Ravens show up small in big spot vs. New England

Ravens show up small in big spot vs. New England
December 22, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Ihedigbo on New England loss: "It's very frustrating"

(Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)

BALTIMORE--What happened to the Ravens on Sunday went against their history of rising to the occasion in clutch situations under John Harbaugh. M & T Bank Stadium was packed and ready to rock. The Ravens controlled their own playoff destiny. They were riding a four-game winning streak. But once the game started, the Patriots methodically took control of the game, took the energy out of the building, and took the Ravens to school.

Patriots 41, Ravens 7. Say what? Who saw this coming?

Now the Ravens (8-7) need help just to make the playoffs, and they only have a few days to recover from their worse beating of the season. This will be another watershed week for the Ravens, trying to bounce back from a beat-down that none of them expected. Their locker room was quiet and stunned, as players tried to fathom what had just happened.

[RELATED: Flacco says knee 'felt great' during loss to Patriots]

“It’s a tough pill to swallow – definitely it’s a frustrating loss,” said Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. “We got beat. It doesn’t matter if you lose by one point in overtime or lose by 30- it’s still a loss and we need to move forward and think about next week. Next week, it’s everything. It’s win or go home. What we lost today was an opportunity to win our division, and now we’ve got to play for that wild card and go to Cincinnati and get a W.”

The Bengals are the AFC North champions for the first time since 2009. The Ravens are in trouble, in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in Harbaugh’s six seasons as head coach.

The Patriots were the far better team Sunday, and now the Ravens must return to the road, where they are just 2-5 this season.

Sunday’s outcome was stunning, not that the Ravens lost, but how they lost. Blown out at home. Dominated in a big-game setting. Whether the Ravens regroup by next weekend remains to be scene. But if the Patriots did not deliver a knockout punch Sunday, they certainly put the Ravens on the ropes.