OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Four days before the Baltimore Ravens‘ wild-card game at the Tennessee Titans, quarterback Lamar Jackson made it clear that he’s determined to end all the talk that he can’t win in the postseason.
Jackson is 0-2 in the playoffs, struggling in upset losses to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018 and the Titans last year. He is looking to avoid becoming the second quarterback in the Super Bowl era to lose a playoff opener in his first three seasons (Andy Dalton is currently the only one).
“Definitely trying to erase that narrative right there,” Jackson said Wednesday. “That’s the No. 1 [goal] right there on my mind.”
Jackson has dominated in the regular season, going 30-7 (.810). He reached 30 victories faster than any quarterback in NFL history, and he has the most wins in the league since taking over as Baltimore’s starter midway through the 2018 season.
But Jackson and the Ravens have lost by a combined score of 51-29 in the playoffs despite being at home and favorites in both games. The other NFL MVP quarterbacks who began their careers with three consecutive playoff losses are Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Bert Jones and Y.A. Tittle.
“It’s win or go home right now,” Jackson said. “I don’t really care what people got to say. I’ve only been to the playoffs twice in my young career. Other people have been in the league forever and haven’t been to the playoffs at all. It is what it is.”
As a starter in the regular season, Jackson has recorded a Total QBR of 72.3, which ranks No. 2 in the NFL and trails only Patrick Mahomes (79.8). He has totaled 85 touchdowns and 23 turnovers in 37 games.
In his two playoff games, Jackson’s Total QBR of 21.6 is the lowest by any quarterback with multiple playoff starts since QBR was first tracked in 2006. He has produced more turnovers (five) than touchdowns (three).
Jackson acknowledged that he has pressed at times in the postseason.
“Just focus on the task at hand,” Jackson said when asked about his biggest takeaways from his playoff experience. “When you get in there, just take your time because things are going to happen the way it should. Don’t try to make things happen right away. Just take your time. I feel like that’s what I did a little bit sometimes throughout the games, just trying to do too much instead of taking my time.”
Slow starts have been a problem for Jackson in the postseason. In the first three quarters of the postseason, he has managed to complete just 48% of his throws for no touchdowns and three interceptions.
Jackson believes he’ll be sharper this year because the Ravens had to win their final five regular-season games to clinch a wild-card berth. Last year, Jackson and some other starters had two weeks off before their playoff game against the Titans because Baltimore had already clinched the top seed before the season finale and then received a first-round bye.
“Myself, last year when we had that long break, I was kind of sluggish. I wasn’t really quick off my twitches,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t quick at all. Having games back to back, it feels pretty good. No bye week for us. We’re going straight into it, heads up high and with our eyes focused on the task at hand. We just have to finish. That’s the key for us.”