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Instant analysis of Ravens' loss to Bengals

The Baltimore Sun
After coming back twice to take the lead in the fourth quarter, did you really think the Ravens would lose?

The Baltimore Sun's football writers and experts react to the result of the Ravens' Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals:

Mike Preston, columnist: The bottom line is that the Ravens just aren't a good enough football team yet. They don't have a running game. They commit too many penalities. They don't have many playmakers and they couldn't cover a table with a table cloth. They are inconsistent from quarter to quarter and have earned an 0-3 record. And it might not get better until they go to Cleveland in two weeks.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: The Ravens have only themselves to blame. They've had second-half leads in every game this season and they are now 0-3. The offense isn't exempt from blame. They sleep-walked through the first half and committed way too many penalties to win. But obviously, the defense blowing two different fourth-quarter leads while offering little to no resistance is the primary takeaway. Everybody wants to blame coaching, specifically defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Everybody wants to blame Terrell Suggs' loss. Everyone wants to blame the secondary. With the number of games the Ravens have blown over the past couple of years, it's clear that it's a combination of everything. The Ravens defense has deteriorated rapidly. There's enough talent there to work with, but the Ravens have to figure something out or this season will continue to go downhill and the Ravens will be on the clock very early on draft night.  

Jon Meoli, reporter: Another late-game letdown. Another game in which the running game never got going. Another game in which no one outside of Steve Smith Sr. was a viable offensive threat. And another loss to the Cincinnati Bengals—the Ravens’ fourth in a row. This one drops the Ravens to 0-3, with just three days of preparation to get them ready for a road game with the Steelers that appears now to be a scary proposition. This is a team on the brink.

Childs Walker, reporter: Get out the shovel for the Ravens’ 2015 season. As hard as they fought to come back against the Bengals, we have no reason to believe this is a team that will become the first since 1998 to start 0-3 and make the playoffs. Steve Smith delivered one of the great individual efforts in team history to give them a chance. But A.J. Green was just as unstoppable for the Bengals, and the Ravens made far too many mistakes,  capped by Kelechi Osemele’s face mask to stall their final drive. It was a thrilling game, but that’s cold comfort.

Alexander Pyles, Ravens editor: The defense failed to stop the Bengals for most of the day and the offense counted too heavily on Steve Smith Sr. Sound familiar? At 0-3, the Ravens have lost three games they had the chance to win in the fourth quarter, and there's little reason to expect that trend to change this season.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Ravens played and coached for their lives against the Bengals and it still wasn't enough. Fake field goals? Going for it on fourth down on your side of the 50? After another slow start, they tried everything. Yet the defense again let them down in the end.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: It's tempting to say that the Ravens' playoff hopes were completely dashed by this disheartening 0-3 start -- and they probably were -- but their ridiculously front-loaded, West Coast-laden road schedule makes it difficult to draw a direct line from their 0-3 record to the scant percentage of teams that have come back from that to reach the playoffs. There is a big chunk of their schedule that will be very favorable if they can get through the next month without coming completely unglued. 

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