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Ravens vs. Bills final recap: An ugly but important win

Baltimore Ravens v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The 10-2 Baltimore Ravens traveled to Buffalo to face the 9-3 Buffalo Bills in an anticipated AFC match. Baltimore would clinch a spot in the playoffs with a win.

The wind was strong in Buffalo as neither team could muster much offense early in the game. The Ravens offense has been dominant on their first possession for the majority of this season, but after two drives, they only had a field goal to show. A couple of dropped passes from tight end Mark Andrews killed Baltimore’s momentum on the first two drives. Andrews left the game after the second drive with what head coach John Harbaugh later described as a thigh bruise.

The Ravens were suffocating on defense, although quarterback Josh Allen did fail to connect a multiple overthrown deep shots. Allen was under duress for the most of the game. Inside linebacker Josh Bynes recorded Baltimore’s first of six sacks on the day. Outside linebacker Matthew Judon started his monster performance with a strip sack on Allen that was recovered by defensive end Jihad Ward at Buffalo’s 24-yard line.

With good starting field position, the Ravens were able to punch the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the day. On 3rd-&-goal, quarterback Lamar Jackson flipped a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Boyle for the three-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown to Boyle set the record for most points scored in a season in franchise history.

Just as Baltimore’s offense seemed to get into rhythm, Jackson’s pass intended for wide receiver Willie Snead IV was intercepted by inside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. The pass was high and bounced off of Snead’s hand and right to Edmunds. This was just Jackson’s sixth interception of the season and his first since throwing three against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5.

The Ravens defense held the Bills to two field goals in the first half to take a 10-6 lead into halftime. Baltimore received the ball to open the third quarter. It only took three plays to march 75 yards for the touchdown as Jackson hit the forgotten tight end Hayden Hurst wide open for a 61-yard catch-and-run score. In the absence of Andrews, Hurst reminded everyone why he was a first-round draft pick.

Both defenses flexed their muscles for the remainder of the third quarter. After another field goal by the Bills, both teams combined for six punts. Buffalo’s third-ranked defense was able to contain Jackson as a runner and Baltimore’s defense continued to get after and hit Allen.

With the Bills unable to move the ball on offense, it seemed that the Ravens put the game away with a touchdown pass to Snead with a little over nine minutes remaining in regulation to make the score 24-9.

This wasn’t the case, however, as Buffalo matched their touchdown with a long scoring drive of their own. The drive went for 78 yards on seven plays and ended with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley. Beasley also caught the pass for the successful two-point conversion, making it a one-score game at 24-17 with seven minutes left to play.

Baltimore’s offense was unable to pick up a single first down on their next drive, giving the Bills the ball back with a chance to tie the game.

On 2nd-&-10, after stuffing running back Devin Singletary for no gain, defensive tackle Michael Pierce was flagged for unnecessary roughness, a 15-yard penalty. Two plays later on 2nd-&-3 after stuffing Singletary for a three-yard loss, rookie outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson was also flagged for unnecessary roughness, giving them another 15 yards.

After a sack from inside linebacker L.J. Fort put Buffalo in a 4th-&-16 situation with the game on the line, cornerback Marlon Humphrey was flagged for pass interference on Beasley when their feet tangled up. Beasley did his best to sell the contact and it worked, setting Buffalo up with a 1st-&-10 at the 18-yard line with two minutes left.

Three plays later, on 4th-&-8, Allen’s pass to wide receiver John Brown fell incomplete with cornerback Marcus Peters in coverage. The Ravens offense took the field and was able to kneel the ball to escape with a 24-17 win on the road.

Baltimore will return home to play the New York Jets on Thursday Night Football.