Lamar Jackson leads Ravens to No. 1 seed, but Mark Ingram hurt

CLEVELAND -- Lamar Jackson rewrote the Baltimore Ravens' record book and set a new course on the NFL postseason map.

For the first time, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC now goes through Baltimore.

Jackson carried the Ravens to the first No. 1 seed in their 24-year existence on Sunday, throwing for three touchdowns and running for 103 yards in a 31-15 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore (13-2), one of three AFC teams that had never previously captured the top spot, now has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

"It is a great accomplishment," coach John Harbaugh said. "It's something that I'm sure people will always take pride in. It's something we'll look back on at some point. But right now, we're looking forward."

Jackson made history of his own, establishing a team record for touchdown passes in a season. He recorded the milestone with his 34th touchdown of the season, which came when he hit uncovered tight end Mark Andrews down the seam for a 39-yard score late in the first half. That ignited a stretch in which Jackson threw touchdown passes on three straight drives.

Jackson surpassed former Ravens QB Vinny Testaverde, who threw 33 touchdown passes in the franchise's inaugural 1996 season. Coincidentally, Jackson recently became the Ravens' first Pro Bowl quarterback since Testaverde, ending the second-longest current drought by one team. (The Miami Dolphins have the longest.)

Asked if he enjoys having this record, Jackson said: "I've been throwing them and not running them. You know, 'Mr. Running Back.' My guys are doing a great job catching the passes. We've just got to keep it going. I'm happy with the regular season, but we've got bigger fish to fry."

It was not all celebration at FirstEnergy Stadium for Baltimore. Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram limped off the field early in the fourth quarter with what has been described as a calf strain, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

He left the locker room in a walking boot and is scheduled for an MRI. He told ESPN's Josina Anderson that the boot is "helping me not to push off my foot and put pressure on my calf."

"I don't believe it's anything ... there's no kind of structural issues or anything like that," Harbaugh said. "His calf was cramping. We'll just have to see [Monday] to what degree, to what extent that means."

This could represent the last time Jackson and other select players such as Ingram, safety Earl Thomas and Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda play until Jan. 11 or 12. Baltimore finishes the regular season next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and then enjoys its third first-round bye in team history.

Thomas told Anderson that he does not plan on playing in the regular-season finale. Harbaugh said he wants the players' input and will talk to the leadership council before deciding whether anyone will sit.

"The thing I want to emphasize is, no matter what we do, the emphasis is going to be on winning the football game," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens (13-2) had been one of three AFC teams to never have earned the No. 1 seed. (The seeding system was instituted in 1975.) The only AFC teams now to not capture the top seed are the New York Jets and Houston Texans.

Top seeds have dominated the NFL postseason recently. A No. 1 seed has won the Super Bowl in five of the past six seasons: the Seattle Seahawks (2013), New England Patriots (2014 and 2016), Denver Broncos (2015) and Philadelphia Eagles (2017).

In avenging their last loss of the season, the Ravens extended their winning streak to 11 games since that 40-25 defeat to the Browns on Sept. 29. The Ravens matched the team record for victories in a regular season with 13 and set a regular-season franchise mark with their seventh road win.

The highest seed the Ravens previously achieved was No. 2, which occurred in 2006 and 2011. This marks Baltimore's first first-round bye since 2011.

"There is something special happening in Baltimore," Andrews said. "Just the energy, the atmosphere, the chemistry -- it's all coming together right now."

Jackson, the front-runner for NFL Most Valuable Player, recorded his NFL-best eighth game with three touchdowns or more. If this was his final action of the regular season, he will finish with 36 touchdown passes (the most by a player before his 23rd birthday, according to ESPN Stats & Information) and six interceptions.

Asked about those scintillating numbers, Harbaugh asked Yanda whether he should deliver Jackson's now-famous comeback line.

"Not bad for a running back," Harbaugh said in ending his postgame news conference.