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Lamar Jackson Shuts Up Playoff Criticism With Four Touchdowns

QB Lamar Jackson
QB Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson was held in check for the first half Saturday night. In the second half, there was no stopping him – not even when he reached the end zone.

After scoring his fourth touchdown in the Ravens' 34-10 divisional playoff blowout of the Houston Texans, Jackson ran through the tunnel behind the Ravens end zone.

"I just saw it, and I was off to the races," Jackson said with a laugh.

Jackson entered the game with a 1-3 playoff record. It was the last remaining crutch Jackson's detractors still had.

He put that to rest with a spectacular performance, sending the Ravens to their first AFC Championship game since 2012 and first in Baltimore since the 1970 Baltimore Colts.

It was a historic night for Jackson, as he became the first player in NFL history to register two rushing touchdowns, two passing touchdowns, 100 rushing yards, and 100 passer rating in any game – regular season or postseason.

"Lamar just played out of his mind," said Head Coach John Harbaugh, who predicted Jackson was going to have a monster playoff game.

"I thought Lamar was going to play great, but he's played great all year. Just now, it's more important than ever. He's been locked in from Day 1. That's his term, and we've all ran with it."

Asked about those who have questioned his playoff record, Jackson said he of course heard the noise. But he didn't clap back.

"It is what it is. I don't really care about what people say," Jackson said. "I'm trying to win day in and day out. Every time I'm on that field, I'm trying to play to the best of my abilities. Those guys just had our team number in the past, but it's a different team. Like I've been saying, we just have to stay locked in on what's ahead of us."

When Jackson got a game ball from Harbaugh in the postgame locker room, he took it without emotion or any words. He had already said plenty at halftime.

Jackson lit up the offense with a profanity-laced talking to at halftime after it scored just 10 points and finished on a sour note with back-to-back sacks. He spent the first half under heavy pressure and Jackson wasn't happy about it.

The second half started with a 37-yard kickoff return by Devin Duvernay that put the Ravens near midfield. That seemed to be all the momentum the Ravens offense needed in the second half, as it ripped off three straight touchdown drives.

Jackson completed the next two passes for 28 yards, then ran in a 15-yard touchdown and the Ravens were suddenly back on top – never to look back again.

"We were on our heels there to start the second half. Then Lamar pretty much just took it over," Texans Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said. "He made some exceptional plays, and we couldn't get him down.

"Credit to Lamar. He made a ton of great plays. Probably, that's why he's the MVP. He made a ton of great plays. We didn't make plays. It's what it all comes down to."

On the Ravens' next offensive drive, they marched 93 yards on 12 plays. Jackson got it rolling with a 21-yard pass over the middle to Rashod Bateman. He took a naked bootleg keeper on fourth-and-1 for a 14-yard gain, then finished it with a 15-yard lob touchdown pass to tight end Isaiah Likely, in which Jackson faked as if he was going to be a runner.

With a 14-point lead, with the way the Ravens defense was playing, it was pretty much over from there. Jackson made sure of it, keeping his foot on the pedal with another long touchdown drive mostly behind the offensive line and running backs, but capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Jackson.

"Lamar is a magician," wide receiver Zay Flowers said. "Like, you're going to see him there, then you're going to see him in the end zone. So, I'll call him a magician, because you never know where he [is] going to be."

Sometimes, he might even be hiding in the tunnel.

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