The Bengals did everything they could to allow the Ravens to win this game. Four interceptions from Andy Dalton, 30 yards in penalties halfway through the fourth quarter and a handful of stupid coaching decisions just weren’t enough for Baltimore to walk out of Cincinnati victorious.
Here are my five thoughts on the Ravens 34-17 loss to the Bengals:
1. Flacco and O-Line – Joe Flacco is one tough SOB. The Ravens QB entered today’s game playing for the second straight week with an MCL sprain and Baltimore’s terrible offensive line didn’t do him any favors. Flacco landed hard on his shoulder in the end zone, was sacked twice and hit seven times by the Bengals defense. It’s amazing that he managed to stay in this game at all. This offseason, the offensive line needs to be fixed to protect the Ravens $120 million investment. Flacco’s 20th interception of the season (a franchise high, he later threw number 21 and 22) led to Mike Nugent’s 38-yard field goal which gave the Bengals a ten point lead with 12:23 remaining in the fourth quarter.
2. Andy DaLOLOLOLton – Phil Simms talked about Andy Dalton as though he was putting up Peyton Manning-type numbers against the Ravens defense. Sure, he connected with A.J. Green for a 53-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but he finished the game with 281 yards passing and a 62.2 QB rating. He also threw four interceptions which leads into my next point…
3. Ravens turn three turnovers into nine points – This pretty much sums up the Ravens season. Three interceptions for the defense in Bengals territory that the offense converted into three field goals. It’s a totally different ballgame if they manage to find the end zone. Hey, at least Justin Tucker became the franchise’s leader in most points in a single season. The Ravens lone touchdown came after this lovely ten yard punt from Bengals punter Shawn Powell.
4. Rice’s tough season comes to an end – Ray Rice’s tough season came to a close following a game in which he finished with 15 yards on six carries. Rice hasn’t been right all season. He hasn’t had the same burst we’re used to seeing and has lost that ability to break tackles. Let’s hope it’s health and not a decline in a play. Rice’s most impactful play of the game came when he found the end zone on a two point conversion that tied the game at 17.
5. We’re spoiled – Sure, we all wanted to see the Ravens back in the postseason for the sixth consecutive season, but are we really disappointed after watching them win the Super Bowl a season ago? I’m not. The Ravens have their issues to resolve, but have proven an ability to address the team’s needs. I’m sad that I won’t get to enjoy another postseason run, but until February 2, the Ravens are still the world champs.