Ravens clinch playoff spot with 38-3 rout of Bengals

NFL Cincinnati

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) grabs his leg after making a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens used a club-record 404 yards rushing Sunday to clinch a playoff spot, beating Cincinnati 38-3 as Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and became the first NFL quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in two consecutive seasons.

The Ravens rolled up 525 total yards, and the 404 rushing yards were the most surrendered by a Bengals defense. Rookie J.K. Dobbins rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard scoring romp in the third quarter.

Baltimore won its fifth straight game and advanced to the postseason for a third consecutive season.

Jackson rushed for 97 yards and threw for 113 before taking a seat in the third quarter. He has run or passed for at least one touchdown in 36 straight starts, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Another Ravens playoff appearance didn’t look likely just a few weeks ago. They started 5-1 but slumped amid a COVID-19 outbreak and injuries to key players. They rebounded to win four straight and put themselves in a position to secure the postseason spot heading into the season finale against Cincinnati (4-11-1) which had won two straight.

Baltimore (11-5) scored on its first two drives, a 34-yard Justin Tucker field goal followed by a 43-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Miles Boykin. The Ravens extended the lead to 17-0 when Jackson capped a clock-eating 93-yard drive with an 18-yard TD pass to Marquise Brown.

Austin Seibert booted a 38-yard field goal to get the Bengals their only points of the afternoon.

Dobbins scored on a 4-yard burst in the third quarter, set up by rushes of 18, 6 and 20 yards by Jackson. Jackson threw another scoring pass to Brown before departing for a rest, and Dobbins broke for the long run before Baltimore backed off.

Cincinnati quarterback Brandon Allen, who threw for 371 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Texans last week, was just 6 for 21 for 48 yards with two interceptions.

KOCH RECORD FALLS

Baltimore punter Sam Koch was forced to end his franchise-record streak of 239 consecutive games played when he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He hadn’t missed a game in his 15-year NFL career. The Ravens signed Johnny Townsend, who was with them for a short time in training camp, to punt and hold Sunday.

GREEN’S LAST GAME IN STRIPES?

Veteran wide receiver A.J. Green may have played his last game as a Bengal. The former Pro Bowler made 18 million this year under the franchise tag, hoping to earn a long-term contract, but had the worst statistical year of his 10-year career. The team must decide whether to offer him a new deal.

INJURIES

Ravens: None reported.

Bengals: WR Tee Higgins suffered a hamstring injury in the first quarter and was ruled out. C Trey Hopkins suffered a left knee injury in the second half and was declared out.

UP NEXT

The Ravens advance to the playoffs for the third straight year. The Bengals end another disappointing year and extend their playoff drought to five seasons.

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