AFC North

Ravens Fall To Bengals To Damper Playoff Hopes

Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer

The Baltimore Ravens traveled to Cincinnati on Sunday with hopes of pulling off a remarkable upset behind third string quarterback Josh Johnson. The long time journeyman stepped in for Baltimore after Lamar Jackson was held out for the second straight week. The projected starter all week, Tyler Huntley was placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday. This led to Josh Johnson, who has only been on the Ravens roster for 10 days, having limited reps. With all that said Baltimore still had a chance to claim first place of the AFC North with a win. After the first two drives of the game, with the Ravens leading 7-3, it looked possible. After that point, it was all Bengals until the final snap.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Once the Ravens scored on their first drive to take the 7-3 lead, the Bengals found their groove on offense and never looked back. Joe Mixon scored from one yard out to end the first quarter and then the second quarter saw Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins all score for Cincinnati. The Ravens added a touchdown themselves thanks to Devonta Freeman and they trailed 31-14 at halftime. The second half only saw 17 total points scored and the Bengals came out with the win 41-21. The one highlight for the Ravens was tight end Mark Andrews. He ended the day with 8 catches 125 yards and a touchdown. He has went over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career.

CAREER DAY FOR BENGALS DUO

The Baltimore Ravens secondary has been decimated with injuries this season and quarterbacks have been able to throw at will against them in recent weeks. That trend continued on Sunday with Joe Burrow. Burrow threw for a career-high 525 passing yards and added 4 touchdowns on the day. His favorite receiver of the day was Tee Higgins who had a career-high 194 receiving yards on 12 receptions and added two touchdowns himself. This duo for Cincinnati had everything working and will look to keep things rolling next week against Kansas City.

WHAT DOES THIS LOSS MEAN FOR THE RAVENS?

The Ravens have lost four straight games for the first time since 2016 and now sit at 8-7 on the year. Their playoff hopes took a hit Sunday with the loss, they now have a 35% chance of making the playoffs and a 10% chance of winning the AFC North, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projection. The Ravens end their season with two home games against the Los Angeles Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers. If Baltimore can win next week vs the Rams it will boost their playoff chances up to 62%. Simply put, if the Ravens want a chance at the playoffs they must win their final two games of 2021.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The biggest question heading into Week 17 is the health of quarterback Lamar Jackson. If the Ravens have any chance of the playoffs they need their MVP quarterback healthy. If he is unable to go, the hope is for backup Tyler Huntley to be clear the COVID-19 list and be able to play against LA. It will be a tough final two games for Baltimore, but after this four game skid they still have a chance. First step is beating the Rams next Sunday in Baltimore.

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