Ravens fend off Browns rally to win AFC North over Steelers

The Baltimore Ravens have won the AFC North after fending off a late rally from Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland had a chance to win the game after taking possession in the final two minutes, but a late C.J. Mosley interception of Mayfield sealed the 26-24 win and the AFC North for the Ravens. 

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Ravens’ win is Steelers’ loss

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied from a 10-3 deficit for a 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and later watched their slim playoff hopes disappear when the Indianapolis Colts beat the Tennessee Titans Sunday night.

Baltimore looked to be in firm control for much of the afternoon, but the second-half rally from the Steelers led to late drama in both Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens are headed to the playoffs. (Getty)

Letdown in Steel City

Steelers players remained on the field and fans stayed in the stands following the win over Cincinnati to watch the end of the Ravens-Browns game on the big screen in the end zone at Heinz Field.

Cleveland got back in the game after trailing 24-13 in the third quarter after forcing a late Baltimore three-and-out and taking over the ball at their own 26-yard line with 1:49 remaining. A touchdown pass from Mayfield to Antonio Callaway on the previous possession had cut the deficit to 26-24.

The Browns drove 35 yards and approached field goal range, but the drive faltered when Mayfield’s fourth-down pass from the Baltimore 39-yard line landed in the hands of Mosley instead of his intended target Duke Johnson.

Officiating controversy

The game was not without controversy, as a miscue from the officials cost Cleveland what looked like a sure touchdown late in the second quarter.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson leapt toward the end zone on a sneak from inside the 1-yard line as Baltimore led 20-7 with 1:53 remaining in the half.

Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi knocked the ball loose, and safety Jabril Peppers recovered it with a clear path to the end zone. But officials ruled the play a touchdown and blew it dead.

Replay showed that Jackson never crossed the goal line with the football and changed the call to a fumble. The Browns took over possession, but did not get what would have been an almost certain touchdown had officials ruled the play correctly on the field.

Cleveland went three-and-out on its ensuing possession, but did end up scoring a touchdown before the end of the half.

Ravens save season behind Lamar Jackson

The win for the Ravens caps a 6-1 run to end the season after Jackson replaced Joe Flacco at quarterback. Jackson’s play was pivotal again on Sunday, as he tallied 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground while throwing for 179 yards without a passing touchdown or an interception.

Baltimore will face the Los Angeles Chargers in the wild card round next weekend.

Mayfield sets record

Mayfield ended his outstanding rookie campaign with a mixed performance that saw him throw for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

His late pass to Callaway was his 27th on the season set a new rookie record for passing touchdowns, passing Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.

Lots of questions in Pittsburgh

For the Steelers, their season ends in bitter disappointment. They looked in control of the division, but matched Baltimore’s late-season surge with a 2-4 run to end their season, including losses to the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos.

The disappointing outcome will lead to a lot of offseason questions about how to move forward in Pittsburgh.

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