Lamar Jackson was aware of the scrutiny around his lack of playoff success before the Baltimore Ravens’ divisional-round victory over the Houston Texans – but he says he didn’t pay it much attention.
“You know I heard that. I seen it, I don’t even got to hear it,” Jackson said after his team’s 34-10 victory. “But it is what it is. I don’t really care about what people say.”
Jackson entered Saturday’s game with a 1-3 postseason record, including a 0-2 mark at home. However, he silenced his critics in a big way, scoring four touchdowns – two through the air and two with his legs – on Saturday as he earned his first home playoff win and his first postseason victory since the 2020 season.
“I’m trying to win day in, day out,” Jackson added. “Every time I’m on that field, I’m trying to play to the best of my ability. Those guys just had our team’s number in the past, but this is a different team, like I’ve been saying. We just gotta stay locked in on what’s ahead of us.”
The Ravens and the Texans entered halftime deadlocked at 10 points each, prompting Jackson to talk to his teammates. Whatever Jackson said appeared to have worked: Baltimore scored 24 unanswered points over the final two quarters.
“It’d be inappropriate if I said (it) right here,” Jackson said of his halftime message.
Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans even had to show the opposing quarterback respect. “That’s why he’s the MVP,” he said, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The 2023 MVP front-runner became only the second player in the Super Bowl era with two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and over 100 running yards in a game. He joins Colin Kaepernick, who did it in 2013, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
The Ravens’ win means they will host the first AFC Championship Game in franchise history. They’ll take on the winner of Sunday’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills.