PITTSBURGH | The Baltimore Ravens were good enough to reach the second round of the NFL playoffs, yet too flawed to get any farther.
The Ravens won 13 games, finished tied atop the AFC North and made a third straight trip to the postseason. They also had an inconsistent offense, a propensity for blowing fourth-quarter leads and a mediocre 6-4 record on the road.
Which explains why their season ended in all too familiar fashion — with a disappointing defeat in Pittsburgh.
The Ravens (13-5) were 30 minutes away from advancing to the AFC title game after taking a 21-7 halftime lead against the Steelers on Saturday. It all unraveled in the second half, when Baltimore self-destructed in a 31-24 loss.
“No disrespect to Pittsburgh, but coming into the game you’re really not too worried because I really feel like we have more talent than them and we should beat them, and it shouldn’t be close,” cornerback Chris Carr declared. “When it was 21-7, we came in here at halftime and were like, ‘It should be like that.’ We should expect that. To choke like the way we did is just …”
His voice trailed off because words couldn’t truly express how disgusted he was at having the season end that way.
The Ravens lost primarily because they committed three second-half turnovers that Pittsburgh converted into 17 points. Joe Flacco is only the third quarterback since 1970 to make the playoffs in his first three seasons, but his play against the Steelers was erratic: He threw for only 125 yards, lost a fumble, was picked off once and sacked five times.
Changes must be made during the offseason if the Ravens are to compete with the AFC elite.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” coach John Harbaugh said. “You better keep working all the time to be as good as you can possibly be. It’s a competitive world we live in.”
Ngata had no desire to put a positive spin on a season that ended so bitterly.
“I don’t think it ever feels like you can let it go,” he said. “You want to work harder so that you can come here and beat them.”View Entire Story
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