Sam Koch and Justin Tucker both struggled at times Sunday. Koch didn't get off the booming punts like he's done all season, and Tucker missed a field goal that would have really helped the Ravens in the fourth quarter.
Those are not the only reasons that the Bengals pulled out their 23-17 victory over the Ravens in Cincinnati. But on a day when the Ravens often gave their starters a rest, the Ravens needed help from the special teams.
Koch came into the game having never averaged less than 43.5 yards per game punting this season. But he averaged just 36.6 yards on seven punt and landed only one inside the 20.
He got off some short punts that helped the Bengals start drives with good field position and didn't push the Ravens out of the trouble they were in because Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber's booming punts kept Baltimore deep in its own territory. Koch got off kicks of 41, 35 and 30 yards that gave the Bengals the ball around midfield three times during a stretch starting late in the second quarter and into the third.
Huber, meanwhile, averaged 47.1 yards on his seven punts and dropped four inside the Ravens' 20. That really hurt the Ravens as back-up quarterback Tyrod Taylor and many second-stringers were in the game.
Tucker came into the game having made 29 of 31 field goals, but he missed a 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that would have given the Ravens a 17-13 lead.
That would have been big because it would have forced the Bengals to score a touchdown to take the lead, and Cincinnati's offense was anemic most of the day. But that kept the Ravens with just a one-point lead, and the Bengals then got a field goal to go ahead and scored on Carlos Dunlap's 14-yard interception return just 70 seconds later for a 23-14 lead.
Tucker bounced back with a 49-yard field goal later, but the Ravens couldn't get the ball back.