Ravens escape Bills to clinch playoff berth

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Lamar Jackson didn’t break Michael Vick’s record, but the Baltimore Ravens were able to earn something that required them to fight until the final minute.

Jackson threw three touchdown passes and the Ravens’ defense delivered a fourth-down stand in the fourth quarter to help the Ravens slip past the Buffalo Bills 24-17 and clinch a second straight playoff berth. Off to their best start in franchise history, the Ravens (11-2) can secure their second consecutive AFC North title if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

After watching a double-digit fourth-quarter lead nearly get away from them, the Ravens couldn’t celebrate until cornerback Marcus Peters deflected a fourth-down red zone pass from Josh Allen with 1 minute, 3 seconds remaining.

With top target Mark Andrews (knee) injured and Jackson getting bottled up in the running game, the quarterback had to scratch out his ninth straight win with his arm, hitting Nick Boyle (3 yards), Hayden Hurst (61 yards) and Willie Snead IV (4 yards) for touchdown passes at a windy New Era Field.

Jackson became the second quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing, but he was held to 40 yards, the second fewest of the season. He’s still 23 yards short of Vick’s single-season rushing record for a quarterback.

The Ravens’ defense had held the Bills out of the end zone for the first three quarters, when Baltimore extended its lead to 24-9. But the Bills marched to the Ravens’ 16-yard line with the help of three Baltimore penalties before Peters made the timely pass breakup.

This marked the earliest that the Ravens have clinched a postseason berth.

Baltimore remains the top seed in the AFC with three games remaining. The Ravens have a quick turnaround, hosting the New York Jets on Thursday night.

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