Ravens eliminated by 34-17 loss to Bengals

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 29, 2013 at 5:21 pm •  Published: December 29, 2013

CINCINNATI (AP) — Too many field goals. Not enough wins. And for the first time in six years, no place in the playoffs.

The Ravens aren't used to any of this.

The defending Super Bowl champions were eliminated on Sunday with a 34-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, who took away their AFC North title and pulled away at the end of a game that Baltimore needed to win.

Instead, as the closing minutes ticked down, the Ravens (8-8) started getting ready mentally for an unusually long offseason.

"Not going to the playoffs hurts," running back Ray Rice said. "I'm not used to having this kind of time on my hands."

None of them are.

The Ravens lost their last two games, denying them a chance to make the playoffs for a sixth straight season. They couldn't avoid the Super Bowl slump that's so common.

The Ravens became the 15th Super Bowl champ that failed to reach the playoffs the following season, and the sixth in the last 12 years. Their running game fell apart, the offense had to settle for field goals, and the defense missed Ray Lewis' inspiration in the big moments.

"That's it," coach John Harbaugh said. "That ends it. That stings."

They'll have a lot of things to pick over, starting with their record number of field goals.

All too often this season, the Ravens settled for field goals when they got close to the goal line. They did it again on Sunday, managing only three field goals off three of Andy Dalton's four interceptions.

Justin Tucker was good from 38, 22 and 34 yards, giving him a club record of 38 field goals. The Ravens were among the worst in the NFL at getting touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line.

"It's been kind of the story of our season, getting the ball in position and not being able to do it," said Joe Flacco, who threw three interceptions.

Dalton threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Cincinnati (11-5) took advantage of the Ravens' inability to get more points out of his four turnovers. The AFC North champions are 8-0 at home.

In Cincinnati, there's only one thing in mind: win a playoff game for the first time since the 1990 season. The Bengals lost opening-round games in Houston each of the last two seasons, leaving them tied for the seventh-longest stretch of playoff futility in NFL history.

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