The Ravens now maintain an 8-5 file — only one win fewer than the Browns in a decent AFC North division.
The Steelers are out in entrance with an 11-2 file however, theoretically, any one of many three groups may nonetheless clinch the division title.
The superb margins matter on the sharp finish of the season, and that was no clearer than in Monday’s barnstormer of a sport.
Developing towards a powerful Browns workforce, which has secured its first successful season since 2007, an additional yard right here and a dropped catch there, and the Ravens may have been on the dropping facet.
It was a conflict of differing offensive kinds. The Browns appeared to throw first as quarterback Baker Mayfield tried 47 passes, making simply 28 of these makes an attempt — almost 10% under his common completion proportion.
In distinction, the Ravens relied on Jackson’s operating potential to guide the workforce to victory. He rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns — his most dashing yards in a sport since October 2019, and his first sport with two dashing touchdowns since November 2019.
A sloppy opening quarter noticed the Browns penalized thrice within the first 10 minutes of the sport. Issues bought worse for the workforce as kicker Cody Parkey missed a discipline objective within the opening moments of the second quarter — one thing that might come again to chunk them.
The Ravens led 21-14 on the half, which quickly grew to become 28-14 originally of the third quarter.
Jackson went off with cramp within the third quarter, leaving again up Hint McSorley in cost. McSorley went down with an damage after only a handful of performs, leaving the Ravens with out a quarterback. Jackson saved his workforce with an instantaneous return although, realizing they wanted his assist.
A Mayfield interception within the third quarter was a setback for the Browns, however he led the surge within the fourth with a 22-point comeback. Their protection saved them within the sport, and with two minutes remaining, the Browns led 35-34.
One minute and two touchdowns later and the scores had been stage at 42-42.
Then the Ravens drove upfield, ran the clock down and with seven seconds left, Justin Tucker slotted dwelling a discipline objective to take the rating to 45-42 with two seconds remaining.
On the ultimate play, the Ravens pressured a meaningless security that added an additional two-points to their tally.
“When you wrote a film about this, folks would not consider it,” Harbaugh mentioned. “They’d say it may by no means occur.”
“As I am seeing [McSorley] go down, I used to be nonetheless stretching,” Jackson mentioned. “I used to be catching an angle, as a result of it wasn’t going the way in which we needed it to. After which I noticed him go down, and I used to be like, ‘We have to begin now. We have simply bought to go on the market now.’ And I began operating on the market.”
This nail-biting victory often is the raise the Ravens want after a disappointing 2020 season.
Final 12 months introduced a 14-2 division-winning season, a spot within the playoffs and an MVP award for Jackson in simply his second 12 months within the league.
Jackson’s season hasn’t mirrored his breakout 2019 season.
In 15 video games in 2019, he threw for 36 touchdowns and solely six interceptions, whereas dashing for 1,206 yards and 7 touchdowns.
This 12 months, in his 12 video games, he has thrown solely 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions, dashing for 793 yards and 6 touchdowns.
All sport is a sport of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ and that was no clearer than with Parkey’s missed discipline objective. Possibly the sport goes to extra time. Possibly the Browns win and go to 10-3, one step nearer to their first playoff look since 2002.
As issues stand, the Ravens stay within the playoff hunt in a troublesome AFC.