Ravens Have a Very Motivated Lamar Jackson Heading Into Playoffs


After last year's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the wild-card playoffs, Lamar Jackson immediately dove into the tape to pick apart what he had done wrong.

Today marks exactly one year since that loss, and Jackson still feels the sting. But he doesn't care to talk much about it.

"Bro, I really hate it," Jackson said of that loss. "I can't wait to play this week coming up. So, I don't really want to talk about it anymore. It's over."

Last year's wild-card game was just the eighth start of Jackson's young career. The rookie struggled out of the gates. He was 2-for-8 for 17 yards and an interception at halftime. The Ravens fumbled three times in their first eight offensive plays.

But Head Coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens stuck with their rookie, with veteran playoff winner Joe Flacco sitting on the bench. They had faith in Jackson.

Jackson rebounded, and nearly led the Ravens to a comeback. He threw two touchdowns in the second half and a chance to win with under a minute left. Another fumbled doomed that.

A year later, after Jackson had an MVP-worthy regular season, Harbaugh's move to stick with Jackson looks better and better. And that loss sticks with Jackson.

"That game motivated me. It's still motivating me," Jackson said.

"But that game is over with. We've been having a great year this year, and we just have to keep it going. Like I said, I want a Super Bowl, so I'm not really worried about that, that first playoff game. That was my rookie season."

This may be the understatement of the year, but Jackson has come a long way since his rookie season. After leading the NFL in touchdown passes (36) and breaking the all-time quarterback rushing record (1,206), Jackson has established himself as perhaps the league's most dynamic offensive weapon.

Yet the question still remains whether somebody will "figure out" Jackson. He and the Ravens' offensive scheme have gone against some of the NFL's brightest and most established defensive minds this season, and nobody has cracked the code yet.

So will Dean Pees, the Ravens' former defensive coordinator who now holds the same position with the Titans, figure it out in a week?

"I'm not a rookie anymore. I've been around. I've seen everything they can bring," Jackson said. "So, I just have to keep playing ball, and we're going to see when it comes."

Asked Friday to name one thing he focused on this past offseason to get where he is now, Jackson said he "wanted to get better at everything, and still do."

"I'm not the greatest. I'm not the best," Jackson said. "I just want to win and keep winning. So, I just have to keep working.

"This playoff game is a Super Bowl game, because if you don't win, you're out. You're going home into next season. So, I'm treating every game like it's a Super Bowl game until I'm in there."

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