By Joe Schiller
It wasn't pretty, but it doesn't need to be this time of year.
On 4th-and-8, Marcus Peters deflected Josh Allen's pass intended for John Brown, and Wink Martindale's defense came up big like they did all Sunday afternoon.
Justin Tucker's 36-yard field goal gave the Ravens a 3-0 lead in the first quarter before Jackson found Nick Boyle on a 3-yard touchdown pass. It was an unconvential toss by Jackson making something out of nothing, and it worked to extend Baltimore's lead 10-0 with 13:31 left in the second quarter.
Martindale's defense swarmed Allen, racking up six sacks and 12 quarterback hits. The second-year quarterback finished 17-of-39 for 146 yards and one touchdown, and saw the majority of his success in the second half. He overthrew a number of his wide receivers and the Bills were forced to settle for Stephen Hauschka field goals from 36 and 47 yards as the Ravens took a 10-6 halftime lead.
Most of the attention has gone to Mark Andrews as the team's leading receiver, but in his abcense, Hayden Hurst stepped up big. The former first-round pick caught a pass down the middle of the field, and raced to the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown. It was Hurst's longest touchdown of his young career, and it gave the Ravens a 17-6 lead early in the third quarter.
Hasuschka added a 48-yard field goal on the ensuing drive to bring the Bills within one score. The two teams then traded punts on six straight drives in a defense battle. That's until Jackson found Willie Snead IV on a 4-yard touchdown pass, but the game was far from over.
Big plays from Dawson Knox and Devin Singletary set up 3-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Cole Beasley with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. The two connected on the two-point conversion to bring the Bills within one score 24-17.
Baltimore can clinch the AFC North with a Steelers' loss today, but they'll be playing in January no matter this year.