Chiefs Survive Scare by Ravens to Win in Overtime

The Baltimore Ravens had a plan. They would disguise defensive coverages to slow down Patrick Mahomes, and they would grind things out with the running game on offense. The goal was to slow things down, and to keep the ball out of Mahomes’s hands.

The plan very nearly worked.

But Mahomes, in a season that could easily garner him the N.F.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award, showed he can survive a battle in the trenches and the Chiefs survived at home, beating the Ravens, 27-24, in overtime.

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That the game was so close proved that Baltimore’s throwback style is something to be reckoned with. The Ravens, with a rushing attack led by quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Gus Edwards, gained 198 yards on the ground, just barely missing a fourth consecutive game of 200 or more. Their defense had three sacks, an interception, and hit Mahomes 15 times. And there was a stretch in the third quarter when the Chiefs offense simply disappeared thanks to two long drives by Baltimore and an interception by Chuck Clark.

“We’re a strong team, we can fight with anybody,” Jackson said at his postgame news conference, pointing out that no one had expected them to win against the top team in the A.F.C.

But Brandon Carr, a cornerback in the team’s standout secondary, was not ready to celebrate.

“I’m not into moral victories,” he told reporters. “We have to find a way to come away with these games.”

In overtime, with the Chiefs already having scored a field goal, the tenuous nature of Baltimore’s unusual style showed itself. Jackson, who runs so often from the quarterback position that even Michael Vick has expressed concerns, had to leave the game with an ankle injury, and his backup, Robert Griffin III, proved incapable of leading the Ravens to victory, throwing two incomplete passes to end the game.

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The disappointing end spoiled what had been a tremendous effort on the road from a team that has been reborn since an injury to Joe Flacco paved the way for Jackson, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and the final pick of the first round in this year’s draft, to start.

The Ravens had taken a lead on Jackson’s 9-yard touchdown pass to John Brown with 4:04 remaining. It was one of his more impressive throws on a day where he seemed much improved as a passer. He completed 13 of 14 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, for a passer rating of 100.5.

But Mahomes, as he has done repeatedly in his breakout season, simply willed his team into the end zone. Kansas City went 75 yards on 11 plays, with Mahomes throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams to tie the game at 24-24.

The final two drives of regulation ended poorly for both teams, with Justin Houston taking the ball away from Baltimore with a strip-sack fumble of Jackson, and Harrison Butker, Kansas City’s normally reliable place-kicker, missing a potential game-winning field goal from 43 yards out as time expired.

Given the ball first in overtime, Mahomes was not at his best, but took the team 58 yards on 11 plays, surviving a fumble and having his team take a lead when Butker connected on a field goal from 35 yards out. That gave Baltimore one more chance to tie or win, but on a 2nd-and-18 play from Baltimore’s 45-yard line, Jackson was sacked by Houston and Dee Ford and had to be removed from the game to have his ankle taped.

That left Griffin, Baltimore’s third-string quarterback, to try to win it, and the former first-round pick was not up to the task.

Social media exploded with concern about Jackson’s health, and a few false reports indicated that it was a serious situation, but both Coach John Harbaugh and Jackson told reporters that the situation was not serious.

“They just wanted to see what happened, but I’m good,” Jackson said.

Kansas City improved to 11-2, clinching a playoff spot and gaining ground on the New England Patriots for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Ravens saw their three-game winning streak end and had their record drop to 7-6, putting them in a pack of teams all trying for the A.F.C.’s two wild-card spots.

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