The Baltimore Ravens wanted to end the season on a high note but that didn’t happen in Cincinnati against the Bengals. They suffered a 24-16 loss and finished with a 5-11 record for the year. This marked the first time the Ravens had a losing season under head coach John Harbaugh.
Ryan Mallett had the team off to a good start, establishing a rhythm on the first drive. The Ravens couldn’t get the ball in the end zone despite a few deep drives into Bengals territory. One of the major problems for the Ravens in this game was their inability to run the football.
The Ravens gained a total of 59 yards on the ground. They only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Mallett was forced to throw the ball 56 times and he completed 30 passes for 292 yards. He threw two interceptions in the game.
The first interception came at the start of the second half with the Ravens leading 9 – 7. Mallett regretted trying to force the ball to Buck Allen in the flat. “I turned the ball over. I shouldn’t have thrown it. I should have thrown it away.” Mallett said.
While the Ravens couldn’t run the ball, the Bengals ran with authority. They gained 145 yards on the ground. One of their touchdowns came by way of a Jeremy Hill touchdown on 4th and 1 against a stacked box.
He found a crease and outran Lardarius Webb and Shareece Wright to the end zone. The Bengals averaged 5.4 yards per carry against the Ravens.
The Bengals relied on the running offense late in the game as they wore down the Ravens with the lead. Credit the Ravens defense for limiting A.J. Green and Marvin Jones to a combined under 100 yards. Green did score a touchdown, but only had four receptions.
The Ravens can now close the book on a tough season. John Harbaugh said he thinks the 2015 season will help the team in the long run. They circled the wagons and never quit on each other when things didn’t go their way. That is a credit to the head coach.
There will be some personnel decisions to make when the off season officially arrives. The Ravens have some free agents to either retain or let go. They will also have to approach the draft knowing they will have one of the highest selections they’ve had in a while.
The loss to the Bengals combined with a win by the San Francisco 49ers and a loss by the San Diego Chargers left the Ravens with the sixth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The last time they picked inside the top ten, the Ravens selected Terrell Suggs with the tenth pick in the 2003.
This next pick will be the second highest in team history. The highest was in 2000 when they selected Jamal Lewis with the fifth overall pick. Be sure to stay tuned for extended draft coverage from the East-West Shrine game, Senior Bowl and more.