Beware a good team that is desperate for a win.
The Ravens are a good team that has to win the rest of its games to make the playoffs and they beat (and beat up) a very good Chargers team that's already in the playoffs 22-10 on Saturday night at StubHub Center.
Baltimore came in with the NFL's top-ranked defense and it made an impact on the first play of the game. Philip Rivers went deep to Mike Williams down the right sideline but underthrew it just a bit and Brandon Carr picked it off.
The Chargers defense was nearly as good as the Ravens in the first half. They held Baltimore to a field goal after the turnover and only allowed one other field goal before halftime in what was a true defensive struggle.
The Bolts didn't even cross the 50-yard line until there were less than two minutes to play and only avoided a first half shutout when a pair of penalties on Eastlake High School alum Tony Jefferson brought them close enough for a 38-yard field goal that made it 6-3 at the break.
The 3rd quarter started like the 1st quarter did except this time Baltimore turned it over. On the first play from scrimmage running back Kenneth Dixon fumbled and Melvin Ingram jumped on it at the Ravens 17-yard line. Three plays later Melvin Gordon ran in for a touchdown and a 10-6 Chargers lead.
it didn't last long.
On Baltimore's next possession rookie QB Lamar Jackson threw a pretty pass to tight end Mark Andrews for a 68-yard TD and a 13-10 Ravens lead. Justin Tucker added a 56-yard field goal to make it 16-10 and then the Baltimore defensive front took over.
Rivers was sacked three times in their next three possessions, including one by linebacker Za'Darius Smith for 11 yards that moved the Chargers out of field goal range late in the 4th quarter. The Bolts offensive line had all kinds of trouble slowing down the Ravens pass rush.
The game ended when tight end Antonio Gates fumbled and Ravens defensive back Tavon Young ran it back 62 yards for a touchdown.
The Ravens move to 9-6 and, for the moment, pass the Steelers for 1st place in the AFC North. The Chargers fall a half game back of the Chiefs, who only have to win one of their last two games to clinch the AFC West title and the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs.