The Ravens’ stunning 31-27 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday evening was caused, in part, by a slow-starting offense that failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter for the eighth consecutive game.
The unit’s ineffectiveness in the first half was exacerbated by a high number of dropped passes. The five drops in the first two quarters were somewhat uncharacteristic for a team that had entered the contest with only 11 drops, according to STATS.
Wide receiver Mike Wallace finished with five catches for 40 yards and a 6-yard touchdown, but could have had more if he had not dropped two critical balls in the first quarter.
On the offense’s first series, Wallace failed to collect a play-action pass from quarterback Joe Flacco that would have been enough to gain a first down. Two possessions later on third down-and-3, Wallace dropped a ball on a slant route that would have earned another first down.
“We missed a couple plays,” said Wallace, who was targeted a team-high 13 times on Sunday. “Myself in particular definitely missed a couple plays in the game, but I don’t think it really did much to us honestly. I think guys came back and made a lot of plays. It would be a different story if we lost 40-0. We came back and put ourselves in position to win. So every one of the guys that missed a play in the first half came back and made a big play in the second half. Obviously, you want to make all of the plays in the football game. You’ll win 100-0 if you do that, but that’s not going to happen. You know they’re going to have some downs in a football game, but you’ve just got to keep fighting. Like I said, they just made one more play than we did.”
To be fair, Wallace was not the only player afflicted by a case of the dropsies. Running backs Alex Collins and Buck Allen and tight end Benjamin Watson also could not corral catchable balls in the first half, and the missed opportunities began to draw boos from the crowd.
The Ravens finished the season with only 16 dropped passes, which is tied for the 11th-lowest total in the NFL, according to STATS. Allen disputed any notion that the drops made a significant impact in the final score of Sunday’s contest.
“It’s the game of football,” he said. “You’re going to drop some, you’re going to fumble some, you’re going to throw interceptions. That’s the game of football. We’ve just got to be positive about that and get right.”
End zone: Flacco said he did not anticipate requiring any surgical procedures on the back injury that forced him to miss much of the preseason. … Despite several nagging injuries, middle linebacker C.J. Mosley said he intends to play in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28. … Wide receiver Michael Campanaro said the results of an MRI he took Monday morning were positive and that he will not require surgery on his sprained right ankle, which was in a walking boot. “Nothing serious,” the Clarksville native and River Hill graduate said. “Dodged a bullet. Just out a few weeks.” … Cornerback Jimmy Smith showed up in the locker room for the first time since tearing his left Achilles tendon on Dec. 3 against the Detroit Lions. Smith, who used a scooter, declined to talk to the media. … The team announced signing running back John Crockett, offensive tackle Steven Moore, fullback Ricky Ortiz, and quarterback Josh Woodrum to reserve/futures contracts.