Clinch no cinch

Williams' TD helps Ravens pull away from tie, seal spot

Ravens Report

Ravens 27 Browns 17

Ravens Gameday

December 18, 2006|By JAMISON HENSLEY | JAMISON HENSLEY,SUN REPORTER

How the game was won

The Ravens clinched their first playoff berth since 2003 by coming up with big plays. Dawan Landry's 37-yard interception return set up the Ravens' first score. Demetrius Williams' 77-yard touchdown catch and run broke a 17-17 tie. And Mark Clayton's 42-yard reception led to Matt Stover's 22-yard field goal that sealed the victory.

Play of the game

Three plays after the Browns came back to tie the game at 17 in the third quarter, Kyle Boller connected on a 77-yard play with Williams, who caught the throw at the Browns' 25-yard line and raced to the end zone. It was the longest touchdown pass of Boller's four-year career.

Defense steps up

After the Browns tied the game at 17, the Ravens' defense shut them down the rest of the game. In Cleveland's final five drives, the Ravens held the Browns to 23 total yards, giving up one first down and making one interception.

Playoff positioning

The Ravens (11-3) currently hold the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed, one game behind the San Diego Chargers (12-2) and a half game ahead of the Indianapolis Colts (10-3). If the Colts beat the Cincinnati Bengals tonight, the Ravens would clinch the AFC North but fall back to the No. 3 seed in the conference.

They said it

"Every team when they show up in training camp, their first goal is making the playoffs. That's the first step, but only the first step. It's significant when you can do it with your backup quarterback, backup corner and backup nickel. We said the depth of this team was going to be important from the get-go and it showed up today." - Billick after the Ravens wrapped up their fourth playoff berth in his eight-year tenure

Coming attraction

The Ravens will be looking for their first win in Pittsburgh since 2001. The Steelers have won five of their past six games, with their only loss in that stretch coming against the Ravens.

McNair scare

Quarterback Steve McNair (right) was injured when his throwing hand was stepped on during the Ravens' second series. X-rays were negative, but McNair stayed out because a cut on his hand was aggravated every time he took a practice snap. McNair said after the game that he would be ready to play Sunday. Article, PG 2E

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