EditorsNote: Removes duplicate ‘Lamar’ Jackson, adds Justin Tucker 1st name, adds detail to PBP, corrects typo in Harbaugh quote
The visiting Los Angeles Chargers sacked Lamar Jackson seven times and held on for 23-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC wild-card game on Sunday.
Mike Badgley kicked five field goals, Melvin Ingram had two sacks and Melvin Gordon scored the Chargers’ touchdown. Philip Rivers was 22 of 32 for 160 yards.
The Chargers led 23-3 before the Ravens scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and took possession of the ball with chance to take the lead in the closing minute.
Baltimore got the ball at its 34-yard line with 45 seconds left after a punt, but Uchenna Nwosu knocked the ball out of Jackson’s hand on the third play of the drive and with the Ravens near midfield, and Ingram recovered with 28 seconds left to seal the game.
In avenging their Week 16 loss to the Ravens, the Chargers advance to the AFC divisional round of the playoffs, and will travel to second-seeded New England for a game next Sunday.
Jackson, who turns 22 on Monday, became the youngest quarterback ever to start in the playoffs. He was held in check for the first three-and-a-half quarters and was booed at one point by fans wanting to see former starter Joe Flacco enter the game.
He finished the game 14 of 29 for 194 yards — most of them in the fourth quarter — with two touchdowns and an interception.
“Just come out and play assignment football, play our game,” Ingram told CBS of the Chargers’ plan to contain Jackson in the rematch. “We can’t get out of whack, we just gotta come out and play together.”
Jackson found Michael Crabtree for a 31-yard touchdown to pull Baltimore within 23-10 with 6:33 remaining, but Los Angeles recovered the ensuing onside kick.
After a punt, Jackson quickly led the Ravens downfield and found Crabtree again, this time for 7-yard score just before the two-minute warning.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Gordon took a handoff on third-and-goal from the Ravens’ 1 but lost the ball as he hit the ground. Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey scooped up the ball and rank it all the way back for what he thought was a Ravens touchdown.
Officials initially ruled it a touchdown, however, with Gordon down by contact before losing the ball. After review, Gordon was ruled down inside the 1 — taking the Chargers’ score off the board but allowing Los Angeles to retain possession. Gordon scored on the next play, fourth-and-goal, and Rivers threw to Michael Williams for the two-point conversion to make it 20-3. Five minutes later, Badgley added a field goal to make it 23-3 with 9:09 to play.
The Gordon touchdown came after the Ravens’ offense failed to take advantage of a big play on special teams. After a field goal finally got Baltimore on the board, the Ravens held the Chargers to a three-and-out and then partially blocked the punt. That allowed Baltimore to start at the Los Angeles 40, but kicker Justin Tucker missed from 50 yards with four-and-a-half minutes left in the third and the Chargers maintained their 12-3 lead at the time.
Baltimore was outgained 129-69 in the first half, turned the ball over twice and did not cross midfield.
The Chargers recovered a Kenneth Dixon fumble at the Ravens’ 15 but couldn’t punch it in and settled for Badgley’s 21-yard field goal with 6:59 left in the first quarter.
Badgley made it 6-0 with a 53-yarder on the Chargers’ next drive.
An interception led to Badgley’s third field goal and the Chargers took a 12-0 lead when he hit from 34 yards out on the final play of the half.
Baltimore broke through in the third after a Virgil Green fumble, when Tucker’s 33-yard field goal made it 12-3 with 8:30 left in the third.
Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce left in the first half with an elbow injury.
With the road win in the bag, Rivers is looking forward to playing the Patriots.
“Gosh, we know the run they’ve had, it seems like forever that they’re always in these games and games beyond,” Rivers said. “We find so many different ways to win. The defense was unbelievable today. We couldn’t get in the end zone — we finally did. ...
“This team, we’re going to fly back home, then we’re going to fly back out here for another 10 a.m. West Coast kick. We really don’t care ... we’ll be there next Sunday.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Baltimore was undone by turnovers but was still proud of the way his team continued to battle to the very end.
“Just proud of the whole team, really,” Harbaugh said in his post-game press conference. “I think the way they played the game today is indicative, encapsulated in one game, of how they played all season.
“We were the best team that we could be, and we move on from there.”
—Field Level Media