Ravens clinch playoff berth with 23-7 victory over Jaguars

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this week that his team had not played well in Jacksonville. On Sunday night, the Ravens made all the necessary plays and there was no fourth-quarter rally by the Jaguars.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson threw a touchdown pass, ran for 97 yards, and eluded the Jaguars’ pass rush to lead the Ravens to a 23-7 victory, which clinched a postseason berth in Week 15.

“I didn’t know we clinched the playoffs,” Jackson said. “I’m just trying to win. I’m trying to get there. I’m trying to win a game at a time, but I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful for the opportunity.” 

The Ravens (11-3) amassed 251 yards on the ground and became the seventh team in NFL history with 30 consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing.

Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton was in the lineup after dealing with a knee injury he suffered last week against the Rams. Hamilton finished with seven tackles and one pass defensed.

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) runs after the catch against Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton (14) in the second quarter at EverBank Stadium. By Jeremy Reper-USA Today Sports

“My parents always raised me, ‘If you can go, go.’ So, I felt like I [could] go and throughout the week got better,” Hamilton said. “I felt decent Friday, and then it was just up to me whether I felt my pain tolerance was enough. I went out there before the game [and] had some pain. It was really just pain managing throughout the game, [and] adrenaline was going and everything, so I feel good.”

The Jaguars (8-6) pulled to within 10-7 on a 65-yard pass from Trevor Lawrence to Jamal Agnew with 7:15 left in the third quarter. It was the longest play allowed by the Ravens this season.

The Ravens entered the game with a league-leading 49 sacks and they managed one sack against Lawrence, who was focused on getting rid of the ball quickly.

Jackson avoided a sack by spinning out of a tackle and heaved a 26-yard pass to Isaiah Likely that gave the Ravens the ball on the 4.  That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Gus Edwards and the Ravens led, 17-7, with 14:58 remaining in the game. It’s Edwards’ first touchdown since November 16th.

A 26-yard field goal by Justin Tucker increased the margin to 20-7 with eight minutes left.

Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike had a strip sack on Lawrence and took over on the Jacksonville 25, setting up another short-field goal by Tucker. Madubuike tied an NFL record with at least a half-sack in 11 straight games.

“I don’t think it [has] really hit me yet,” Madubuike said. “It feels good. It feels good, especially when we get the win with it. I’m just out there just trying to make plays [and] help my team win. That’s just what the bottom line is, and I’m glad both happened. We got a win, but [I give] all glory to God, honestly.”

Baltimore’s offensive line struggled against the Jaguars’ front seven, but Jackson kept finding ways to make plays.

Keaton Mitchell had 73 yards on nine carries but left the game with a knee injury early in the fourth quarter.

“Keaton is going to be a serious injury – knee injury – so it looks like he won’t be back for the rest of the season,” Harbaugh said.

For the second straight week, the Ravens rotated their starting tackles Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses with Pat Mekari and Daniel Faalele.

Lawrence was 25 of 43 for 264 yards with a touchdown.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at EverBank Stadium. By Jeremy Reper-USA Today Sports

The Ravens opening drive stalled on the Jaguars’ 12-yard line and they had to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Tucker, who became the first kicker in NFL history to record at least 25 field goals in each of the first 12 years of a career.

Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus missed a pair of field-goal attempts from 50 and 55 yards on back-to-back possessions.

After Jackson’s seventh interception of the season, the Ravens’ defense responded when cornerback Arthur Maulet picked up a fumble by Lawrence, who lost his grip on the ball while running.

The Ravens had first-and-goal from the 1 but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on guard John Simpson pushed the ball back to the 16. However, Jackson threw a touchdown pass to Likely on the next play and Baltimore led, 10-0.

“I’ve said it before; I believe he’s the best quarterback in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve said it many times before, and he continues to prove it. He proves me right. He just took the game over in so many different ways, all the different ways he does it, with spectacular throws.”

The Jaguars got the ball inside the Ravens’ 5, but they were out of timeouts and could not run another play before halftime.

The Ravens were outgained 181 yards to 166 in the first half.

“We knew they were a good team, and we knew that it was going to take all four quarters, so we [really] just [were] staying true to who we [are], and it ended up working in our favor,” Likely said. 


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