Ravens QB Lamar Jackson ready to change playoff narrative

Robert Sobus
·3 min read

As if it wasn’t already obvious, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is one of the most talented individuals in football and arguably the best player on the team. Yet, despite all the broken records, being the fastest quarterback to get 30 career wins, taking Baltimore to the playoffs in all three years he’s been in the league, and countless other milestones created or broken; Jackson still gets criticized for his lack of postseason success.

The notion that Jackson can’t perform well in January is something the third-year quarterback is looking to change Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

“I’m definitely trying to erase that narrative,” Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. “That’s No. 1 on my mind for sure.”

In the regular season, the Jackson-led Ravens are 30-7, averaging 30.6 points-per-game and 206 rushing-yards-per-game. In Jackson’s 37 career starts, he’s completed 64.06% of his passes for 6,998 passing yards, 67 touchdown throws, 18 interceptions, and a 102.5 passer rating. On the ground, he’s put up 2,767 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns on 454 carries.

But things haven’t gone as swimmingly in the postseason where Jackson is 0-2. In those two playoff losses, Baltimore has averaged 14.5 points-per-game, 379.5 total-yards-per-game, and three turnovers-per-game. While Jackson’s yardage totals aren’t terrible, he’s responsible for five of those six total turnovers in those postseason losses.

But it’s also a little unfair to judge any player by just playoff success, especially with such a small sample size. Peyton Manning started his career 0-3 in the playoffs but went on to win 14 playoff games, two Super Bowls, and is considered by many to be among the best quarterbacks to ever play the game and a shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

As former Steelers defensive back Ryan Clark noted this week, Jackson is the only quarterback from the 2018 NFL draft to have his playoff record held against him. It’s an unfair standard being used to hold down an otherwise dominant player while ignoring the failings of everyone else in the postseason right now.

Jackson has accomplished feats most NFL players can only dream of. He’s won the league MVP, team MVP in back-to-back seasons, most quarterback rushing yards in a single season, led the league in 2019 with 36 passing touchdowns, is the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons, and has taken the Ravens’ to the postseason in each of his first three years in the NFL. While they’re all great personal accolades, Jackson clearly has his sights focused on more than either his own awards or regular-season success.

“I’m still young. There’s still a next time for me,” Jackson said to Ravens reporter Ryan Mink. “But, eventually, those next times run out. So I definitely have to win as fast as possible. That’s why I’m trying to get a Super Bowl. Not just one, but a few.”

When the clock expires at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, maybe Jackson will add a playoff win to his already incredible resume and knock out a team that crushed the Ravens’ postseason dreams a year ago.

“It’s ‘win or go home’ right now,” Jackson told reporters. “I want to win regardless.”

List

11 super bold predictions for Ravens vs. Titans wild-card playoff game