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The Playoff Moment Shouldn’t Shine Too Bright For Lamar Jackson

January 04, 2019 - 5:57 am
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By Joe Schiller

Come Sunday afternoon, Lamar Jackson will be the youngest quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game at 21-years-old

After taking over for Joe Flacco coming out of the Week 11 bye, Jackson helped lead the Ravens to six wins in their finals seven games of the regular season. A thrilling 26-24 win over the Cleveland Browns earned Baltimore its first AFC North division title since 2012 and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Chargers now come into town, as these two teams meet for the second time in three weeks.

The stakes are higher in a win-or-go-home scenario but on the biggest stage, the moment shouldn’t shine too bright for Jackson. After all, every one of his starts this season has felt like a playoff game, with little room for error.

When Jackson assumed starting duties, the Ravens held a 4-5 record, needing to win five or six of their last seven games to have a chance at the postseason. He faced matchups on the road against the Atlanta Falcons and Chargers, along with a hostile environment against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.

This doesn’t include big-time moments Jackson endured at Louisville during three full seasons as the starting quarterback. The Cardinals were a prominent team during that span and found themselves in plenty of primetime matchups.

Yes, there are certainly areas for improvement in Jackson’s game but he’s shown an incredible amount of poise for a young player. He’s faced adversity and battled back from deficits in must-win games for the Ravens this season.

Those intangibles are seldom found in young quarterbacks, especially rookies.

Jackson will have backing from the home crowd for the second straight week and the No. 1 overall defense, a unit that's played lights out against some of the league’s best offenses.

Any postseason nerves can be depressed with confidence knowing this is a team the Ravens can beat. They did so two weeks prior in dominating fashion.

This may be his first playoff game but considering the hype and following Jackson has warranted throughout his career, this is just another four quarters of football.