It looked and smelled a lot like Minnesota in Cincinnati today. If you watched the Ravens-Vikings game from a few weeks back, you know what I’m saying.
Today in Cincinnati, Baltimore came out flat…the Bengals didn’t…and it turned out to be one of the worst performances in the John Harbaugh era as the Ravens lost, 17-7, in a crucial AFC North showdown.
Make no mistake about it, Baltimore’s effort wouldn’t have been good enough against a scrub team like Cleveland…let alone the first-place Bengals.
And even when the Ravens scratched their way back into the game at 17-7 — thanks in part to Marvin Lewis’s horrible coaching decision to go for a 4th and 2 on the Ravens 35 — a Steve Hauschka missed field goal from 38 yards with roughly six minutes to go was the finishing blow.
The Baltimore offensive line was horrible all afternoon.
And that’s being kind.
And it certainly won’t go down as one of Joe Flacco’s finer afternoons of work, either.
Ray Lewis was Baltimore’s best player on Sunday. By far.
And once again, the team’s secondary corps couldn’t – or wouldn’t – tackle. It was a glaring area of weakness all afternoon as virtually every defensive back was guilty of bad tackling.
The loss pushes Baltimore back to the .500 mark (4-4) and gives the Bengals the all-important season series win after a 17-14 triumph in Charm City last month.
No sense trying to disguise it. This was a bad loss. In many ways.
The first half was basically “the men against the boys”. The Bengals not only led, 17-0, but had 16 first-half first downs to just 3 for Baltimore. The Ravens didn’t have a successful 3rd down conversion until there were a little over 2 minutes left in the game.
You can’t win like that.
Cincinnati has a very good team. There’s the credit they deserve. They’re solid on both sides of the ball.
But they shouldn’t be that much better than the Ravens.
Right now, they are.
That’s not a low blow, that’s a fact.