The Ravens rattled Andy Dalton with consistent pressure when they beat the Bengals in Baltimore last month. So it was stunning to watch their best rushers, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, finish with one tackle between them. Overall, a pass rush that had begun the season as one of the league's best finished with zero hits on Dalton. The Bengals quarterback, hardly known for mobility, even embarrassed the Ravens' front with his fakes on several read-option runs. This wasn't a new problem either. Suggs and Dumervil combined for just two sacks in the team's final six games. The production of Arthur Jones (who missed Sunday's game) also diminished after he menaced quarterbacks from up the middle during early games. Injuries certainly played a part in this decline. But Suggs will be 31 at the start of next season and Dumervil 30, so it's not necessarily a fluke. Expect a younger pass rusher to be on the team's offseason shopping list. The secondary earned more of a mixed report card, alternating big plays with a few big mistakes. It was hard to understand how the Ravens let A.J. Green, whom John Harbaugh has called the best receiver in football, streak by safety Matt Elam without any attention from a cornerback for an early 53-yard touchdown. Why weren't they using Jimmy Smith to shadow Green? But the Ravens did a solid job on the Bengals' No. 1 threat after that, and four different defensive backs picked off Dalton. Elam overcame his early mistake to lead the team in tackles and demonstrate why he was a worthy first-round pick. Looking ahead, this is a promising group, with Lardarius Webb seemingly healthy and Smith and Elam ranking as players on the rise.
Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun