Lamar Jackson leads Ravens to first postseason berth since 2014

BALTIMORE -- Lamar Jackson helped the Baltimore Ravens end a three-year playoff drought and clinch the franchise's first AFC North title since 2012, and he put himself in elite company by doing so.

In Sunday's 26-24 win over the Cleveland Browns, Jackson's two touchdown runs helped secure the AFC's No. 4 seed and finished off one of the more successful rookie seasons for a quarterback in recent history.

Jackson became the first rookie quarterback to win the AFC North since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. He also became just the fifth rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win six of his team's final seven games, joining Roethlisberger, Vince Young (2006), Robert Griffin III (2012) and Russell Wilson (2012), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Ravens (10-6) will play host to the Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) in the wild-card round next weekend. This will be a rematch of Baltimore's 22-10 win over the Chargers on Dec. 22.

The Ravens had to sweat out their first division title since their last Super Bowl season. With the Steelers having won, Baltimore knew it had to win to get in the playoffs. After the Browns moved into Ravens territory, linebacker C.J. Mosley picked off Baker Mayfield with 1:02 remaining to help Baltimore avoid a collapse in the finale for the second straight season.

Baltimore enters the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, thanks to the electric running of Jackson and the NFL's No. 1 defense. Jackson ran for 90 yards, including touchdown runs of 25 and 8 yards. The Baltimore defense produced three interceptions and delivered the critical fourth-down stand.

A championship run seemed like a pipe dream in early November, when Baltimore reached the bye week with a 4-5 record, a three-game losing streak and an injured starting quarterback in Joe Flacco (hip). Jackson, the last of the five quarterbacks drafted in this year's first round, took charge of an unconventional option running game that has confused and dominated defenses up front.

While Jackson remains a work in progress as a passer, it's difficult to argue with his success. He has gone 6-1 as a starter, his only loss coming in overtime at the Kansas City Chiefs, the top seed in the AFC.

As soon as the final whistle sounded, the Ravens rushed the field in celebration and coach John Harbaugh took a lap at the bottom of the stadium bowl to slap hands with fans.