Lamar Jackson brushes against haunting narrative in Ravens-Titans playoff rematch

Lamar Jackson defined the terms of his NFL career before it started with a now-famous draft night declaration: “They’re going to get a Super Bowl out of me. Believe that.”

But as great as he has been through 2 1/2 seasons, the Ravens quarterback has not found postseason success. He failed to throw a touchdown pass until the final 12 minutes of lopsided losses to the Chargers and Titans, and between those defeats he tossed three interceptions and lost two fumbles through the first three quarters.

SN’s WEEK 11 PICKS: Straight up | Against the spread

Jackson’s subpar performance against Los Angeles two years ago established an unfortunate narrative about his big-game play. His lackluster effort against Tennessee in January undermined an MVP campaign meant to double as a tour to embarrass persistent doubters. This year, then, is a frustrating third attempt to definitively prove to the public what his statistics already show: He is an all-around superstar under center who deserves far more praise than he has received to this point.

Jackson will, of course, be judged by what he does beyond Week 17, but regular-season matchups such as Sunday’s rematch with the Titans are not completely meaningless in shaping how he’s perceived. Think of each scintillating showing he delivers as bonus style points for his ultimate championship goal. There would no doubt be great satisfaction taken from picking apart Mike Vrabel’s defense, and a strong performance against a potential 2020 playoff opponent would provide a confidence boost for the entire Baltimore roster.

MORE: DK Metcalf, Dre Kirkpatrick fight in tense NFC showdown

Neither the Ravens nor Jackson have been as tidy of late as they were when they went 14-2 a year ago. A surprise loss to the Patriots last weekend underlined their vulnerability. At 6-3, they are three games back of the Steelers for first place in the AFC North and in a battle for second with the Browns.

Jackson’s passer rating is down from 113.3 to 95.6. After averaging an NFL-best 6.9 yards per carry during his MVP run, he is averaging 5.8 yards per tote this season. He feels the offense is not punishing opponents with the ruthless efficiency it did last campaign.

“We’ve just got to finish,” Jackson said. “It’s the little things on tape where it’s like, we could have put them away.”

Jackson does not publicly view Sunday’s contest against the Titans as a revenge game. He told reporters of Baltimore’s playoff exit 10 months ago: “That was last year, we just fell short and we can’t do anything about it.”

And how could it be a revenge game?

If Jackson dominates, then the expected mixed response on social media would demonstrate the maddening reality of his career. His consistently above-average regular-season play is almost always met by reminders of two bad playoff games. Predecessor Joe Flacco’s mediocre play, meanwhile, was forever accompanied by chatter about four amazing playoff games in 2013.

But as a spicy appetizer for a win over the Titans when it counts later on? You can believe Jackson would enjoy every bit of that.

Source link

Share

All countries
66,288,887
Total confirmed cases
Updated on December 5, 2020 9:19 AM
Italy
1,688,939
Total confirmed cases
Updated on December 5, 2020 9:19 AM
Spain
1,699,145
Total confirmed cases
Updated on December 5, 2020 9:19 AM
Iran
1,016,835
Total confirmed cases
Updated on December 5, 2020 9:19 AM
Germany
1,152,283
Total confirmed cases
Updated on December 5, 2020 9:19 AM

Latest Updates

‘Macho: The Hector Camacho Story’ is a brilliant tale of smiles and tears

Too often in sports, we hear about an athlete who rose to the most incredible heights of their profession only to...

Texas high school player charged with assault after shoving referee

The Texas high school football player who ran onto the field and shoved a referee to the turf after being...

Karl-Anthony Towns opens up about losing his mother, six other family members to COVID-19

As the NBA prepares for the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it's difficult to comprehend what Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is...

Frequently Asked Questions

‘Macho: The Hector Camacho Story’ is a brilliant tale of smiles and tears

Too often in sports, we hear about an athlete who rose to the most incredible heights of their profession only to...

Texas high school player charged with assault after shoving referee

The Texas high school football player who ran onto the field and shoved a referee to the turf after being...

Karl-Anthony Towns opens up about losing his mother, six other family members to COVID-19

As the NBA prepares for the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it's difficult to comprehend what Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is...

Nets’ Kyrie Irving skips media session, issues statement to ensure message is ‘conveyed properly’

Did Kyrie Irving one-up Marshawn Lynch? Lynch is known for saying all sorts of hilarious things, but perhaps his best work...

Billy Joe Saunders wants ‘big names’ after outclassing Martin Murray to retain title

Billy Joe Saunders will target the big names in the super middleweight division in 2021 after retaining his WBO title...

Ravens down to Trace McSorley at QB as injured Robert Griffin III ruled out

Trace McSorley could be set to start for the Ravens in Week 13 after fellow quarterback Robert Griffin III was...

Related Articles

‘Macho: The Hector Camacho Story’ is a brilliant tale of smiles and tears

Too often in sports, we hear about an athlete who...

Texas high school player charged with assault after shoving referee

The Texas high school football player who ran onto the...

Karl-Anthony Towns opens up about losing his mother, six other family members to COVID-19

As the NBA prepares for the 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic,...