Ravens overcome Lamar Jackson's four interceptions to beat Browns, move into slot for AFC's No. 1 seed

BALTIMORE – A week after illness sidelined him and forced his team to turn to backup Tyler Huntley in a win over the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson returned to action Sunday night in a highly-anticipated matchup with the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium.

But despite “feeling great,” as he described himself in the days leading up to the game, Jackson endured one of his worst passing outings of his career, throwing four interceptions and just one touchdown.

However, a ferocious defense and kicker Justin Tucker proved to be Baltimore’s saving grace in a 16-10 victory — the Ravens’ eighth of the season, which puts them atop the heap both in their division and in the AFC as a whole.

“Four interceptions in one game, that’s ridiculous,” Jackson said in a postgame television interview. “I have to step it up. Hats off to my defense, though. They played lights-out.”

That Baltimore defense harassed Baker Mayfield often, holding him below a completion percentage of 50% (18-of-37), and neutralized the Browns’ dynamic 1-2 rushing punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who combined for just 36 rushing yards in Hunt’s first game back after a five-game absence.

Cleveland fell to 6-6 and slid down further in the hunt for a wild-card bid.

MORE:32 things we learned from Week 12 of 2021 NFL season

Ravens overcome Lamar Jackson's four interceptions to beat Browns, move into slot for AFC's No. 1 seed

Jackson’s worst stretch of the game came in the final 2:40 of the second quarter, when he threw three interceptions. Fortunately for the quarterback and his team, the Browns proved just as inept and couldn’t manufacture any points from the takeaways.

Jackson returned to start the third quarter by orchestrating a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive that he capped with a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews (Baltimore’s only touchdown of the night). Mayfield responded with a touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku, but there, the Ravens used their defense and a grind-it-out rushing attack to keep the Browns at bay.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.

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