Jan 9, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws from the pocket  during the second  quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers nip Ravens in OT, keep playoff hopes alive

Chris Boswell booted a 36-yard field goal with 1:56 remaining in overtime to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 16-13 victory over the host Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon.

The victory, combined with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ upset of the Indianapolis Colts, keeps the Steelers (9-7-1) alive in the AFC postseason race. Pittsburgh will claim the No. 7 postseason spot as long as the Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders don’t play to a tie on Sunday night.

Baltimore (8-9) was eliminated with the loss, which was its sixth straight setback.

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger completed 30 of 44 passes for 244 yards, one touchdown and one interception in what could have been his final regular-season appearance. Chase Claypool caught the scoring pass.

In the overtime, Roethlisberger completed third-down throws to Pat Freiermuth (14 yards) and Diontae Johnson (11) and a key 10-yard, fourth-down toss to Ray-Ray McCloud to help set up Boswell’s decisive kick.

Steelers star T.J. Watt had one sack to match the NFL record of 22.5 set by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants in 2001.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (ankle) missed his fourth consecutive game. Tyler Huntley filled in and completed 16 of 31 passes for 141 yards and two interceptions.

Latavius Murray rushed for a season-high 150 yards on 16 carries and scored Baltimore’s lone touchdown.

Baltimore outgained the Steelers 381 yards to 314.

Pittsburgh drove 50 yards on 10 plays to move ahead 13-10 with 2:54 remaining in regulation. Roethlisberger completed third-down passes of 20 yards to McCloud and 11 to Freiermuth to keep the drive alive prior to a 6-yard scoring pass to Claypool.

However, Baltimore answered by moving 40 yards on seven plays to set up Justin Tucker’s 46-yard field goal to tie it at 13 with 1:13 remaining.

Earlier, Murray broke free up the middle on a 46-yard touchdown run to give the Ravens a 10-3 lead with 12:32 left in the third quarter. Boswell kicked a 40-yard field goal with 7:41 left to move Pittsburgh within four.

Later in the period, Murray gained 22 and 27 yards on back-to-back rushes to help Baltimore reach the Steelers’ 12-yard line. But on the first play of the fourth quarter, Cameron Sutton intercepted Huntley in the end zone to keep Pittsburgh down 10-6.

Pittsburgh struck first on Boswell’s 28-yard field goal with 6:06 left in the opening quarter.

The Ravens tied the score on Tucker’s 24-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the half. Watt recorded his record-tying sack 12 seconds earlier.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) warms up prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens QB Tyler Huntley to start vs. Steelers

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley will start Sunday’s regular-season finale against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers, coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

Huntley will get the nod in place of former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who will miss his fourth straight game with a right ankle injury.

“That’s the way we’ll go,” Harbaugh said without offering an injury update.

Huntley, 23, has thrown for 940 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in parts of six games this season.

He has rushed for 222 yards and two scores for the Ravens (8-8), who will need to defeat the Steelers (8-7-1) and have the Los Angeles Chargers, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins lose their respective season finales in order to qualify for the playoffs.

The Chargers visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, while the Colts visit the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dolphins host the New England Patriots.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard (42) takes on the field prior the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens place FB Patrick Ricard (knee) on IR

The Baltimore Ravens placed Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard on injured reserve Thursday due to his knee injury.

The three-time Pro Bowler saw limited action in last week’s 20-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams after missing the previous three games.

The loss of Ricard is a blow for Baltimore’s pass protection as it enters Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Steelers star linebacker T.J. Watt has 21.5 sacks this season, one shy of the official NFL mark held by Michael Strahan (2001).

Also, tight end Nick Boyle, another solid blocker, was placed on the COVID-19 list on Thursday.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (ankle) sat out practice again Thursday. He has missed the past three games.

Backup Tyler Huntley (illness) was a full practice participant for the second straight day and may be in line to start the pivotal game.

The Steelers (8-7-1) and Ravens (8-8) are on the outside of the AFC playoff race. The winner of the contest will need help from multiple teams to sneak into the postseason field.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws the go-ahead touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens could say goodbye to Big Ben, boot Steelers from playoff picture

Ben Roethlisberger played what is expected to be his final home game last weekend and could be playing for the last time when the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Roethlisberger hasn’t formally announced his retirement but the atmosphere during last Sunday night’s 26-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns foreshadowed finality.

A last date with the Ravens is lining up as his possible career capper as Pittsburgh (8-7-1) needs to win the game and hope for help to crack the AFC postseason field.

The Steelers are ninth in the pecking order for the expanded seven-team field in the AFC. They trail the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders by a half-game.

The Chargers and Raiders meet and the head-to-head benefits Pittsburgh as long there’s no tie. The hard part for the Steelers: the Colts play the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have lost eight straight games and own the league’s worst record at 2-14.

Roethlisberger knows it’s not an ideal situation.

“We got to go out and win this football game,” Roethlisberger said. “We have to focus on us. That’s our number one focus, winning the football game because nothing happens if we don’t. That will be 99.9 percent of our focus. Because we’re human, we’re probably still going to be peeking (at the scoreboard), but we have to win our football game.”

The Ravens (8-8) are alive despite five consecutive losses.

Baltimore needs to beat the Steelers and have the Colts and Chargers lose and the Miami Dolphins lose or tie against the New England Patriots.

“Of course I’ll be looking at the scoreboard,” Ravens defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “I’m going to play my heart out, leave it on the field. Even if we had no chance I was going to do that, because I love the game. The fact that we have a chance just gives me a little bit of hope and we’re going to hang on to it.”

Sunday could be Campbell’s final game. The six-time Pro Bowl selection said he is weighing whether to return for a 15th NFL season or retire.

“It depends on how my body feels,” said Campbell, finishing his second season with the Ravens after stints with the Arizona Cardinals and Jaguars. “Fifteen years was the goal I set for myself when I was young … I still would like to play one more if I have it in me. But it’s hard.”

Whether quarterback Lamar Jackson will be on the field remains unknown. Jackson has missed the past three games with an ankle injury and didn’t practice Wednesday.

Among other Ravens who didn’t practice were cornerback Anthony Averett (ribs, chest) and outside linebacker Odafe Oweh (foot). Quarterback Tyler Huntley (illness) was a full participant and is in line to start if Jackson again sits out.

Pittsburgh placed cornerback Joe Haden on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday. The team also activated six players from the list, including linebackers Joe Schobert and Devin Bush.

Another Steelers linebacker, star T.J. Watt, will be in the spotlight as he has 21.5 sacks, one off the official record set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

The Steelers also figure to dial up Najee Harris’ number a lot this Sunday after the rookie had a career-best 188 rushing yards in the triumph over Cleveland.

Harris rushed for 71 yards on 21 carries in a 20-19 home win over the Ravens on Dec. 5. Since that outing he has topped 90 yards in three of four games.

Roethlisberger threw two touchdowns during Pittsburgh’s 17-point fourth quarter last month. Baltimore scored a touchdown with 12 seconds left but Jackson’s two-point conversion pass for tight end Mark Andrews was incomplete.

Otherwise, the postseason possibilities would look much differently this week and Sunday’s game would mean nothing for the Steelers.

“Obviously, there’s a lot at stake,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “But it doesn’t have to be a lot at stake. It’s Pittsburgh and the Ravens. I think anybody that follows professional sports knows what that means. We’re going into their venue, a hostile environment in a big-time circumstance.

“Our guys will be inspired by that. The Ravens bring out the best in us. They do.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) runs for a gain in the second quarter defended by Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp (24) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Rams beat Ravens, close in on NFC West crown

The Los Angeles Rams moved a step closer to an NFC West title Sunday, overcoming miscues, infighting and a desperate opponent to rally for a 20-19 victory Sunday over the host Baltimore Ravens.

Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. had TD receptions, with Beckham’s go-ahead score coming with 57 seconds remaining as Los Angeles extended its winning streak to five games. The Rams would clinch a third NFC West title in the past five seasons if the Arizona Cardinals lose to the Dallas Cowboys later Sunday.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford was 26-of-35 passing for 309 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two interceptions, one of which was returned for a Ravens touchdown. Stafford also fumbled at the Ravens’ 20-yard line on the Rams’ first possession of the second half.

Kupp had six catches for 95 yards to set the Rams’ franchise record for receiving yards in a season with 1,829. Sony Michel had 74 yards rushing for Los Angeles, including a 1-yard score with 12:09 remaining.

Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley returned from the reserve-COVID list to go 20 of 32 for 197 yards and an interception as Baltimore lost its fifth consecutive game to put its playoff hopes on life support. Lamar Jackson remains out with an ankle injury that occurred in Week 14.

The Rams had a number of early issues starting on the Ravens’ opening drive when defensive backs Jalen Ramsey and Taylor Rapp got into a skirmish in the huddle.

Los Angeles’ first three possessions ended in a Matt Gay missed field goal and two Stafford interceptions, the first of which was returned for a 17-yard touchdown by the Ravens’ Chuck Clark for a 7-0 lead with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter.

The Ravens were looking to add to a 10-0 lead late in the first half when Huntley was intercepted by Jordan Fuller at the Rams’ 37-yard line. His 34-yard return set up Stafford’s 18-yard TD pass to Kupp, pulling the Rams within 10-7 with 55 seconds to go in the half.

The Ravens’ Justin Tucker added a pair of 46-yard field goals, the first with two seconds remaining in the first half and another with 4:42 remaining in the third quarter, for a 16-7 advantage. Tucker was 4 of 4 on field-goal attempts.

The Rams started their game-winning drive with 4:30 remaining and drove 75 yards in 3:33. Beckham grabbed a 5-yard reception on fourth-and-5 with 1:01 to go, followed by a 7-yarder from Stafford for the game-winning TD.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2021; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (2) warms up prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens’ Lamar Jackson inactive, Tyler Huntley to start vs. Rams

Baltimore’s Tyler Huntley will start Sunday’s game against the visiting Los Angeles Rams after the Ravens listed fellow quarterback Lamar Jackson as inactive.

Jackson had been listed as questionable despite sitting out the team’s last two practices this week.

The 2019 NFL MVP had been sidelined since he injured his ankle on Dec. 12 in a 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Huntley came off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday and returned to practice. He started Baltimore’s 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19 before Josh Johnson found himself under center in the Ravens’ 41-21 setback to the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday.

Huntley, 23, has thrown for 743 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in parts of five games this season. He has rushed for 168 yards and two scores for the Ravens (8-7), who aim to snap a four-game losing skid on Sunday against the Rams (11-4).

Wide receivers James Proche II and Miles Boykin, linebackers Pernell McPhee and Odafe Oweh, guard Ben Powers and cornerback Anthony Averett were also listed as inactive for Baltimore.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) is pressured by linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson questionable for Ravens vs. Rams

Lamar Jackson could make his return from injury Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens.

Jackson is listed as questionable on Baltimore’s injury report for the game against the visiting Los Angeles Rams despite sitting out the last two days of practice with an ongoing ankle injury.

Jackson injured the ankle in Week 14, a loss to the Cleveland Browns, and missed the past two games. The 2019 NFL MVP was limited in practice Wednesday before sitting out the following two days.

“I think he’s got a chance to play on Sunday,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters. “We’ll have to see. This time of year … it’s all hands on deck. Guys who are ready to play and can play will.”

If Jackson can’t go, the Ravens will turn to Tyler Huntley to start at quarterback. Huntley started in Week 15 in a 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but COVID-19 forced him to miss last week’s 41-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, when third-stringer Josh Johnson took the reins.

Huntley came off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday and returned to practice.

Jackson, 24, has thrown for 2,882 yards with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games this season. He also has rushed 767 yards and two scores.

Baltimore (8-7) also ruled out two players for the Rams game: cornerback Anthony Averett (ribs, chest) and guard Ben Powers (foot). Other players deemed questionable include receiver Marquise Brown (non-COVID illness), receiver Devin Duvernay (ankle) and fullback Patrick Ricard (knee). Linebacker Odafe Oweh (foot) is doubtful.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Ravens’ Lamar Jackson not spotted at practice

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was not present on Thursday for the portion of the team’s practice that was open to the media.

Jackson’s reported absence comes one day after he was listed as a limited participant due to an ankle injury.

The 2019 NFL MVP had been sidelined since he was injured on Dec. 12 in a 24-22 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Tyler Huntley came off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday and returned to practice. He started Baltimore’s 31-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19 before Josh Johnson found himself under center in the Ravens’ 41-21 setback to the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday.

The Ravens (8-7) aim to snap a four-game losing skid on Sunday against the visiting Los Angeles Rams (11-4).

Jackson, 24, has thrown for 2,882 yards with 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games this season. He also has rushed 767 yards and two scores.

Huntley, 23, has thrown for 743 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in parts of five games this season. He has rushed for 168 yards and two scores.

–Field Level Media

Dec 14, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive guard Patrick Mekari (65) kneels in the end zone before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens OL Patrick Mekari signs three-year extension

Baltimore Ravens versatile offensive lineman Patrick Mekari signed a three-year contract extension through the 2024 season.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the team on Thursday.

Mekari, 24, has played in 11 games this season, including starting the past 10 in which he has appeared. He has played at both center and right guard during his 36 career games (23 starts) since joining the Ravens.

“Pat is an easy decision,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He’s tough and gritty, smart, versatile and a five-position player who does everything the right way.”

The signing of Mekari gives Baltimore flexibility should center Bradley Bozeman depart as a free agent. The Ravens also have tackles Alejandro Villanueva and Ja’Wuan James under contract for next season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) celebrates after scoring on a 29-yard touchdown reception against the Seattle Seahawks in the second half at SoFi Stadium. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 20-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens plot to halt skid against rising Rams

One month removed from a three-game losing streak that seemed to seal their fate as a wild-card team, the Los Angeles Rams are now chasing an NFC West title as they head cross country to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

The Ravens are on the opposite end of what the Rams are going through, losing their grasp on the AFC North lead while on a four-game losing streak and suddenly in a scramble to make the playoffs.

The Rams (11-4) were in an offensive funk behind suddenly inconsistent quarterback Matthew Stafford when they lost consecutive games in November to the Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers.

However, they went 4-0 in December and are coming off a 30-23 victory at Minnesota last week that moved them into sole possession of first place in the NFC West over the Arizona Cardinals.

The offense still isn’t as sharp as it was early in the season under Stafford, who threw three interceptions against the Vikings, but the running game has been better behind Sony Michel, who has averaged 105.8 yards per game over the past four contests.

“It’s not lost on me. The better I play, the better our offense is going to play and the better chance we have to win football games,” Stafford said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and expect a lot out of myself.”

While Rams running back Darrell Henderson (knee) is out this week, Cam Akers is expected to make his 2021 debut after an offseason Achilles injury that was originally expected to cost him his season.

The Rams are getting high-level production from a pair of Pro Bowlers, wide receiver Cooper Kupp and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Kupp leads the NFL in receptions (132), yards (1,734) and receiving touchdowns (14). Donald has 12 sacks and has been the key for a defense that has allowed an average of 15.8 points over the past four games.

The Ravens (8-7) are hoping to get quarterback Lamar Jackson back from an ankle injury that occurred during a Dec. 12 loss to the Cleveland Browns. He was limited in practice Wednesday.

“Obviously, getting No. 8 back is special, because he’s a special player, and I think we’re all excited about that,” tight end Mark Andrews said.

Even if Jackson does return, it remains to be seen if he can lean on rushing ability. His 767 rushing yards lead all quarterbacks.

Perhaps of chief concern, though, is a Baltimore defense that was torched last week for 525 passing yards by the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow, the fourth-highest single-game total in NFL history.

The Ravens’ defense has not only been hit hard by injuries, but it has been diminished by COVID-19 issues as well. Defensive backs Chris Westry and Jimmy Smith did return from the COVID-19 list this week.

Eleven Ravens did not practice Wednesday, including cornerback Anthony Averett (ribs/chest) and safety/linebacker Anthony Levine Sr. (knee). Also out was Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard (knee), who has missed the past three games.

The Rams, who had a walk-through Wednesday, listed only safety Taylor Rapp (shoulder) and defensive lineman Greg Gaines (hand) as non-participants.

–Field Level Media