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Lamar Jackson Regresses to the Mike Vick Mean in the Playoffs

Brian Giuffra
Lamar Jackson.
Lamar Jackson. / Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
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Comparing Lamar Jackson to Mike Vick has always been a lazy man's endeavor. You see Jackson zigging and zagging through a defense at breakneck speed and the side of your brain that tells you it's ok to take a second nap on a weekday kicks in, immediately conjuring up the highlight of Vick doing the same thing in overtime against the Vikings all those years ago.

That's inattentive thinking. Jackson is a vastly different player than Vick, starting with the fact that he's a righty and Vick is a lefty and ending with the statistical reality that Jackson is more accurate, less turnover-prone, and throws touchdowns at a far higher rate than his run-first predecessor.

And yet in the postseason, Jackson regresses to the Vick mean, becoming inaccurate, turnover-prone and, worst of all, scoring far fewer touchdowns. His lone good playoff performance against the Titans this year included, Jackson is Vick come January. At least so far.

Through four playoff starts, Lamar Jackson has thrown 3 touchdowns to 5 interceptions, is completing 55.9% of his throws, and is averaging 225 passing yards per game. He averages 91.8 rushing yards per game in the playoffs but has scored only one rushing touchdown in those four games. The Ravens are 1-3 as a team with him starting at quarterback.

Those numbers are far worse than his regular-season averages, where he completes 64% of his passes, throws 1.5 touchdowns to every 0.4 interceptions, and has won 30 of 37 career starts. And yet those playoff numbers are similar to Vick's stats both in the regular season and postseason.

In five career playoff starts and six total appearances, Vick threw 5 touchdowns to 4 interceptions, completed 56.0% of his throws, and averaged 162.8 passing yards per game. He averaged 45.2 rushing yards and scored 1 rushing touchdown in those six games. Vick's teams went 2-3 with him as the starter.

Likewise in the regular season, Vick completed 56.2% of his passes, averaged 0.9 touchdown passes to every 0.6 interceptions, and went 61-51-1 as a starter. Outside of the winning record, that's what we've seen from Jackson in the postseason.

In fairness to Jackson, his numbers have improved every season in the playoffs, highlighted by this year's game against Tennessee when he completed 70.8 percent of his passes and ran for 136 yards and the touchdown. But that performance seems more like an outlier at this point considering he's completed 58.3%, 48.3% and 52.5% of his passes in his other three playoff starts.

This isn't just Jackson and Vick. Run-first quarterbacks have historically struggled more in the postseason than pocket passers. Randall Cunningham went 3-6 in the playoffs, completed only 52.6% of his passes, threw 1.0 touchdowns to every 0.8 interceptions and averaged 202.2 passing yards per game. Cam Newton has gone 3-4 in the playoffs, completed 59.8% of his passes, threw 1.4 touchdowns to every 1.0 interception and averaged 260.1 passing yards per game. Neither of them, nor Vick, won a Super Bowl.

Jackson is only 24 years old and still has plenty of time to improve and make naysayers look stupid. I certainly wouldn't bet against it. However, at this point in his postseason career, Jackson is Vick -- an inaccurate, turnover-prone quarterback who doesn't score many touchdowns and loses more games than he wins. That's a scary trend to consider if you're a Ravens fan and a point of emphasis for Jackson to consider as he goes into the offseason.

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