5. The Ravens saved their season, but it's hard to know if they turned a corner

The Ravens had to beat Cincinnati to remain relevant in either the divisional or wild-card races. So they're alive. But are they a team on the rise? It's awfully hard to say based on Sunday's game, which was as much about the Bengals' mistakes as it was about any Ravens' improvements. "Where this leads us, we will find out," Harbaugh said. It was good to see the Ravens get creative with their play calling and formations. The defense played well, as it has most of the season. But the Ravens' offense had plenty of chances to bury the Bengals and couldn't do it. Joe Flacco again faced pressure for much of the game, failed to find a steady rhythm with his receivers and made crucial mistakes. The Ravens again failed to eat clock with their running game, despite some early success using Bernard Pierce out of the pistol, a formation in which the tailback lines up behind the quarterback in the shotgun. Ray Rice had another frustrating game with 30 yards on 18 carries. Those flaws could have been fatal if the Bengals didn¿t hand the Ravens red-zone opportunities on a penalty and an interception. For all their ugly, dumb play, the Bengals caught the Ravens in the fourth quarter. Other teams won't be so giving.
Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun
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