JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson dropped back to the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-yard line and sensed danger -- linebacker Dawuane Smoot was closing in. Smoot wrapped his right arm around Jackson's shoulders, but Jackson broke free. Smoot again chased down Jackson, who launched a pass just as Smoot made contact.

Ravens tight end Isaiah Likely caught the ball between defenders at the 4-yard line. Two plays later, Gus Edwards scored from a yard out as the Ravens built a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead they would turn into a 23-7 win that clinched a playoff berth.

As Jackson walked off the EverBank Stadium field, he heard the "MVP" chants that serenaded him so frequently during the 2019 season, when he joined Tom Brady as the only two players in NFL history to win the award by unanimous votes.

But this isn't the same Jackson from four years ago. Just ask his teammates.

"Since he signed his [five-year, $260 million] deal, I think everyone can say you've seen a lot of changes he's done to be not just the star player but also the leader of the team, as well," Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey said.

According to Humphrey, Jackson is now the first player in the team facility. He is making the time to get in extra workouts, and he is more vocal, addressing the entire team with speeches.

Jackson makes sure even the star players are accountable. After Humphrey struggled last week, Jackson told the three-time Pro Bowl defender, "Hey bro, we need you to play better."

"He's always going to step up with his play, but I think how he's carried himself leadership-wise, people see it and people really respect it," Humphrey said.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Jackson has always been a great leader in his own way.

Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to an impressive road win in Jacksonville on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth. Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

"I think we all grow, we evolve [and] circumstances change," Harbaugh said. "We find ourself in a different place, and I've always admired Lamar for every part of what he's doing. He's always done his best and he's doing his best right now."

Harbaugh added, "I would say this: He's an A-plus leader right now. He's been glue for the guys, and it's been great to see."

Jackson has led the Ravens to an 11-3 record, which puts them one game ahead of the Miami Dolphins for the AFC's No. 1 seed. Despite losing his top running back (J.K. Dobbins) and tight end (Mark Andrews), Jackson has Baltimore averaging 27.4 points per game, which is the fourth best in the NFL. More of the offensive workload, especially in the run game, will fall on Jackson's shoulders with big-play running back Keaton Mitchell suffering a season-ending left knee injury on Sunday.

The Jaguars struggled to contain Jackson, who passed for 171 yards and ran for 97 yards. This was Jackson's 23rd career game with 75 or more yards rushing and at least one touchdown pass. That's 10 more games than any other quarterback in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"Some of the things the guy does, he's the only one that's doing it," Ravens middle linebacker Roquan Smith said. "Some of the things he gets himself out of or get the team out of, that just goes to show he put it on his back, put the city [of Baltimore] on his back [and] the team on his back, and [said], 'Let's go.'"

Jackson impressed the football world with his ability to buy more time in the pocket. He ducked under Jaguars pass-rushers, sidestepped them and spun out of their grasps. His average time before a pass was 3.8 seconds on Sunday night, which is the highest of any quarterback this season.

After the game, Jackson was asked if he feels calm during those chaotic moments in the pocket.

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"Do I look calm?" Jackson replied with a smile. "Just keeping a level head. I'm not trying to make a mistake. I'm just trying to see us with positive yards [and] keep us moving."

Humphrey acknowledged that some of the team has been desensitized by Jackson's remarkable plays.

"I remember my first couple of years, we'd used to go, 'Ohh.' Now, it's like, 'Wow. He just made a crazy play. Nice,'" Humphrey said. "He has to do stuff that's never been done before to wow us now. He's an elite player."

Ahead of next Monday's Ravens-49ers showdown, Jackson moved into second in NFL MVP odds behind San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy, according to ESPN Bet, as he looks to raise the bar for dual-threat quarterbacks again. He's on pace to become the first quarterback over the last two decades to finish with over 3,700 yards passing and 900 yards rushing in a season.

Last week, after a 37-31 overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams, Harbaugh said Jackson played one of the best quarterback games that you can play.

What did Harbaugh think of Jackson's performance against the Jaguars?

"I stand corrected," Harbaugh said. "He played even better. I could give Lamar Jackson our game ball every single game. He wouldn't take them. He wouldn't have anywhere to put them in his house. I've said it before; I believe he's the best quarterback in the National Football League."