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Lamar Jackson will be youngest QB to start in playoffs

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Lamar Jackson will make NFL history when he steps onto the field for Sunday's wild-card matchup versus the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Baltimore Ravens quarterback, at 21 years, 364 days, will become the youngest quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game. Jackson turns 22 on Monday.

"I'm trying to taste that victory for my birthday Monday," Jackson said, per the team's official website. "I can taste it!"

Coincidentally, Jackson is attempting to break the record of another scampering quarterback, Michael Vick, who was 22 years, 192 days old when he ran over the Green Bay Packers in 2003 at Lambeau Field, becoming the youngest signal-caller to win a playoff game. Vick was in his second season.

Jackson, as a rookie, has history against him entering Sunday afternoon's tilt. The last five rookies to start a playoff game all came out on the losing end. Since 2010, first-year signal-callers are 2-7 in playoff tilts, with the only two wins coming in rookie versus rookie battles (T.J. Yates vs. Andy Dalton in 2011 and Russell Wilson vs. Robert Griffin III in 2012). Rookies are 0-5 this decade versus veteran signal callers.

The last rookie to win a playoff game versus a non-rookie quarterback was Mark Sanchez's Jets in 2009. Sanchez and Ravens' Joe Flacco are the only rookies since the 1970 merger to win multiple playoff games in their first season. No rookie quarterback has ever led his team to a Super Bowl.

"It really doesn't [matter to me]," Jackson said of his age. "I'm here to play football. I was 21 all year, so this is another game for me."

Asked if anything changed this week for Jackson, the rookie shrugged off the playoffs adding more pressure.

"I changed my clothes. That's about it. Everything else is the same," he quipped.

Jackson's running acumen completely overhauled a stale Ravens offense that was stuck in the mud. The rookie quarterback helped lead Baltimore to a 6-1 record (including a victory over Sunday's opponent) and an AFC North division title. Jackson finished 2018 with a .857 win percentage, third-highest win percent by any rookie QB with five-plus starts since the 1970 NFL merger (Ben Roethlisberger 13-0, 2004; Mike Kruczek 6-0, 1976).

"Lamar's maturity has impressed me greatly. He's very mature," coach John Harbaugh said. "I think you guys see it -- you see it when you interview him, players see it when he walks around. Like I said before, he's very comfortable with who he is. That's a sign of maturity for sure."

In a rematch against a Chargers team that held Jackson to a starter-low 39 yards rushing a fortnight ago, the Ravens will need the quarterback's maturity and playmaking ability to shine Sunday in Baltimore.

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