Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots
Before we look toward Sunday's season finale in Cincinnati, Childs Walker analyzes what he learned from the Ravens' disappointing home loss to the New England Patriots.
Image 1 of 5
1. This was a stinging defeat, but don't expect the Ravens to be haunted by it( Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun / December 22, 2013 )
There's no positive spin to put on this game, even if the 41-7 score was misleading because of sloppy play after the result was decided.
Joe Flacco looked wobbly on his injured knee, and the Ravens made far too many mistakes all over the field against a Patriots team that made few.
On the other hand, the loss does very little to change the Ravens' mission Sunday in Cincinnati. One way or another, they would have gone there craving a win against a team they know very well.
Sure, they'll be playing for an uncertain wild-card berth rather than the AFC North title. Just don't expect the Ravens to dwell on that difference.
I've said it all season, this is a mentally strong team led by a mentally strong coach. They don't give in, regardless of how circumstances change around them. They treat each game as a discrete problem rather than getting swept away in the emotions of winning and losing streaks.
That's why they're still in contention despite myriad flaws they haven't entirely fixed.
The Ravens won't have the luxury of playing Bengals team with no incentive to win. A Bengals victory and Patriots loss next weekend would give Cincinnati a first-round bye, because the Bengals hold the tie-breaker over New England.
The Ravens will try to become the first team all season to win in Cincinnati, where Andy Dalton is a more efficient quarterback than the guy they abused in Baltimore.
It's a daunting challenge. But I'll be surprised if the Ravens shrink from it simply because they played a dud this week.