Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Week 17 Loss to Bengals Sticks in Ravens' Craw

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Week 17 Loss to Bengals Sticks in Ravens' Craw

Article excerpt

BALTIMORE - About 500 miles from the Ravens' Owings Mills headquarters, the 23-year-old who had turned the team's Week 17 playoff dreams into a fourth-and-12 nightmare offered an assessment of his perception in Baltimore.

"They are probably sick of me," Cincinnati Bengals third-year wide receiver Tyler Boyd told the Dayton Daily News. And if not Boyd, the Clairton High School and Pitt product, then probably highlights of the last-minute, 49-yard touchdown pass he caught at M&T Bank Stadium. And if not highlights of the play, then certainly questions about it.

The Ravens had a full offseason to reckon with the hows and whys of their third consecutive postseason absence, but the most readily available explanation was that they could not stop a backup who entered the regular-season finale with 134 receiving yards from effectively ending a game that, at that point, the Ravens had a 93.4 percent chance of winning. In one play, according to ESPN, those odds fell to 7 percent.

There was no point in pointing fingers this week, and coach John Harbaugh bristled at a question about whether the fateful fourth-down play would be shown in a team meeting ahead of Thursday's game in Cincinnati (1-0). "What would be the point?" he said Monday.

A win in any of the Ravens' six other losses would have sent the team to the playoffs, quarterback Joe Flacco noted Tuesday. There was no sense in exhuming the specifics of a long-dead game: How a defensive-holding call wiped out an interception by Eric Weddle with 83 seconds remaining, how the Ravens didn't run a zone defense during the Bengals' drive until its final play, how the 31-27 defeat left veterans Terrell Suggs and Tony Jefferson visibly shaken in the locker room afterward.

"That's life," Harbaugh said Monday, acknowledging that the aftershock of the loss would likely linger until after kickoff. …

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