Harbaugh: Not content with missing playoffs
The offense has struggled for much of the 2013 season, and those problems came back again in Sunday's season-ending 34-17 loss in Cincinnati. The Ravens will have to watch the playoffs from home this year. Here's a look at a report card for the offense:
QUARTERBACK: C-. Joe Flacco struggled again and completed 30 of 50 passes for 192 yards. He threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a TD that proved crucial for the Bengals. He got forced to throw a lot of short passes just to avoid sacks and try and accomplish something for an offense that couldn’t move once again. But he was battling an injured knee and under pressure for most of the game. The Bengals welcomed him to Cincinnati by hitting him repeatedly.
RUNNING BACKS: D. They weren’t able to help much again. Ray Rice made a nice play by running wide for the two-point conversion that tied the game in the third quarter, but he couldn’t do much else. Was he still hurt? He was one of this season’s biggest mysteries. Bernard Scott and Bernard Pierce made some good runs earlier in the game but it seemed to stop in the second half.
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WIDE RECEIVERS; C-. The Bengals tried to make sure that Flacco couldn’t throw long, and they did what they wanted. Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith were close a few times on long balls from Flacco, but they couldn’t get it done as the passes either weren’t thrown right or the DBs made plays. Marlon Brown made a nice touchdown catch that tied the game at 17 in the third quarter, a play similar to the one he made in the snow versus the Vikings.
TIGHT ENDS: B. Dennis Pitta showed why the Ravens and Flacco missed him so much this season. He was the only receiver who got open and made plays, much like last year. Pitta finished with a team-high eight catches, plays that helped Flacco avoid being sacked, or it could have been an even worse afternoon for the offense. The Ravens need to get Pitta back next year as he’s turned into a solid possession receiver who can also make big plays, and that’s a great combination.
OFFENSIVE LINE: F. Simply put, they couldn’t get it done. They couldn’t handle Cincinnati’s aggressive pass rushing, a big reason why Flacco really got banged around. In addition, like most of the season, the line couldn’t open holes for the ground game, which ground to a halt once more.