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Despite Loss, Ravens Clinch Playoff Berth

Posted Dec 16, 2012

The Cowboys' 27-24 win over the Steelers gave Baltimore its fifth straight berth.

Take a deep breath.

The Ravens are now officially in the playoffs.

The Ravens have lost three straight games. They missed a third chance to seal a playoff berth on their own after Sunday’s lopsided 34-17 loss to Denver.

But they’re in now after Dallas beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-24, Sunday night. Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted Ben Roethlisberger in overtime to spark the win.

With that, Baltimore (9-5) is ensured to get at least a wild-card spot. They lead the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) by one game in the AFC North division and the Steelers (7-7) by two games.

It’s the fifth straight year the Ravens have reached the postseason, the longest stretch in the NFL.

“I feel a lil bit better now…,” defensive tackle Bryan Hall tweeted immediately after the Steelers’ loss.

The Ravens have been ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball. They’re in their longest losing skid since 2009. They’re frustrated after getting off to a 9-2 start.

But there was a feeling in the locker room that the Ravens just needed to get into the playoffs any way possible. Once there, they at least have a chance to win the Super Bowl.

“We need one game, and then the playoffs are right there,” running back Ray Rice said. “We’ll get that one game, and then we’re in The Dance. We’ll get some guys back healthy, and we’ll be ready to go.”

The Ravens have more goals ahead of them this regular season.

A first-round bye is unlikely because they’re three games behind the Texans and two behind the Broncos, who now own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

But Baltimore wants to the win the division, which would ensure at least one home playoff game. The Ravens would accomplish that with one more win. They close the regular season against the second-place Bengals.

“I still feel like we’re going to win this division, like I said,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. “We’re still going to make noise in the playoffs, but we’ve just got to cut out the dumb stuff.”

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