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Five observations from Ravens' disappointing loss to Bengals in season finale

Five observations from Ravens' disappointing loss to Bengals in season finale

CINCINNATI – The Ravens' 2016 season has come to an end following the team's dissapoiting 27-10 loss to the Bengals in Week 17.

Here are the Five instant observations after the Bengals dominated the Ravens:

1. The Ravens (8-8) looked hung over, not from New Year’s Eve, but from their loss in Pittsburgh.

Being eliminated from playoff contention against the Steelers last week seemed to deflate the Ravens. Their defense gave up points on every Bengals first half possession. The Bengals took a 20-3 lead into the third quarter and never looked back.

2. Some tough offseason questions await the Ravens.

Will Marty Mornhinweg return as offensive coordinator? Can the Ravens find more playmakers on offense and defense? John Harbaugh is expected to return as head coach, but an 8-8 season, and missing the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, puts everyone in the organization under the microscope.

3. This wasn’t the sendoff that wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. had in mind.

I’m sure Smith envisioned a victory, at least one touchdown, and some highlight-reel plays in his last NFL game. The legendary wide receiver capped his career with a 3-catch, 34-yard performance. This won’t change Smith’s brilliant 16-year career in any significant way. But when he sits down to reminiscence about the best moments in his career, this game won’t make the cut. 

4. The Bengals remain a pain for the Ravens, especially in Cincinnati.

The Bengals have won six of their last seven against the Ravens, whose last victory at Paul Brown Stadium came in 2011. The Steelers will enter 2017 as the defending champs in the AFC North, but the Bengals remain a puzzle that needs solving for the Ravens.

5. The Ravens are 31-33 during the regular season since winning Super Bowl XLVII four years ago.

The Ravens have just one playoff win during the last four years, and have missed the playoffs three of the last four seasons. As close as the Ravens came to beating the Steelers in Week 16, the big picture suggests the Ravens need a sense of urgency this offseason, to get their franchise back to being a true Super Bowl contender. 


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Carli Lloyd drills 55-yard field goal after Ravens-Eagles joint practice

Carli Lloyd drills 55-yard field goal after Ravens-Eagles joint practice

A world-renowned kicker took the field Tuesday after the Ravens-Eagles joint practice to show Justin Tucker and Jake Elliott a few things about how to land a ball right between the uprights.

USWNT star Carli Lloyd got some reps in while visiting Eagles training camp, and with some pointers from the two kickers, the World Cup champion showed that she could easily take one of the 32 starting kicker spots in the National Football League.

Now we just have to wait and see which franchise takes a chance on the 37-year old superstar.


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New faces, new absences for Ravens second day of joint practices in Philadelphia

New faces, new absences for Ravens second day of joint practices in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — On the final day of joint practices in Philadelphia, some notable names returned to the practice fields. 

Miles Boykin made his presence known early on with a few nice grabs in the red zone. Kenneth Dixon and Gus Edwards rotated in at the running back spot, too, but perhaps the most notable faces were the ones not there. 

Marquise Brown wasn’t available for practice, though it’s unlikely his absence is related to a setback in his recovery from a foot injury Ronnie Stanley was seen in street clothes with his left ankle taped up and Jermaine Eluemanor wasn’t on the field. 

Even with the notable names missing, the Ravens offense still had a strong day. Or at least, a stronger day than Monday.

“Today we had one rookie step up, Ben Powers, we had Boze (Bradley Bozeman) come in and fill in for our left guard,” quarterback Lamar Jackson said.

Boykin, who returned after a two-day absence from practice, shined with a few nice catches in the red zone as a reliable target for Jackson to throw to.

“He made great catches on the sideline,” Jackson said. “Lanky guy, got speed, he’s explosive. He’s going to be a great tool this year.”

While Jackson and the Ravens offense struggled in the red zone the day before, Tuesday was an improvement as Jackson slipped into a better rhythm against the Eagles defense. 

With a 4-3 “Wide Nine” front, Jackson and the rest of the offense saw a new look against one of the league’s better defensive teams. 

“That was the first time I’ve seen a very explosive defensive line, besides ours,” Jackson said. “They got after it a little, our line held it down.”

In 11-on-11 at the end of practice, Jackson finished 5-of-9 with an interception and a dazzling juke along the sidelines. 

Trace McSorley struggled and threw a few interceptions at the end of practice, but the day was still an improvement for the Baltimore offense.

Defensively, the Ravens secondary held up well, sans for a few plays where Cyrus Jones was beat. 

Jones, in contention for the slot cornerback role that Tavon Young leaves behind with his injury, is just one of the cornerbacks available to the Ravens in the slot.

“Almost all of the guys worked in there,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Marlon’s been in there, Jimmy’s even been in there. For us, the way we’re operating right now is that it depends on the call, depends on the matchup, things like that.”

Humphrey was one of the players who shined for the Ravens on both days, leading a still-impressive secondary at the cornerback slot. 

But with Young out, for potentially the season, the secondary will still have some questions to be answered moving forward. 

The Ravens will get an extended look Thursday night in Philadelphia, as they wrap up their week in Pennsylvania with their third preseason game of the season.