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When Lamar Jackson suits up on Saturday against the Texans, it will be his first playoff game in 1,099 days. Incredibly, it's been over three years since we last saw Jackson in the playoffs, when the Ravens lost 17-3 in Buffalo in the divisional round. That's mostly because Jackson suffered season-ending injuries in each of the previous two years. 

Either way, it's been quite a while, so I'll give you a refresher on just how bad it's been in the playoffs for the soon-to-be two-time league MVP.

First off, Jackson has a 1-3 career playoff record. Patrick Mahomes has more Super Bowl titles (two) than Jackson has playoff wins. Jackson has the same number of playoff wins since entering the league in 2018 as John Wolford. Who? Exactly. The same mark as a Rams third-string QB who didn't even make it through the first quarter of a playoff win back in 2020. Jackson's playoff record is bad, but it's nothing to panic about, yet. After all, Peyton Manning had a 0-3 playoff record through five seasons. His career could have turned out worse.

It's the numbers behind Jackson's playoff record that are troubling. The Ravens are averaging just 13.0 points per game in Jackson's playoff career. That's the second-lowest mark by any QB with at least four playoff starts in the last 30 seasons, ahead of only Andy Dalton. Dalton has a 0-4 playoff record with one touchdown pass and six interceptions. Not the company you want to keep. 

Overall, Jackson has four total touchdowns, seven turnovers and a 68.3 passer rating in the postseason. His passer rating drops off nearly 30 points from his regular-season career, the fifth-largest decline in NFL history. 

Lamar Jackson CareerRegular SeasonPlayoffs




Team PPG



Total TD - turnovers



Passer rating



Passer rating isn't everyone's flavor, though, so try this one on for size: 46 QBs have made at least four playoff starts since 2000. Only Rex Grossman (-0.22) and Dalton (-0.22) are worse than Jackson (-0.18) in EPA per play in that span.

The Ravens have dug themselves into deep holes in each of their four playoff games with Jackson. They've trailed by double digits in each game and didn't score a touchdown in the first three quarters in three of those four contests. In fact, the only touchdown passes Jackson has thrown in his playoff career have come in the fourth quarter down by at least 13 points. Yeah, it's been that bad. 

Jackson ranks dead last in passer rating (49.6) and EPA per play (-0.37) in the first three quarters of playoff games since 2000. That's among 46 QBs with at least four starts. 

Lamar Jackson Playoff CareerFirst Three QuartersFourth Quarter

Yards per attempt



Pass yards per game






Passer rating



It hasn't been all bad for Jackson. He ran for 136 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown run, in his only career playoff win vs. the Titans in the 2020 wild-card round. 

Why has he struggled?

I watched the film from Jackson's four career playoff starts to explore why he (and Baltimore's offense) have fallen short in the playoffs.

Rattled by pressure

Jackson has been the improv king this season (more on that later) but his game has been completely off with pressure in his face in the playoffs. He's just 9 for 34 passing vs. pressure in the postseason, the worst completion rate (27%) in the league since 2018 (min. 25 attempts). He's looked rattled and his off-target rate when pressured has increased from 15% in the regular season to 32% in the playoffs. He consistently missed opportunities he usually hits, even when under duress.

Pocket passing

Defenses have also played Jackson differently in the postseason, blitzing less and playing more zone coverage in an effort to keep as many eyes on Jackson as possible and keep him contained on scrambles. He hasn't responded by carving them in the pocket up to this point. His accuracy has been inconsistent (as noted) above, but he's also failed to notice open receivers, missed checkdowns and held on to the ball too long, resulting in more sacks. His numbers from the pocket in his playoff career: completion rate of 59%, 6.5 yards per attempt, two touchdown passes, five interceptions and a 65.7 rating.  

Lamar Jackson NFL CareerBlitz RateZone RateOff-Target RateADOTSack PctAvg Time to Throw

Regular season














Inferior system and playmakers

The Ravens' supporting cast didn't do Jackson any favors in the postseason either. No team invested less dollars in wide receivers in Jackson's first four years as the Ravens' primary starter. No team got fewer receiving yards from wideouts in that span. It showed up in the playoffs when their second-best receiver was Willie Snead and they struggled to create separation or make plays after the catch. Baltimore's previous offense was built around Jackson's strengths as a runner. There were more two-tight end sets, less spread offense and athleticism on the field, a model that failed in January. 

Why this year is different

Jackson responded with "very confident" this week when asked about the Ravens offense this postseason given its struggles in his previous playoff outings. 

He has every reason to be. He averaged a career-high 8.0 yards per pass attempt this year and posted his second-highest success rate on pass plays (49%) behind his 2019 MVP year (51%). 

Baltimore's new offense under Todd Monken is highlighting Jackson's strengths as a passer and should be a better model for the postseason. The Ravens are more talented, spread out and faster. With more three wide receiver sets they are challenging the outside of the field and doing more damage after the catch. Jackson was the NFL's best QB when pressured this year (NFL-best 8.7 yards per attempt) thanks to playmakers who can get open in the scramble drill. 

Ravens Offense Since 2018 With Lamar Jackson On Field2019-222023

Pct of plays with 3+ WR



Pct of attempts outside numbers



YAC per reception



The difference in his wide receiver room this year vs. previous years is stark. 

Ravens WR Rotation Entering Postseason with Lamar JacksonYear

Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead, Ty Montgomery


Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, Seth Roberts


Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, Dez Bryant


Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor 


There also hasn't been enough talk about the job backup tight end Isaiah Likely has done with Mark Andrews hurt. Likely ranks second among tight ends in yards per catch (15.3) in six games since Andrews was injured (trailing only George Kittle).  

But what if he loses ... again?

It should all add up to a different looking Jackson and Ravens team this postseason. Nothing is guaranteed, though, especially with the Texans riding C.J. Stroud's hot hand. Houston also has a talented pair of edge rushers (Will Anderson Jr. and Jonathan Greenard). As much as a Baltimore turnaround is expected, a loss would be devastating. 

Keep in mind, this team already went one-and-done in 2019 when Jackson won unanimous MVP. The Ravens were 14-2 and outscored their opponents by 249 points. They were +203 this year, too. No team since the merger has lost multiple playoff openers with a +200 point differential.

Only one QB has lost multiple playoff openers in the same season they won MVP: Aaron Rodgers.

Baltimore has also won 66 regular-season games since drafting Jackson but has only one playoff win to show for it. That would be the most wins by any team in a six-season span in NFL history, with one or fewer playoff wins. 

You can see why Jackson is under the most pressure of any player to win this weekend.