Ravens enhance playoff chances at Jaguars' expense
BALTIMORE (AP) Approaching the final two weeks of the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens have no interest in exploring potential playoff scenarios or hypothetical situations.
''We have to win out,'' rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley said. ''Everybody talks about who has to win and who has to lose, but we have to win the next two games to give ourselves a chance.''
The Ravens are in this position because they survived a shaky performance Sunday in a 20-12 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Baltimore (9-5) came in as a two-touchdown favorite against the Jaguars (2-12), but trailed at halftime and didn't clinch the victory until Blake Bortles threw an interception in the final minute.
''Obviously, it didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked, but that's the way it is,'' said tight end Owen Daniels, who scored Baltimore's lone offensive touchdown. ''They pulled out all the stops and we did just enough to win.''
It was hardly an artistic success, but the Ravens were happy to take another awkward step toward a potential playoff berth. They remain a half-game out of first place in the AFC North and are tied with Pittsburgh for one of the conference's two wild-card slots.
''There are things we need to clean up, get better at,'' wide receiver Steve Smith said. ''But you can't upset yourself over that, especially with a win.''
The Jaguars played well on defense, but Bortles was sacked eight times. Jacksonville never reached the end zone and was held scoreless after halftime.
''It was frustrating,'' Jaguars running back Tony Gerhart said. ''We moved the ball well in the first half and crossed the 50, but then had to settle for field goals. Against a good team like that, if you score a couple touchdowns there, you put them in a bind.''
Some things to know about Ravens-Jaguars game:
DAS BOOT: Bortles shuffled into his postgame press conference with a walking boot on his right foot. He sprained the foot during the game, but the injury wasn't serious enough for him to yield to backup Chad Henne.
With the Jaguars on a short week before hosting the injury-depleted Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, there might be some concern that Bortles might not be fit enough to play.
He dismissed the notion.
''It's fine,'' Bortles insisted. ''Just being precautionary. Look forward to getting back (home) tonight and getting back after it.''
BIG BLOCK: The Ravens' block of Jacksonville's first punt gave them the early lead and set the tone for the day.
After Darian Stewart blasted up the middle and blocked Bryan Anger's kick, Kamar Aiken picked the ball up at the 11 and carried it in.
''It was a call just for me and (Anthony) Levine, and whichever one of us get there first, it was just, make the play,'' Stewart said.
After the block, Aiken had it easy.
''When I saw Stew pop open, I was just like `He's going to get this one,''' Aiken said. ''And when he got it, and I'm thinking, `This is a layup.'''
MORAL OF THE STORY: A week after letting a 13-10 halftime lead slip away at home against Houston, the Jaguars couldn't hold on to a 12-10 advantage at intermission against Baltimore.
Jacksonville made things difficult for the Ravens, but coming close wasn't good enough.
''I told our team we're not into moral victories,'' coach Gus Bradley said. ''We're into victories. That's what we're after, and we've got to figure this out.''
ROOKIE STEPS UP: Starting for the second week in a row in place of suspended defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Ravens rookie Timmy Jernigan helped make Bortles' life miserable with two sacks.
''We were doing some things in there, some stunting. I was able to beat my guy a couple of times up the gut and make the play,'' said Jernigan, a second-round draft pick from Florida State.
Jernigan said he tried to emulate teammates Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs.
''When you see Elvis Dumervil setting records and Terrell Suggs making sacks all over the place, it makes you want to elevate your game to the next level.'' he said.
HELLO AGAIN: Ravens running back Justin Forsett ran for 48 yards on 16 carries against the team he played for last season.
Forsett said there was plenty of banter between himself and his former friends - all of it good.
''It was all encouragement,'' he said. ''It was all love.''
Forsett has 1,128 yards on the ground this season. He had 31 yards on six carries with Jacksonville in 2013.
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