Only a Ravens earn will alter playoff narrative for Lamar Jackson

Everybody loves a great narrative.

Besides for those people who are on the erroneous conclusion of 1.

That’s wherever Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson stands entering Sunday’s compelling AFC wild-card playoff showdown at Tennessee. Jackson’s failure to get a playoff video game, even with his otherworldly talents, is a dominant topic to this matchup.

A tap of the brakes, however, is required in this article.

Of course, Jackson, in just his 3rd NFL time, is -2 in the postseason. He and the Ravens shed to these very Titans a year in the past in the playoffs, 28-12. In 2019, they lost to the Chargers, 23-17. But two video games is far too compact a sample dimensions to be considered an alarming trend.

The Ravens, soon after all, have a impressive 30-7 gain-decline file with Jackson beneath center. In people video games, they’ve averaged 30.6 points, 206 speeding yards and just one turnover per match.

All those quantities dip instead substantially in the postseason, however, to 14.5 details, 137.5 hurrying yards and a few turnovers for every video game.

Is that all on Jackson?

His figures in all those video games — 14-of-29 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and a single interception in the reduction to the Chargers, and 31-of-59 for 365 yards with 1 TD and two picks against the Titans — were very well below his normal-time benchmarks.

Is that enough to define a quarterback who has demonstrated himself to be one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game, and who gained the NFL’s 2019 MVP award?

No, it is not. Not however.

Jackson, to his credit history, is not operating away from the elephant in the home.

“Definitely trying to erase that narrative,” Jackson informed reporters Wednesday. “That’s the No. 1 [goal] correct there on my mind, for positive. I have only been to the playoffs 2 times in my younger career. Other people have been in the league eternally and have not been to the playoffs at all.’’

Jackson conceded that one particular detail he has learned in the past two postseasons is that he has place far too a great deal pressure on himself.

“Just emphasis on the undertaking at hand,” Jackson stated. “Don’t try to make things take place right absent. Just acquire your time. I experience like that’s what I did a minimal little bit from time to time all through the video games, just making an attempt to do also considerably in its place of having my time.”

Previous year, the Ravens entered the playoffs with a 14-2 document, on a 12-video game successful streak and with the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. They had a bye week prior to struggling with the Titans, who ended up 10-point underdogs.

This yr, the Ravens have been 6-5 at the start of December and had to gain their closing 5 video games to qualify for the playoffs. So, in essence, they’ve been in playoff-like elimination games for a lot more than a thirty day period. In the course of that stretch, the Ravens have seemed like the ideal group in the NFL, averaging 37.2 factors and 267.4 hurrying yards for each activity.

A pebble in their collective sneakers, even so, is a 30-24 additional time dwelling decline to the Titans on Nov. 22, when they blew a 21-10 guide and Tennessee gamers danced on the Ravens’ midfield logo, which infuriated the Baltimore gamers.

Titans managing back again Derrick Henry, the NFL’s primary rusher with much more than 2,000 yards this season, has been Baltimore’s nemesis — hurrying for 195 yards on 30 carries in Tennessee’s playoff gain and 133 yards on 28 carries, such as a activity-winning 29-yard TD in OT, in November.

A single issue in the Ravens’ favor: The Titans’ protection has not been superior this period. Tennessee ranks No. 19 in speeding defense, letting 120.8 yards per activity, and No. 29 in passing protection, providing up 277.4 yards. The Titans, far too, and generated an NFL-lower 19 sacks.

“We continue to bought issues that we want to end,” Jackson reported immediately after the Ravens’ standard-year finale. “It’s just the beginning for us, to be genuine with you.”

He hopes these previous five months of elimination online games will have him and his teammates sharper than they had been a yr ago soon after the bye-7 days layoff.

“Last 12 months when we experienced that extended split, I was sort of sluggish,’’ Jackson explained. “Having online games back-to-back, it feels fairly great. No bye week for us. We’re heading straight into it, heads up high and with our eyes concentrated on the task at hand. We just have to end. That’s the vital for us.”

It is the important for Jackson if he’s ever likely to transform that pesky narrative.