Just two seasons into what's already become a scintillating career, Lamar Jackson has put his name among the best quarterbacks present and past, as he's done things never before accomplished.
Now, Jackson – and the Ravens faithful – is very much hoping he joins the exclusive ranks of Peyton and Eli Manning.
For all the unprecedented statistical splendor churned out by Jackson, there is the glaring 0-2 record as a starter in the playoffs.
It's a start that doesn't bode well for Jackson and the Ravens achieving their ultimate goal.
Thirty-one quarterbacks have gone 0-2 in their first two playoffs starts since 1950 and only Peyton Manning and Eli Manning went on to win a Super Bowl thereafter, per NFL Research.
Following the top-seeded Ravens' stunning loss to the Titans in the AFC Divisional Round last season, it's a statistic that no doubt should prove worrisome for Baltimore and the dynamic Jackson.
Jackson is a stellar 19-3 as a starter in the regular season. But it's the dreary 0-2 in the postseason that's a sorrowful footnote to the all-action Jackson's first two seasons de force.
Comparing 22 games to two is a bit drastic, but still so too are the discrepancies. The Ravens offense has averaged 30.7 points per game during Jackson's regular season starts, but just 14.5 in the two playoff losses. With Jackson under center in the regular season, the Ravens average just one giveaway per contest, but in the playoffs they're averaging three turnovers.
In addition to throwing an NFL-high 36 touchdown passes in 2019, Jackson set a new single-season quarterback record with 1,206 rushing yards. In just his second season, he put up numbers that no other quarterback before him had.
Lamar's Season of Firsts
(Per NFL Research)
- First player with 3,000-plus passing yards and 1,000-plus rushing yards in a single season
- First player with 100-plus passer rating and 1,000-plus rushing yards in a single season
- First player to average 200-plus passing YPG and 60-plus rushing YPG in a single season
- First quarterback with five 100-plus rushing yards games in a single season
Still, for all the gleaming statistical splendor and the back-to-back AFC North titles, there is no postseason success to show for it.
Jackson showed promise in 2018.
Jackson showed spectacular in 2019.
They each ended the same way.
Nonetheless, Peyton Manning went 0-3 across his first three playoff trips and he won two Super Bowls, just like his younger brother Eli, who went 0-2 to begin his postseason days.
Going forward, defenses will be looking to catch up to the all-world talent and slow it down as they were routinely inept at doing a season ago. And, as coach John Harbaugh has already pointed out, Baltimore isn’t going to sneak up or surprise anybody as it did last year.
It's difficult to fathom the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player turning in the same unprecedented numbers as he did during his MVP campaign. Then again, Jackson's made a habit out of accomplishments never seen before.
And while the Mannings are the only quarterbacks to have won Super Bowls after going 0-2 in their first two playoff starts, five players (all of them quarterbacks) have won a Super Bowl following an MVP campaign.
The last two were Tom Brady (2017) and Patrick Mahomes (2018), so Jackson has some recent history on his side as he vies for a first playoff win, a Super Bowl and to join the rarefied air that thus far only includes the Mannings.