Baltimore Ravens remain relevant in AFC playoff race

This is the backstory to one of the great moments of Week 10, the eventful afternoon inside M&T Bank Stadium that featured yet another overtime defeat for the Cincinnati Bengals, this one a costly AFC North showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens' overtime win, as well as the Carolina Panthers' tough road win over the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars' first triumph in nearly an entire calendar year are nominees for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the week. Cast your vote for the GMC Never Say Never Moments of Week 10.

For the second consecutive week, the Bengals were on the wrong end of a GMC Never Say Never Moment nomination. After succumbing to a walk-off safety on "Thursday Night Football" against the Miami Dolphins, the Bengals allowed the Ravens to halt a three-game losing streak and climb back into contention for the AFC North division title. The Ravens' win kept the defending champs relevant in the postseason chase and placed three teams within a game and a half of the division lead with plenty of football yet to be played.

Here are the key moments before the moment:

Ravens in complete control

The play: Quarterback Joe Flacco connects with receiver Torrey Smith for a 7-yard scoring strike.

The aftermath: The touchdown gave the Ravens a commanding 17-0 lead in a first half thoroughly dominated by the desperate defending champions. The score was set up by an interception by James Ihedigbo of a errant overthrow by Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The silver lining in the 17-0 halftime advantage was that the Ravens had only mustered 94 yards of offense. Baltimore, instead, took advantage of Cincinnati's miscues to put together scoring drives of 53, 58 and 11 yards.

Bengals launch second-half comeback

The play:Bengals defensive back Terence Newman picks off Flacco.

The aftermath: Cincinnati took advantage of Flacco's gaffe. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard took a short dump-off pass from Dalton and scampered 18 yards for a touchdown. That play trimmed the Ravens' lead to 17-10.

Living on a prayer

The play: A Hail Mary pass from Dalton is caught by receiver A.J. Green after being tipped up by Ihedigbo for a 51-yard game-tying touchdown as time expired.

The aftermath: The play forced overtime, and it seemed as if the Ravens were doomed to suffer another narrow defeat. Four of the Ravens' five losses have come by a combined 14 points. The prospects for victory in the extra period seemed grim. The Ravens blew their 17-0 halftime lead by failing to mount a substantial offensive drive and turning the ball over -- Flacco had an interception and lost a fumble to aid the Bengals' cause. Green's heroics put him over 100 yards receiving for the game, his fifth consecutive 100-plus-yard receiving game, which set a franchise record (topping Carl Pickens' four set in 1994).

Ravens defense bends, but doesn't break

The play: Deciding that a long field goal attempt is too risky, the Bengals go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Ravens' 33-yard line. The Ravens defense forces Dalton's short pass to Bernard into an 11-yard loss.

The aftermath: The Bengals had mounted a promising drive to open overtime, marching 47 yards into what was close to field-goal range for kicker Mike Nugent. However, on a gusty afternoon in Baltimore, Nugent had missed a 42-yard field goal attempt. The massive yardage loss on the fourth-down play shifted momentum clearly in the favor of the Ravens, who had been craving hope since seeing a 17-0 halftime lead evaporate on their own field.

The moment

The play: Kicker Justin Tucker's 46-yard field goal attmept is good and the Ravens prevail, 20-17.

The aftermath: The Bengals became the 16th team in NFL history to play in consecutive overtime games and lose both. The Ravens, despite a season-low 189 yards of offense (the fourth-fewest in a home game in franchise history), managed to thrust themselves into a second-place tie in the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens are vying for a sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs. The win over the Bengals helped tremendously, but the Ravens still face a tough road ahead en route to the postseason. Five of their remaining seven opponents currently boast winning records.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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