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Ravens' Lamar Jackson on noise over playoff failures before win vs. Texans: 'You know I heard that'

Lamar Jackson is 1-3 in the playoffs no more.

Baltimore's MVP front-runner was electric in the Ravens' 34-10 Divisional Round win over the Houston Texans, scoring four combined touchdowns with 152 yards through the air and 100 on the ground to banish the narrative of his playoff failures.

"You know I heard that," Jackson said postgame about the noise regarding his one career playoff win. "I've seen it, I don't even got to hear it. I see it. But it is what it is. I don't really care about what people say. I'm trying to win. Day in, day out, every time I'm on that field, I'm trying to play to the best of my ability. Those guys just had our team's number in the past, but it's a different team."

Houston initially hung around to force a 10-10 score at halftime. Jackson faced blitz after blitz in the first half from an uncharacteristically aggressive DeMeco Ryans defense and took three sacks to end the second quarter with 23 net passing yards, which might presumably rattle him given his failures of yore.

Instead, he refused to be denied in the second half. Jackson matched his defense's shutout efforts over the final two quarters by scoring on four straight drives, including possessions of 53, 93 and 78 yards.

He accounted for scores on each Baltimore trip to the end zone, and by hitting the century mark in both passing and rushing yards, he became the first player in NFL history with two-plus passing touchdowns, two-plus rushing TDs, 100-plus yards on the ground, 100-plus yards through the air and a 100-plus passer rating, per NFL Research.

"I thought Lamar was gonna play great, but he's played great all year," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "Just now, it's more important than ever. He's been locked in from Day 1. That's his term, and we've all kind of ran with that. He's directed this whole thing."

It was a dominant performance made all the more impressive by the contrast to how Baltimore performed in this exact position previously.

The Ravens were dominant during the 2023 season, but entering the postseason as the AFC's No. 1 seed with Jackson likely the future AP Most Valuable Player held a mirror to the team's failings in 2019 and to shortcomings thereafter.

In 2019, the top-seeded Ravens and their unanimous MVP-to-be Jackson were steamrolled by the Titans at home in the Divisional Round, Jackson's second one-and-done playoff loss in consecutive years.

Although Baltimore did score a victory in the 2020 playoffs, Jackson struggled in what was his most recent playoff game before today, managing just three points in another defeat.

To go along with his 1-3 record in the playoffs as a starter, Jackson had a 55.9 completion percentage, 68.3 passer rating, a 3:5 passing touchdown to interception ratio and was averaging 1.8 giveaways per postseason game.

Just as the Ravens eventually blew the Texans out of the stadium, Jackson blew those numbers out of the water in his fifth postseason start.

He managed a 72.7 completion percentage, no turnovers and a 121.8 passer rating.

Jackson recorded a 65.6% success rate on his 22 dropbacks against the Texans, the fourth-highest mark of his career, per Next Gen Stats, and he figured out Houston's blitzing, as well. Facing a career-high 75% blitz rate, Jackson went 13 of 18 for 120 yards and two TDs against extra rushers.

"They were having success first half with blitzing us," he said. "All blitz and zero, they were doing their thing. But we watched a lot of film. We were prepared. We just were making little mistakes on protecting the blitz and getting the ball out on time. But second half, I felt like we were doing what we were supposed to do."

He also celebrated his final blow against the Texans, an 8-yard touchdown run to push the score to 31-10, à la Bo Jackson by running an extra 10-15 yards into the tunnel.

Jackson's stellar day catapulted the Ravens into the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the 2012 season, the campaign Baltimore last won a Super Bowl, and it also made him the first QB to both lead his team in rushing in a season and advance past the Divisional Round.

It was a redemptive performance by Jackson to silence any remaining critics.

But the mission isn't over. Jackson won't think about this triumph long, nor will he let his mind wander past next Sunday's AFC Championship Game to Super Bowl LVIII prematurely.

"We've got to finish," he said. "Still in the playoffs, not in the dance yet. I'm looking forward to next week. I'm not even thinking of the Super Bowl until we handle business."

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