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Ravens News 12/16: Playoff Picture and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Wild comeback in Cleveland: Inside Ravens and Lamar Jackson’s dramatic 70 minutes - Jamison Hensley

11:21 p.m.: On his second drive, backup quarterback Trace McSorley moves Baltimore into Cleveland territory before his left knee buckles when he tries to cut back to convert a third-and-5. “Obviously, it was sad to see Trace go down like that,” Andrews said. “So, that was the first thing we thought. Then, you see Willie [Snead] taking snaps — ‘Steamin’ Willie’ — he’s played quarterback before. If we had to do that, we were going to make it work. Then, Lamar shows up and saves the day.”

11:22 p.m.: With the game stopped for McSorley’s injury at the two-minute warning, Jackson shockingly trots onto the sideline to get his helmet and returns to the game. “And as I’m seeing [McSorley] go down, I was still stretching [in the locker room],” Jackson said. “I was catching an attitude, because it wasn’t going the way we wanted it to. And then I saw [McSorley] go down, and I was like, ‘We’ve got to start now. We’ve just got to go out there now.’ And I started running out there.”

According to ESPN Analytics, when Jackson returned from the locker room at the two-minute warning last night the Ravens had a 56% chance to reach the playoffs.

11:25 p.m.: On his first play back, Jackson scrambles on fourth-and-5 and throws a 44-yard touchdown to Marquise Brown while on the run. Baltimore retakes the lead at 42-35. “There was no doubt,” Brown said. “We know we have a chance whenever we get the ball with Lamar, so we just had to go out there and make a play.”

After that touchdown pass to Brown, the Ravens had an 82% chance to reach the playoffs, according ESPN Analytics.

Five crazy things to know from Ravens’ wild win over Browns plus NFL Week 15 picks, power rankings - John Breech

Teams combine to make history. The Browns and the Ravens combined for NINE rushing touchdowns, which is something that none of us have ever seen before. I take that back, it actually has happened two other times in NFL history, but both of those came in 1922, so if you were alive 98 years ago, then this was probably just another game for you. The rushing touchdowns came from Lamar Jackson (2), Nick Chubb (2), Gus Edwards (2), J.K. Dobbins, Kareem Hunt and Baker Mayfield. I mean, you know things are getting out of hand when even Baker gets a rushing TD.

Points, points and more points. If you only watched the final two minutes of this game, then you still saw enough to call this the best game of the year. Over the final two minutes, the two teams combined for 20 points with the Ravens scoring 13 of them via a touchdown, a two-point conversion, a field goal and a safety. The Browns also scored a touchdown. This was the most points scored in the final two minutes of a game since 2013, when the Ravens and Vikings somehow combined for 28. The 20 points brought the game total up to 89, which made it the highest scoring game of the 2020 season and the third-highest in the history of Monday Night Football.

Baltimore Ravens snap count analysis: Mark Ingram’s one play of action raises questions - Aaron Kasinitz

Campbell’s uptick in action

Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell missed every practice last week and entered Monday as questionable to play because of a calf strain he’s battled for more than a month. Campbell ended up starting and playing 33 snaps, 10 more than he did during a Dec. 8 win over the Cowboys.

And though Campbell’s playing time did not up to its peak from earlier in the season, an increase in action still offers an encouraging sign. Campbell, who is asthmatic, also struggled through coronavirus several weeks ago and his absence from the practice field opened cause for concern.

Campbell finished with one assisted tackle against the Browns. It’s OK that he wasn’t dominant; what’s important for the Ravens is that he’s moving back toward full strength as they veer toward the final stretch of the regular season.

NFL Week 14: PFF Team of the Week, key takeaways, player awards and more - Anthony Treash

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

DI Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens

Madubuike entered Baltimore’s Week 14 contest against the Cleveland Browns with just a 60.4 PFF grade, but the third-round pick lit it up on Monday Night Football against the best offensive line in the game.

The first-year interior defender came away with a 90.4 PFF grade on 31 snaps and made an impact against the run and the pass. Madubuike recorded a couple of defensive stops on eight snaps against the run and won on 17.4% of his reps as a pass-rusher.

The rookie saw pass-rushing matchups against both left guard Joel Bitonio and right Wyatt Teller — who each ranked first at their respective position in PFF grade heading into the game — and Madubuike notched multiple pressures against each.

Debrief: AFC playoff picture taking shape down the stretch - Gregg Rosenthal

The playoffs started Monday night. The Ravens’ 47-42 win in Cleveland was the game of the year and a reminder to everyone watching in Miami, Las Vegas and the rest of the AFC that Lamar Demeatrice Jackson is not going away quietly.

In the context of this season, the Ravens, now 8-5, needed the game more. It was the team’s third game in 12 days since a COVID-19 outbreak nearly capsized their season and the NFL’s regular season schedule. It was the second game since Jackson returned from a serious bout with the virus that has defined this season, like everything else in American life. I thought about that absence while Jackson missed 11 plays in the fourth quarter with cramps, only to return for a 44-yard touchdown on 4th-and-5 that will remain part of the 2019 MVP’s lore as long as he plays. (Even if he didn’t “pull a Paul Pierce.”)

Baltimore’s path to 11 wins is wide open with the Jaguars, Giants and Bengals next on the docket. They might need to win them all to squeeze into a stacked AFC field and Jackson looks ready to take it from here, no matter how many injuries the Ravens defense suffers.