( Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam / December 18, 2011 )
Before the opening kickoff Sunday night, the Ravens knew that the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets had both lost earlier in the day, meaning that for a franchise-record fourth consecutive year, the Ravens were going to the playoffs.
But that's never what this regular season has been about for these Ravens. Their goal has always been to win the AFC North and get home-field advantage for the playoffs. But thanks to an abysmal performance in which the Ravens allowed San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to go down the field with little resistance all night, that goal just got a lot harder to attain.
The humbling 34-14 loss at Snapdragon Stadium before an announced 67,242 conjured up all the old concerns, including the Ravens' inability to deal with a quarterback with a quick release and dangerous receivers, Joe Flacco's continued inconsistency and the team's struggles on the road.
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