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NFL: Jackson saves Ravens in wild Monday night game

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.  (AP Photo/Gary Landers, File)

 

By TOM WITHERS  AP Sports Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) — Lamar Jackson emerged from the locker room, saved the game and maybe Baltimore’s season.

Back on the field after being sidelined by cramps, Jackson threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown and then set up Justin Tucker’s 55-yard field goal with two seconds left, helping the Ravens to a wild 47-42 win over the Cleveland Browns that helped them stay in the playoff picture.

A Monday night game dripping with playoff intensity delivered with endless drama and stunning twists.

Tucker, who made 70 straight field goals inside 40 yards before he missed last week, had plenty of distance on his kick to give the Ravens (8-5) a much-needed win.

It was a gut punch for the Browns (9-4), who had rallied from a 14-point deficit to take the lead while Jackson was out.

The Browns had one last chance after Tucker’s kick, but a series of laterals on the final play ended with a safety that affected gamblers all over the country. The Ravens were favored by three on the opening line.

The NFL’s top two rushing teams combined for nine rushing touchdowns, tying a league record set in 1922.

Jackson rushed for two touchdowns while rescuing his teammates, who have overcome a COVID-19 outbreak and numerous scheduled changes so far in 2020.

With the Ravens down 42-35, Jackson returned from the locker after backup quarterback Trace McSorley suffered a leg injury when he slipped on a slick FirstEnergy Stadium field that was tough for players to cut on all night.

On fourth-and-5, Jackson calmly rolled to his right and found a wide-open Brown in the middle of the field and he easily outran Cleveland’s defenders for the TD.

But Baker Mayfield wasn’t going to be denied. He drove the Browns 75 yards, hitting running back Kareem Hunt for a 22-yard TD pass with 1:04 left.

Jackson then showed why he’s a superstar.

The reigning NFL MVP completed two straight passes to tight end Mark Andrews for 28 yards and moved the Ravens in range for Tucker, one of the most accurate kickers in league history.

Mayfield had shaken off a costly interception and brought the Browns back, scrambling from the pocket a la Jackson and scoring on a run with 6:33 left.

Cleveland looked like a different team — like a playoff team.

Jackson was playing in his second game since returning from the COVID-19 list. Before he left late in the third quarter with the Ravens leading 34-20, he had rushed for 124 yards and two TDs.

CORNER CONCERNS

Injured Browns cornerback Greedy Williams revealed on Twitter that he’s been dealing with axillary nerve damage in his shoulder since getting hurt in training camp. He hasn’t played this season.

Cleveland was counting on Williams to handle the starting cornerback spot opposite Denzel Ward, who missed his third straight game with a calf injury.

INJURIES

Ravens: CB Jimmy Smith left in the second half with a shoulder injury. … CB Marcus Peters left with a calf injury in the fourth quarter.

Browns: Defensive star Myles Garrett missed one play in the first half with an elbow injury. … Rookie LT Jedrick Wills went off briefly in the third quarter with a leg injury, but came back.

UP NEXT

Ravens: Host the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12) on Dec. 20.

Browns: Make the first of two straight weekend visits to the New York area and play the Giants on Dec. 20. Cleveland visits the unbeaten Jets on Dec. 27.

___

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