Ravens stop Chargers 22-10, close in on playoffs

Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson had the longest touchdown throw of his brief career, part of his 204-yard passing effort, and the visiting Ravens strengthened their chances of clinching a playoff spot with a 22-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night.

Baltimore (9-6) — which has won five of its past six with Jackson as the starter — dominated for most of the night. But the Ravens trailed 10-6 early in the third quarter until Jackson completed a 68-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews.

Justin Tucker’s third field goal extended the lead to six and Baltimore put it away late in the fourth quarter when Patrick Onwuaso forced Antonio Gates’ fumble and Tavon Young returned it 62 yards for a score.

Jackson, who was the 32nd overall pick in April, completed 12 of 22 throws in his first 200-yard passing game. He had come into the game averaging 146.2 yards in the previous five games. Gus Edwards had 92 yards on 14 carries, and Jackson had 39 yards on 13 carries.

The Ravens’ defense, which came into the game as the top-ranked unit in the NFL, frustrated the Chargers most of the night. Philip Rivers — who was 23 of 37 for 181 yards — was sacked four times, threw an interception and didn’t have a touchdown pass for the first time this season.

Melvin Gordon, who missed the previous three games because of a knee injury, had 12 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. Los Angeles (11-4) has clinched a playoff spot, but its hopes of winning the AFC West suffered a major blow. Kansas City can wrap up the division with a win on Sunday in Seattle.

Baltimore led 6-3 at halftime but the Chargers took the lead less than two minutes into the third quarter on Gordon’s touchdown from a yard out. The Ravens got the ball to start the second half but Chargers rookie safety Derwin James forced Kenneth Dixon’s fumble, which was recovered by Melvin Ingram at the Ravens 21 and returned 3 yards.

The Ravens responded on the ensuing possession when Andrews split safeties Adrian Phillips and Jahleel Addae, taking Jackson’s pass 68 yards. They made it 16-10 on their next possession on a 56-yard field goal by Tucker — his league-leading 38th of 50-plus yards.

Titans 25, Washington 16: Former 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to MyCole Pruitt with 4:30 left and host Tennessee (9-6) kept its playoff hopes alive by rallying to beat Washington (7-8).

Gabbert came off the bench for the third time this season after Marcus Mariota left the game late in the first half because of a stinger. Gabbert hit Taywan Taylor for 35 yards to jump-start the winning drive, Derrick Henry ran four times for 33 yards, his last an 18-yarder to the 2. Gabbert then hit Pruitt at the back of the end zone.

The Titans now must beat Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts and have either Baltimore or Pittsburgh lose once to earn the AFC’s second wild-card spot.

Adrian Peterson ran for 119 yards for Washington. That put him over 1,000 yards for the season for the first time since 2015 and made him the 12th player in NFL history with eight or more seasons with 1,000 yards rushing.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Ravens-stop-Chargers-22-10-close-in-on-playoffs-13487008.php.

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