days. His first collegiate pass was picked off by Auburn.

    Though Jackson has quickly shown a knack for not getting picked off in the NFL, his biggest improvement has been ball security. He hasn't fumbled this season after coughing it up an NFL-worst 10 times in seven starts last season.

    Jackson's error-free play is the biggest reason why Baltimore is the only NFL team to not turn the ball over this season.

    "Lamar improves very rapidly and very quickly," Harbaugh said. "He really has a real narrow focus on the things he can do better."