Ravens clinch a playoff spot with Week 16 close-out win against the Falcons

Ravens. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Ravens. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens moved to 10-5 with a crucial Week 16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Christmas Eve. As with their last three wins, it wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done.

John Harbaugh now has nine 10-win seasons in 15 years at the helm, and the Ravens have punched a ticket to the postseason after the Cincinnati Bengals won their matchup against the New England Patriots.

The usual suspects impressed in an expected gritty matchup: J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards combined for 158 yards on the ground, the defense didn’t allow a single touchdown all game, and quarterback Tyler Huntley made some big-boy throws to sustain crucial drives.

The game featured some unusual events, including yet another blocked Justin Tucker field goal. In brighter news, however, the Ravens finally — FINALLY — saw a wide receiver score a touchdown.

Demarcus Robinson caught a short pass from Tyler Huntley in the second quarter, marking the first touchdown catch by a Ravens wideout since Week 3. It truly is an early Christmas miracle.

Ravens take care of business against the Falcons in Week 16

On the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens balled out again. Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith are making out to be the biggest playmakers in the defense as the powerful linebacker duo led the team with 24 total tackles, and Queen also recorded 0.5 sacks and two quarterback hits to stop Falcons QB Desmond Ridder in his tracks.

The two of them made a dominant goal-line stand halfway through the fourth quarter to prevent Ridder from running into the red zone, and the Falcons had to settle for a field goal.

Fans can be happier with Greg Roman’s play-calling as the Ravens ran the ball much more in Week 16. The score likely played a factor in a run-heavy script since Baltimore was leading for the entire game, and while there were a few questionable calls in which Huntley, instead of Dobbins or Edwards, ran with the ball, the Ravens got the win by gashing Atlanta on the ground.

So what next? The Ravens have officially clinched a playoff berth, but the AFC North title race is still up in the air. Cincinnati’s win means the Bengals are still on top of division, but the Ravens still control their own fate. Week 18’s rivalry game looks more and more like the division-deciding matchup which will hopefully feature a healthy Lamar Jackson.

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After Week 16, Baltimore is going to the playoffs, and that’s a wonderful Christmas present indeed.