It’s a wrap for the defending Super Bowl Champion Ravens after ending their season with a 34-17 loss to AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
It is the first time in six years the Ravens failed to reach the playoffs under head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens finished the season with an 8-8 record.
Coach Harbaugh wasn’t happy with the outcome:
“We’re not ever going to be content with not making the playoffs,” he said. “That’s just not something that’s going to be OK with me personally or Ozzie [Newsome] or any of us, or any player here. That’s what makes it tough and disappointing. We expect to do that. We will fight like crazy to do that every single year.”
The Ravens are the 15th Super Bowl champion team that failed to reach the playoffs the following season.
While their five-year consecutive playoff streak awesome, all things must come to an end. The Ravens couldn’t overcome the countless obstacles they faced this season.
Running back Ray Rice never fully recovered from the injury he suffered earlier this season; the running game never got going.
Red zone issues were a problem. The Ravens struggled to score touchdowns and settled for field goals.
The offensive line did a poor job protecting Flacco. He often had little time to throw the ball and was sacked countless times.
The Ravens hoped tight end Dennis Pitta could pick up of the slack after they traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin last season, but Pitta was injured in training camp and missed most of the season.
They lacked a veteran player to rally the troops. While they replaced players to the best of their ability during free agency, they could never replace the leadership void left after linebacker Ray Lewis retired.
Was it a disappointing season? While I could say yes because it is hard to look at the peak after getting to the top of the mountain, I will say no. I knew the Ravens would struggle this season; I never expected them to repeat.
While the Super Bowl hangover was painful, thankfully it is gone and we can move on from it. We will return healthier and stronger next season, for now we can enjoy a stress free post season…