KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The fourth-down play was designed to go left, yet there was Patrick Mahomes scrambling to his right with a phalanx of Ravens in pursuit, his eyes trained on Tyreek Hill deep downfield.
Mahomes heaved an audacious throw. Hill made an incredible catch.
The Chiefs proceeded to score a tying touchdown on a pass to Damien Williams on another fourth-down play to force overtime. Then they watched as Harrison Butker booted a 36-yard field goal — atoning for a miss as time expired — and their maligned defense stuffed Baltimore to escape with a 27-24 victory Sunday.
"You always want to be in a position to go win a game," said Mahomes, who threw for 377 yards and two scores as the Chiefs clinched a playoff berth. "These are the best wins when you have to battle, when you trade plays. These are the ones that you remember the most."
The victory ensures the Chiefs a spot in next month's playoffs with a chance to clinch a third straight AFC West title Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Ravens looked as if they might match Butker's field goal, marching across midfield in overtime, but Ronnie Stanley's holding penalty put them in a bind. Jackson was then sacked by Justin Houston and Dee Ford — and left with an ankle injury — before Robert Griffin III threw two incompletions to end it.
"We played a heck of a game. Just didn't get it down," said Jackson, who insisted after X-rays came back negative that he would be OK. "We've got to regroup next week and get ready for our next game."
Tyreek Hill caught eight passes for 139 yards for Kansas City (11-2), including three in overtime to set up the eventual winning field goal. Travis Kelce had seven catches for 77 yards and another score.
Jackson finished with 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Ravens, who had never lost in three trips to Arrowhead Stadium. Jackson also had 71 yards rushing in his fourth start in place of Joe Flacco .
"We didn't come here for no moral victory," Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs said. "We didn't come here to 'do well' against a 10-2 team, now 11-2. No, we came to win."
Both teams looked as if they had the game won in regulation.
The Ravens (7-6) took the lead with 4:04 to go when a long punt return gave them a short field, and Jackson threw a third-down touchdown pass to John Brown. But the NFL's top-ranked defense twice allowed the league's highest-scoring offense to convert on fourth down .
The first came on fourth-and-9 at the Chiefs 40, when Mahomes scrambled to his right and threw his absurd cross-body heave to a hobbled Hill for a 40-yard gain. The second came on fourth-and-3 at the Ravens 5, when Mahomes threw his dump-off to Williams for the tying touchdown.
"I mean, Pat makes unbelievable throws every game, it's just the kind of player he is," Kelce said. "You're never dead on any play as a wide receiver, tight end or running back in the routes."
As the Ravens tried to get into range for kicker Justin Tucker, Houston strip-sacked Jackson to give Kansas City the ball. Butker proceeded to miss his second field goal of the game to force overtime.
He made up for that miss a few minutes later.
"All I'm trying to do is make it through the uprights. That's what I do every time," he said. "I try to split up the kicks, so I'm not thinking about the past. Every kick is a new kick."
The Chiefs at times had no problem slicing up the Ravens' staunch defense, putting together a pair of long TD drives to take a 17-10 lead into the break. Williams capped the first with his short TD plunge and Kelce finished the other with a nice over-the-shoulder catch.
At other times, the Ravens got enough pressure on Mahomes to make him look like a rookie.
The Chiefs, whose own defense ranks near the bottom of the league, held their own much of the game. They allowed a 75-yard drive entirely on the ground in the first half, which Kenneth Dixon finished with a 3-yard run, but otherwise kept Jackson and Co. from making big plays.
"We played really well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, "and they made some plays."
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said the organization was aware of three separate off-field incidents that led to the release of star running back Kareem Hunt nine days ago. That includes the alleged assault in a Cleveland hotel that was captured on a security camera. All three cases were reported to the NFL. "The NFL was investigating them," Clark Hunt said in his first comments on the case. "The league has spent a lot of time and resources trying to build a department that can handle these types of situations. Obviously it is imperfect. I'm not sure you can ever reach perfection."
Ravens FB-DL Patrick Ricard apologized after the game for racist and homophobic tweets that he made in high school and surfaced late Saturday, calling them "inappropriate and unacceptable." The Ravens said in a statement before the game that they condemned the tweets. Ricard was a healthy scratch for the game.
Ravens: Flacco (hip) and SS Tony Jefferson (ankle) were inactive for the game.
Chiefs: RB Spencer Ware left late in the first half after FS Eric Weddle forced him out of bounds and he landed hard on his right shoulder. He returned after halftime. ... Hill (heel) also left late in the half before returning. ... WR Sammy Watkins (foot) and SS Eric Berry (heel) were inactive.
Ravens: Return home to face the Buccaneers next Sunday.
Chiefs: Host the Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night.