The Baltimore Ravens continued their strong defensive efforts by forcing five turnovers and executing a goal-line stand in the final seconds of a 13-7 victory over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Baltimore extended its NFL record with a 25th consecutive third quarter without allowing a touchdown, and forced Carson Palmer into three consecutive incompletions from the Baltimore 2-yard line with under 30 seconds left to win their fourth straight game and wrap up a No. 5 seed for the upcoming AFC playoffs.
The Ravens will play at No. 4 seed Kansas City in the wild card round next Sunday.
In the two previous possessions, Baltimore held Cincinnati (4-12) on a fourth-down play and Ray Lewis recovered a fumble with just under two minutes to play.
The Ravens have forced 24 turnovers (plus-14 turnover margin) in the last 11 games after snagging just three in the first five (minus-6).
Safety Ed Reed picked off two passes, including one in the end zone near the end of the first half, for the second week in a row.
Baltimore also stripped wide receiver Jerome Simpson twice, once after a 21-yard gain and again at the Cincinnati 18. Ray Rice scored five plays later on a 7-yard run.
This could be the last game as a Bengal for both head coach Marvin Lewis, who has had two winning seasons in eight years, and Palmer, whose contract is up after this season and hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Palmer was 32 of 45 passing for 305 yards.