Jimmy Garoppolo's frustration was evident as he was again struck by the injury bug, opening the door for rookie Trey Lance to take over as the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback.

Garoppolo did not feature in the second half of San Francisco's 28-21 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, which dropped them to 2-2, because of a calf issue.

It meant third overall pick Lance, for whom the Niners traded three first-round draft choices to select, was rushed into action at short notice after Garoppolo was ruled out towards the end of half-time.

Lance could not lead a Niners team that wasted their first-half dominance to a win, with special teams miscues and penalties dooming them to a second straight home loss, but he did produce reasons for encouragement in his first extended competitive action since 2019.

He finished nine of 18 for 157 yards and two touchdowns passing while adding 41 yards on the ground, showing the dual-threat upside Garoppolo lacks.

Garoppolo is also bereft of luck on the injury front. He has completed just one full season as a starter in his NFL career, when he helped San Francisco to the Super Bowl in the 2019 campaign, and now looks set for at least a few weeks on the sideline.

"It happened in the first series," he told a media conference of his injury. "I don't know exactly what happened. Tweaked the calf. It hurt initially.

"I thought I'd keep trying, keep trying to go and it just kept getting worse and worse, traveling down to the Achilles a little bit, but we'll get more information tomorrow with MRI and everything. Hoping for the best right now.

"Just in between series, I could feel it tightening up in everything. I thought I could get it out. I tried to for the first half, but it's just tough, man. I don't know. I've been in the situation too many times and it's getting real old. So it's just one of those things, but a part of the business though."

For his part, Lance had no issue going in at short notice.

"I've been ready for and I stay prepared for whenever my name is called," he said. "I try to be as ready as possible, prepare that way during the week to be as ready as I possibly can.

"So I felt, obviously, confidence in myself and my team-mates and how well our defense had been playing and how well our offensive had been moving the ball. I felt really good about the situation that we were going into.

"I think there were plays, good and bad throughout the half. Missed some big ones, missed some easy ones, missed some check downs. Just definitely a few plays that I want back. But like I said, going to go back and watch it tonight and I think I'll learn a lot from that."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan described Lance's performance as a "typical first game" but felt he improved as the game wore on.

"He went in there unexpected and he competed. Trey's a football player. You guys can see that at times throughout that game. Regardless of what's happening, he's always got a chance to make a play and that's why I think he did," said Shanahan.

"It was good for him to take us down on that scoring drive there at the end. But it takes some time to play in this league as you guys have seen throughout.

"It's about knowing where to get rid of the ball, when to try to make those plays, when to check it down, have other guys do it for you, when to hang in the pocket, when to escape the pocket, and he got a lot of real NFL game experience with that today. Hopefully he'll get better from it." 

With Garoppolo likely out, Lance's first full game experience should come against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, and he may have to cope without left tackle Trent Williams, who suffered a shoulder injury.

"Yeah, I'm definitely excited," added Lance. "I'm excited to learn, like I said, learn as much as I can from this one. And then turn the page after these 24 hours and get started on Arizona."

Mac Jones emerged from the New England Patriots' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with great credit, but that was of little interest to the rookie quarterback after a defeat that dropped them to 1-3.

The 15th overall pick in this year's draft and the man the Patriots hope will be the long-term successor to Tom Brady came up short as the seven-time Super Bowl champion made a winning return to Gillette Stadium.

Yet Brady was arguably outperformed by Jones during an unexpectedly close battle, which saw the defending champions hold on to claim a 19-17 win.

Nick Folk's 56-yard field goal as time expired amid driving rain hit the left upright, denying Jones a game-winning drive on his resume that would have been well deserved.

Jones finished 31 of 40 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, at one point completing 19 consecutive pass attempts.

But the former Alabama star was clearly not in the mood for looking on the bright side, telling his post-game media conference: "We could be 90 per cent or 85 per cent and you lose, so we don't really do moral victories.

"Those are always forgotten. But you just kind of have to take it for what it's worth and move on.

"I think we moved in the right direction. We made plays and played hard the whole game and I turned the ball over.

"That's one of the problems, you know, turnovers can kill you, and you know if you turn the ball over — If you don't turn the ball over, you have a 90-something per cent chance to win, and it's just statistics but I have thought we moved the ball, passing well and the run game needs to improve and we'll come up with ways to do that.

"I thought everyone fought really hard. It sucks we lost but yeah, look at it, like you said, that we're making some progress."

The night did ultimately belong to Brady, though, as he made history by breaking Drew Brees' NFL passing yards record.

Brady, who finished 22-of-43 passing for 269 yards without a touchdown or interception, eclipsed the 80,291-yards mark in the opening quarter – the 44-year-old's 28-yard completion to Mike Evans seeing him surpass Brees.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady revelled in his "very cool record" after becoming the all-time passing yards leader during his emotional Foxborough homecoming against the New England Patriots.

Brady broke Drew Brees' NFL record and led Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers (3-1) past former team the Patriots (1-3) 19-17 on Sunday.

All eyes were on Brady as the seven-time Super Bowl champion made his first appearance in New England since leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season, having won six rings at Gillette Stadium.

Brady received a warm welcome from Patriots fans, with the 44-year-old going on to eclipse Brees' mark of 80,291 yards and join Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees as the only QBs to defeat all 32 NFL franchises.

"I just think it's amazing statistic in that so many people can share in it with me," Brady told reporters after finishing 22-of-43 passing for 269 yards without a touchdown or interception, while he rushed for three yards on four carries.

"Quarterback doesn't throw and catch. Quarterback can just throw it. It's yards. Passing yards have to be caught, so I just hope that everybody who caught passes from me over the years just had a little smile on their face tonight knowing they contributed to a very cool record."

"It's not that I would predict what would happen," Brady said. "There were a few emotional moments thinking about the people that meant so much in my life. My football journey took me somewhere else."

Brady shared an embrace with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick following the game, which saw a desperate 56-yard field-goal attempt from Nick Folk bounce off the upright in the final minute as the former got the better of New England.

"All of that is personal," Brady said when asked about what was said between him and Belichick. "We've had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way.

"So much is made of our relationship... nothing is really accurate that I ever see. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and this organisation."

"It was a tough, hard-fought game. It was a very typical Patriot-type weather. Very tough to come into the environment. I thought the fans did a great job. That little, what do they call that horn? That foghorn or whatever? That thing's loud," Brady said of the noise that plays before opponents' third-down plays.

"You don't think about it much when your defense is on the field. I just had to be on the field when that thing was going off."

It remains to be seen whether Brady will play another game in Foxborough as the five-time Super Bowl MVP said: "It's been a great stadium for me for a long time. I don't know what the future holds, obviously. So there could be an opportunity to come back here. So we'll see."

After the reunion, Belichick added: "We went against Tom Brady every day, every day in practice defensively. So it's not like we've never seen Tom Brady before."

Drew Brees said he is not surprised by Tom Brady's form after watching the evergreen Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar break his NFL record.

Brady eclipsed Brees' passing yards record in Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers' 19-17 victory at the New England Patriots on Sunday.

In his first appearance in Foxborough since leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers after 19 seasons and six Super Bowls ahead of the 2020 season, Brady surpassed Brees' mark of 80,291 yards in the opening quarter.

Brees – who retired at the end of last season – hailed the 44-year-old quarterback, who continues to defy 'Father Time'.

"Congratulations @tombrady on breaking the NFL All-Time Yardage Record!," Brees wrote via Instagram.

"We have had some epic battles over the years, but more importantly, have been able to develop a great friendship along the way.

"Some may be surprised what you are doing at age 44, but I am not. Your commitment and dedication to this game, your team, and to being the very best, are second to none.

"Very few realise the stress, sacrifice and struggle it takes to play the QB position for so many years.

"You continue to put greatness on display and bring out the best in those around you. Enjoy the moment as you have earned it!"

Brady – a seven-time Super Bowl champion – got the better of the Patriots and Bill Belichick to join Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees as the only QBs to defeat all 32 NFL franchises.

Tom Brady made history in his Foxborough homecoming as Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held off the New England Patriots 19-17.

Brady returned to New England for the first time since leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season, having won six Super Bowls during his 19 years at Gillette Stadium.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion received a warm reception in his homecoming as the Buccaneers superstar broke Drew Brees' NFL passing yards record.

Brady, who finished 22-of-43 passing for 269 yards without a touchdown or interception, eclipsed the 80,291-yards mark in the opening quarter – the 44-year-old's 28-yard completion to Mike Evans seeing him surpass Brees.

Bill Belichick's New England (1-3) led 7-6 at half-time thanks to Mac Jones' 11-yard pass to Hunter Henry in the second quarter.

Ronald Jones II's eight-yard run helped the Buccaneers (3-1) reclaim the lead before Mac Jones' second TD pass of the night – a short completion to Jonnu Smith – tipped the contest back in the Patriots' favour to start the final period.

Mac Jones completed 19 consecutive passes, tying the longest streak in a single game by a Patriots quarterback in the last 30 years. That run was posted by Brady in Week 1 of the 2015 season.

The topsy-turvy clash continued as Ryan Succop and New England's Nick Folk traded field goals before the former converted a 48-yard kick to put Tampa Bay ahead inside the final two minutes following a seven-play, 45-yard drive led by Brady.

A desperate 56-yard field-goal attempt from Folk bounced off the upright in the final minute as Brady got the better of the Patriots and Belichick to join Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Brees as the only QBs to defeat all 32 NFL franchises.

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson has set his sights on more wins and NFL championships after celebrating his 100th career victory.

Wilson reached a century of regular-season wins in the NFL following the Seahawks' 28-21 success against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Already a Super Bowl champion, Wilson finished 16-of-23 passing for two touchdowns, while he rushed for another TD on four carries.

Wilson joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the second quarterback in NFL history to win 100 games in their first 10 seasons, though the eight-time Pro Bowler became the fastest to triple digits.

"I'm excited about the next hundred," Wilson said. "There's more championships. There's more things we want to do."

Wilson was the star of the show as the Seahawks (2-2) ended a run of back-to-back defeats.

The 32-year-old produced a vintage performance, with his touchdown pass to Freddie Swain one of the highlight reel.

Wilson spun away from a blitzing Dontae Johnson and avoided Nick Bosa before finding Swain for the TD.

"I thought Russ was spectacular today," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said post-game. "It was so hard early.

"He just stayed the course, stayed with it and really kind of recaptured a chance to win this game when you wouldn't think there was any way. It just didn't look like it was going to happen."

Wilson added: "Both of them right there — 'uh oh'. I've had some good plays in my career. That was definitely a good one."

"I was speechless, man," Seahawks offensive lineman Duane Brown said of the moment. "I just went to him and said, 'You're a bad [expletive]'.

"That's my words to him. That's one of the best plays I've seen from him in my time here. But with him, it's just commonplace."

Kyler Murray said the Arizona Cardinals are riding a wave of confidence after emerging as the NFC's lone unbeaten team following their win against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Cardinals improved to 4-0 for the NFL season thanks to a Murray-inspired 37-20 victory over the Rams in the battle of two undefeated franchises on Sunday.

Arizona quarterback Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 39 more yards as the Cardinals dismantled the Rams at Sofi Stadium, ending a run of eight straight defeats against a Sean McVay-coached team.

Murray became just the third player in the Super Bowl era with a 4-0 record, completion percentage of 75 or better and 1,200-plus passing yards in his team's first four games of a season, after Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson.

"I was pretty confident coming into this game with the game plan we had, the week of practice we put together, probably the best game plan that I think personally that we've had since I've been in the league," Rams star Murray told reporters.

"With that, being confident in all the guys, this team, I was just confident in going out there and letting it ride. The guys did the same and I can't be more proud of them."

Murray added: "Not really too worried about what other people think. I think the guys in the locker room understand what we're doing, what we're capable of and where we can take it."

The Cardinals have not reached the playoffs since losing to the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 NFC Championship Game.

But, Arizona are attracting plenty of attention this season – the Cardinals have scored at least 30 points and had at least 400 yards of offense in every game.

"Not a statement," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We wanted to get a week better. Division games are important. We've got to continue to play physical football and clean some stuff up."

Tom Brady broke Drew Brees' NFL passing yards record on Sunday as he returned to play the New England Patriots with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Legendary quarterback Brady came into his first game back in Foxborough on 80,291 yards in the regular season, needing 68 to pass Brees.

The 44-year-old reached that mark with a 28-yard completion to Mike Evans in the opening quarter, which led to the game's opening score and a 3-0 Buccaneers lead.

The Patriots, who won six Super Bowls with Brady under center, acknowledged his achievement, although the game quickly resumed.

Given New Orleans Saints great Brees retired at the end of last season, Brady will now own the record for the foreseeable future. Fellow veteran Ben Roethlisberger is his closest challenger among active players on 61,149 prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Green Bay Packers. [before Packers game].

Brees had taken top spot from Peyton Manning (71,940) in October 2018, while Manning only himself passed Brett Favre (71,838) in the final regular-season start of his career in November 2015.

Brady already owned the record for the most passing TDs, which now stands at 591.

The seven-time champion, who added his latest ring in his first season with the Bucs in 2020, tallied 74,571 of his passing yards and 541 of his passing TDs across 20 seasons with the Pats.

Facing New England and Bill Belichick for the first time, Brady was looking to become the fourth starting QB to beat all 32 teams in the league, alongside Brees, Manning and Favre.

 

Russell Wilson produced a vintage performance to lead the Seattle Seahawks past the San Francisco 49ers 28-21.

Wilson celebrated his 100th NFL victory as the Seahawks (2-2) rallied past the 49ers (2-2) in San Francisco on Sunday.

The Super Bowl champion finished 16-of-23 passing for two touchdowns, while he rushed for another TD on four carries.

Wilson joined Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the second quarterback in NFL history to win 100 games in their first 10 seasons.

The 49ers – with Jimmy Garoppolo starting under center – took an early 7-0 lead but that was as good as it got for San Francisco on home soil.

Wilson's 12-yard pass to DK Metcalf ensured the scores were tied at half-time before the former dominated in the third period – the eight-time Pro Bowler's 16-yard run putting the Seahawks 14-7 ahead and Freddie Swain then caught a throw to stretch the lead to 14 points.

Trey Lance – who completed nine of his 18 passes for 157 yards and two TDs – replaced Garoppolo (calf) in the second half and the rookie QB kept the 49ers in the contest with a monster 76-yard TD pass to Deebo Samuel during the closing stages of the third quarter.

After an Alex Collins touchdown gave the Seahawks a 28-13 lead early in the final period, Lance combined with Samuel again at the death, but it was too little, too late.

 

Cardinals stay unbeaten behind Murray

Kyler Murray inspired the high-flying Arizona Cardinals to a 37-20 win at the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams.

Murray passed for 268 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 39 more yards as the red-hot Cardinals improved to 4-0 this season.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb guided the Green Bay Packers to a third consecutive win – a 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rodgers and Cobb connected for two touchdowns and ran for another score at home to the Steelers.

Packers superstar Rodgers threw his 420th career TD pass – tying Dan Marino for sixth all-time.

Under-fire Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw his 400th career touchdown pass – the eighth player to do so.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid enjoyed a record-setting homecoming in Philadelphia after becoming the first coach in NFL history to win 100 games with two teams.

Reid saw his Chiefs take down former team the Eagles 42-30 on his return to the place where it all began on Sunday.

The 63-year-old spent 14 seasons with the Eagles, where he started his head coaching career in 1999 and compiled a 140-102-1 record (including playoffs) with a trip to the Super Bowl following six NFC East championships.

After leaving at the end of the 2012 season, Reid was appointed by the Chiefs in 2013 and he has since delivered a Super Bowl to Kansas City – Super Bowl LIV.

"The people here have been phenomenal since I got here," Reid said after the Chiefs moved to 2-2 for the season, having lost their previous two matches.

"My room was loaded with food so it was good to have a cheesesteak and a lot of other things. It's good to be back."

Asked if his Philadelphia return made him emotional, Reid – who was hospitalised following the Chiefs' loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last week – added: "I'm pretty good. You want me to cry up here?"

Kansas City star Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes to fuel the Chiefs in Week 4 and he revelled in Reid's achievement.

"It was definitely exciting to get him that win," Mahomes said. "We were due to get him that win, it had been a couple of weeks now, but I’m glad we got to do it in Philadelphia and around where he kind of came into his own.

"And now he's in Kansas City, and it's a good thing he's here with us."

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields will make his second NFL start against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy has turned to the rookie after veteran QB Andy Dalton (knee) was downgraded to doubtful for Week 4 of the NFL season.

There was some doubt over first-year quarterback Fields due a hand injury, but he will line up under center for the Bears (1-2) at home to the winless Lions (0-3).

The number 11 pick in the NFL Draft, Fields has the chance to bounce back from an underwhelming start to life in the NFL.

In last week's 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns as Dalton sat out, Fields was sacked nine times and held to just six of 20 passing for 68 yards and 12 rushing yards on three attempts.

"This week's practice compared to last week's practice, I felt just more comfortable at practice just kind of getting that under my belt and getting kind of past that," Fields said.

"Last week, you really can't get worse than that. I mean, I hope not. But I felt comfortable this week."

Chicago finished their defeat against the Browns with one net passing yard. It was the fewest net passing yards for the Bears in a game since negative-20 passing yards in 1981 against the Lions.

"Justin's game that he played last week, he did a lot of things that he's going to learn from," Nagy said. "But we also, and myself, have to help him. I think the biggest thing for him is, 'OK, here's how I was in the week of practice. Here's how I was on game day, both physically and mentally. Now how am I going to be heading into this week? Am I getting better? Is there improvement? Am I getting better at the things I was good at? Am I getting better at the things that I wasn't so good at?'

"And that's what we're doing as coaches throughout the week of practice, is being able to watch him and see that. I can say from last week to this week that you do see that advancement. That there, knowing and feeling how he practiced, is why I would answer it that way."

Le'Veon Bell is in line to make his Baltimore Ravens debut in Week 4 of the NFL season after being activated from the practice squad.

Bell – a multi-time All-Pro and Pro-Bowl running back – joined the Ravens on September 7 and is set to play for Baltimore for the first time when they face the unbeaten Denver Broncos on Sunday.

If Bell does matchup against the Broncos, it would be his first game since appearing for the Kansas City Chiefs in their Divisional Round clash with the Cleveland Browns last season.

Bell had two carries for six yards in a Kansas City win, while he was also active for Super Bowl LV but did not play as Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers reigned supreme.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets RB tallied 64 carries for 254 yards and two scores, as well as 13 receptions for 99 yards, in nine regular-season appearances for the Chiefs.

Baltimore (2-1) defeated the Detroit Lions 19-17 last week behind Justin Tucker's record-setting, 66-yard field goal as time expired.

Tucker is a perfect 21-for-21 in his career when kicking to tie the game or take the lead in the last minute of the fourth quarter or in overtime – six of his last seven such kicks have come from over 45 yards.

Baltimore and Denver (3-0) have split their 12 meetings all-time, but the home team is 10-2 in this series.

The Ravens' lone road win against the Broncos came in Week 3 of 2001 (20-13), which happened to be Hall-of-Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe's only career game played in Denver as an opposing player.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says four-time SuperBowl champion Rob Gronkowski will be a "game time decision" to play on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

The Bucs take on the Patriots in Tom Brady's return to Foxborough, with Tampa Bay currently 2-1 after a Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams 34-24.

Five-time Pro Bowler Gronkowski missed two practices this week with a rib injury and is questionable to play.

Gronkowski, who was also with the Patriots from 2010 to 2018, suffered the injury in the third quarter against the Rams but did return to play.

The tight end has been a key offensive weapon for the Bucs this season, with 16 receptions for 184 yards and four touchdowns.

The Bucs have further injury worries with outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul in doubt with a hand/shoulder issue.

Brady going to his former side has been the subject of plenty of attention this week but Arians said the team's main focus was on a strong response after the Rams defeat.

"Hell of a week of practice," Arians said. "You could really feel the difference in intensity this week.

"It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Brady. It has to do with losing. I liked the way we bounced back on the practice field."

The Denver Broncos are one of five remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL, with much of their success built on the efforts of a defense that is among the most efficient in the league through three weeks.

Denver's defense ranks second in the NFL by yards per play allowed, having given up an average of 4.10 so far this campaign.

That statistic comes with the substantial caveat that the three teams the Broncos have faced in 2021, the New York Giants, the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets are a combined 0-10 on the season.

In Week 4, the Broncos will face by far their most difficult test of the season when they welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Mile High.

That may be a bemusing sentence to read in the context of the Ravens' last effort, which saw them score only 19 points and require a last-second record-breaking 66-yard field goal from Justin Tucker that bounced off the crossbar to beat the winless Detroit Lions.

Yet the Ravens have both a quarterback and a group of pass-catchers to stress the Broncos in ways they have yet to experience in 2021.

The Ravens' pass-catchers are coming off perhaps their most unconvincing performance of the season, one defined by a series of big-time drops from Marquise Brown.

However, in what has been a rollercoaster start to the year for Baltimore, their receiving weapons have excelled when it comes to creating separation.

Open on 91.3 per cent of his targets, the seventh-highest percentage of receivers with at least 10 targets, Brown appears to be a receiver on the verge of a third-year leap if he can become more consistent catching the football.

Brown has registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on a play where he is targeted, on 78.3 per cent of his targets. His burn yards per target average of 19.67 is the highest in the NFL among wideouts thrown at 10 times, while his big-play percentage of 54.3 is third.

With an average depth of target of 15.6 yards, Brown is getting open on downfield routes where separation can be harder to come by, while tight end Mark Andrews leads all players at his position with at least 10 targets in burn percentage (88.2) and burn yards per target (16.18).

The Ravens' offense is also receiving a boost in the form of rookie first-round pick Rashod Bateman, who was activated from injured reserve this week. If he can reprise his form of 2019 – his last full college season – that saw him finish fourth in big-play percentage among Power 5 receivers with at least 25 targets, producing one 50.4 per cent of the time, Baltimore could have one of the most dangerous pass-catching tridents in the NFL.

In terms of defensive opponent, the Broncos represent a significant step up for Baltimore. Denver (4.31) rank first in yards per pass play allowed with the Las Vegas Raiders (5.60 - 8th) the only opponent the Ravens have faced in the top 10 to this point. The Lions (8.79) and Kansas City Chiefs (8.43) are each in the bottom three.

Of the four Denver cornerbacks to face at least 10 coverage matchups, none have allowed an open percentage above 30 per cent, with Kyle Fuller (29.79), Patrick Surtain II (28.57), Bryce Callahan (11.76) and Ronald Darby (17.65) all enjoying strong starts to the campaign.

The Broncos' ability to deal with the running threat of Lamar Jackson could be just as important as the matchup between their secondary and the Ravens' pass-catchers.

Jackson is delivering an accurate well-thrown ball on 74.1 per cent of his passes, below the NFL average of 78.9. That underwhelming accuracy is, however, partially a product of his aggressiveness — his air yards per attempt average of 12.28 is by far the highest in the NFL — and the diversity his skills as a runner bring to the Ravens' run game could prove the ideal tonic to a Broncos defense that frequently employs two deep safeties to protect against the pass.

There is no doubt that Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, one of the best defensive minds in the game, will have prepared his players for the threat of Jackson. Still, Jackson has a habit of making even the most well-equipped teams look foolish. Should the Broncos avoid that fate, then they will deserve to be taken seriously as contenders in the AFC.

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