Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson comes up empty again, raising even more questions about star QB

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Even after last week’s win over the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was the subject of many questions.

Could the likely two-time NFL MVP come up big when it counts the most? Beating an upstart Texans team at home as major favorites last week was one thing. Defeating the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game would be a different thing.

Like we have seen throughout his entire playoff career, Jackson didn’t step up when he had a real opportunity to prove himself among the game’s elite.

Outside of a two-play sequence in the first quarter in which Jackson led the Ravens down the field for a touchdown, he just did not have it at home against the defending champs on Sunday.

Jackson was continually errant with his passes throughout what would end up being an ugly 17-10 home loss in the conference title game. He struggled recognizing pressure, losing a huge fumble in the process.

In his sixth NFL season, Jackson needs to be able to recognize when pressure is coming. He simply can’t hold on to the ball like that waiting for a receiver to get open. Instead of Baltimore potentially driving down the field for the game-tying touchdown, the team turned it over.

The Ravens would spend their final two drives of the first half punting after putting up just 25 yards on eight plays. Kansas City would score a field goal to take a 17-7 lead.

With Baltimore still down just 17-7 midway through the fourth quarter, the Ravens were driving to make it a one-score game. That’s when Jackson threw an absolutely brutal interception in the end zone, ending this one in the process. It was a terrible mistake. A rookie-level mistake.

On 2nd-and-10 while in field goal range, Jackson threw the ball into triple coverage. Regardless of how bad the pass was, the decision was even more ridiculous. You simply can’t make that decision. Throw it a way, and live another down.

Related: Lamar Jackson standing among NFL starting QBs

Lamar Jackson comes up small once again for Baltimore Ravens

baltimore ravens' lamar jackson
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jackson finished the day having completed a mere 20-of-37 passes for 272 yards with one touchdown and two turnovers. It’s just the latest example of the quarterback failing to prove himself when it counts the most.

Jackson entered Sunday’s AFC Championship Game having posted a 2-3 record with five touchdowns and five interceptions in five career playoff starts.

Most figured this season would be different. Baltimore entered the playoffs with an NFL-best 13-4 regular-season record. The team had outscored its opponents by an average of nearly 12 points per game. The quarterback had the best supporting cast of his career.

For his part, Jackson finished the regular season with nearly 4,500 total yards to go with 29 total touchdowns and seven interceptions.

He had feasted on the play-action, boasting a 122.9 QB rating with an 81.7% completion. Jackson finished Sunday’s game having completed just half of his passes in such situations.

It was this time last year that Jackson found himself in a contract stalemate with the Ravens. It even got to the point that he requested a trade via social media. The former first-round pick wanted a lucrative long-term contract with full guarantees.

In the end, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens came to terms on a five-year, $260 million contract with just $135 million guaranteed at signing. It came after other teams pushed back against handing him more guaranteed.

“Everybody was interested in the player. They were not interested in the package. Because he was so vociferous about getting that guaranteed deal, those franchises made it clear, there is nothing to talk about. It wasn’t until Baltimore convinced him to take the non-guaranteed contract that the Ravens got a deal done.”

Unnamed NFL executive on Lamar Jackson contract

About that? The teams that pushed back against handing Jackson those guarantees when in negotiations with his team have seemingly proven to be right.

Jackson is now 2-4 in his NFL Playoff career with six touchdowns and just six interceptions. He’s just barely better than Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (2-5 playoff record) in that regard.

One now has to wonder whether the narrative will flip relating to Jackson after yet another bummer of a playoff appearance. In reality, it should.

He’s proven not to be ready for prime time. Sunday’s brutal showing in a loss to the Chiefs as the Ravens’ season came to a premature end adds another layer to this.

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