Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston talks about the Ravens' 22-10 win over the L.A. Chargers. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Jonas Shaffer, reporter: The Ravens did what they had to do, and what they had to do was remarkable: Stop the AFC's hottest team. Limit Philip Rivers and the Chargers' passing attack. Beat a defense that wasn't aggressively mediocre. Now they must take care of business. They couldn't the last time they needed a result in Week 17. As for whether that could help or hurt them against the Cleveland Browns, there's only one way to find out.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: It's a Christmas miracle. The Ravens were in serious danger of suffering another season-killing fourth quarter comeback, but the defense that had harassed Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers all night forced two turnovers in the final minutes to seal a crucial Weft Coast upset over an 11-3 team that was playing on eight days’ rest.


Now, the Ravens have a chance to move into first place in the AFC North if the Saints can dispatch the erratic Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in New Orleans. And the Ravens just have to take care of business against the Cleveland Browns next weekend at M&T Bank Stadium to punch their ticket to the postseason.

Still in charge: Led by defense again, Ravens take big step toward playoffs with 22-10 win over Chargers

With a 22-10 win over the Chargers at StubHub Center, the Ravens (9-6) authored another defensive masterclass — 198 yards allowed, three turnovers forced — and made their playoff path straightforward.

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson is for real, but the Chargers defense did a better job of containing his ground game than any of his previous opponents. He still needs to do a better job of protecting the ball, but he showed again that he can play from behind and he seems to grow as a passer with every game.

Big game ball to cornerback Brandon Carr, who set the tone with an acrobatic interception on the Chargers' first offensive play of the night.

Childs Walker, reporter: This was the defining December win the Ravens have been chasing for three years.

All credit to the defense, which deserves to go down with the best in Ravens history. They’re not as physically overpowering as the 2000 group or as big-play oriented as they were during the peak years of Ed Reed, but they do everything well. If the Ravens do make the playoffs, they can’t afford to leave points on the table the way they did in the first half.

Lamar Jackson has shown tremendous poise as a rookie, but he has not proven himself as a red-zone quarterback. Facing a legitimate top-10 defense, the Ravens could not grind the ball down the field the way they did against lesser opponents. They’ll face a serious threat next weekend against the vastly improved Cleveland Browns. But for now, they gave John Harbaugh quite a present to go with the news that he’ll stick around as coach.

Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens only practiced a couple of days for Los Angeles, which had eight days to prepare for the game. They also had to travel to the West Coast and they physically dominated one of the best teams and most powerful offenses in the NFL. This was the first quality win for the Ravens against a serious contender in December in several years. The Ravens finally proved they are serious contenders to win a Super Bowl title.