Ravens clinch AFC North with spirited victory over Browns

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens lastly awoke from their nightmare.

One yr after being knocked from the playoffs on a last-minute landing, C.J. Mosley delivered some redemption.

The Pro Bowl linebacker tipped a cross from Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield after which got here down with an interception to seal a 26-24 victory, serving to the Ravens clinch their first AFC North crown since 2012.

Baltimore (10-6) is the fourth seed within the AFC playoffs and can host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Ravens beat the Chargers on the highway 22-10 in Week 16.

“I told the guys last night this is the best team I’ve ever been associated with in 34 years of coaching, even back to peewee,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh mentioned. “Look at this bunch of guys. Remember what this is because this is what a team is. This is what a real team looks like.”

Just minutes earlier than Mosley made the largest play of his five-year profession, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 16-13, placing themselves in place to overhaul the Ravens within the division. As a outcome, Baltimore wanted a victory to remain forward within the standings and finish a three-year playoff drought.

The protection delivered with an all-out blitz that compelled the poor throw by Mayfield that Mosley was capable of corral with simply over a minute remaining.

“I was about to get greedy to rush and then I saw him pass and I just dropped back to my zone — right place, right time,” Mosley mentioned. “Felt like it was in the air forever.”

Baltimore completed with a season-high 296 yards speeding. Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for 90 of these yards with a pair of touchdowns.

However, he fumbled attempting to achieve over the objective line late within the first half that will have given the Ravens a three-score lead.

That proved to be expensive as a result of Cleveland was capable of chip away and get again within the sport.

“Our defense came out with a victory,” Jackson mentioned. “We should have finished it, but it was an all-around team game. We did our part sometimes, but we need to finish in the red zone. It was a good team win.”

The Browns (7-8-1) pulled to inside 20-14 early within the third quarter on a 48-yard landing cross from rookie Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry. Baltimore was capable of get some respiration room on a pair of subject targets by Justin Tucker from 44 and 23 yards that offered a 26-17 lead with 7:20 left within the sport.

The Browns reduce the result in two factors on a 1-yard landing cross from Mayfield to Antonio Callaway. The Ravens went three-and-out on the following drive that paved the way in which for the Browns to place collectively a possible game-winning drive earlier than Mosley got here up large on a fourth-and-10.

Mayfield ended his dynamic rookie season on a dour notice. He was 23 of 42 for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Mayfield did take some solace within the Browns gutsy efficiency. He is assured higher days are forward.

“Obviously, we would have like to have won,” Mayfield mentioned. “But there are a lot of positives we can find from this game. Playing on the road in this kind of atmosphere, we put ourselves in position to win. When we fell behind. We never gave up. We just kept playing hard.”

Landry created matchup issues all through the sport and completed with 102 yards on 9 receptions.

Last yr, the Ravens surrendered a 49-yard landing cross from Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd on a fourth-and-12 within the ultimate minute that gave Cincinnati a 31-27 victory, permitting the Bills to safe the ultimate postseason spot.

In 2016, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown prolonged the ball over the objective line on a 4-yard landing reception with 9 seconds remaining to supply a 31-27 victory that formally eradicated Baltimore from the playoffs.

A sold-out M&T Bank Stadium grew silent within the ultimate minute as pictures of these video games danced of their heads.

This time, the Ravens closed out the victory.

“I appreciate the courage of our players. One year ago, we were in the exact same place,” Harbaugh mentioned. “We fought through it.”

Ravens operating again Kenneth Dixon had a career-high 112 yards on 17 carries.

Browns receiver Breshad Perriman, a former first-round choose by Baltimore, obtained a measure of revenge towards his former workforce. He caught three passes for 45 yards, together with a 28-yard landing within the first quarter that gave Cleveland a 7-3 lead.

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