With the Ravens' season on the brink today against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, veteran defensive end Chris Canty has his fingers crossed that the defending Super Bowl champions will qualify for a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season.
It's been a difficult season for the Ravens, enduring a string of frustrating losses and an embarrassing setback last Sunday against the New England Patriots where they were routed 41-7 in the most lopsided loss of the John Harbaugh era.
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"I hope it’s not coming to an end," Canty said. "We’ve had a lot of adversity. We’ve had some tough spots in the season and we’ve overcome them."
It's been a relatively quiet season for Canty, a 6-foot-7, 317-pounder signed to a three-year, $8 million contract in March that included a $2 million signing bonus and a total of $2.8 million in guaranteed money. He's due a $500,000 roster bonus on the fourth day of the 2014 league year.
After a dominant preseason and offseason, Canty had a strong start this season, including one sack and two forced fumbles against the Buffalo Bills. Overall, he has 27 tackles, two sacks and four pass deflections.
It's similar numbers to what he did last season in nine games for the New York Giants as he was limited to nine games and 28 tackles and three sacks due to a knee injury that drew scrutiny from teams during free agent visits to the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs and the Tennessee Titans prior to signing with the Ravens.
Canty has played in all but one game this season due to a groin injury.
"I would have liked to have performed a little bit better, but it is what it is in the National Football League," Canty said. "We still have an opportunity to get to where we want to be. That's all I can focus on."
The Bengals are undefeated in seven games at Paul Brown Stadium this year and haven't gone unbeaten at home since the 1988 season when they went to the Super Bowl. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is on a tear having thrown 10 touchdowns with just one interception in December so far.
"Cincinnati is a much more precise team offensively at home," Canty said. "Looking at it from a defensive perspective, we'll definitely have to shore up some things we didn't do so well against the New England Patriots and give ourselves the best chance to be successful. We have to do a better job of playing team defense collectively and everybody understanding where they're supposed to be. That's what we can take away and learn from the Patriots game."