Rapid Reaction: Baltimore Ravens

December, 22, 2013
12/22/13
7:55
PM ET
BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots:

What it means: It was a monumental implosion for the Ravens, who conceded the AFC North to the Cincinnati Bengals and lost control of their playoff fate. After Baltimore lost to the AFC East champion Patriots (11-4), the only chance for the Ravens to reach the postseason is as a wild card. The Ravens (8-7) are now in a three-way tie with the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers for the last wild-card spot in the AFC. The Dolphins hold the edge because they have a better conference record. For the Ravens to make the postseason, they have to beat the Bengals in the regular-season finale and have either the Dolphins or Chargers lose. This ended the Ravens' four-game winning streak and marked the Ravens' fourth loss in their past 26 home games. It was the most lopsided loss in six seasons under coach John Harbaugh.

Stock watch: Falling: Joe Flacco. The Ravens' quarterback was clearly not the same with a sprained left knee, finishing 22-of-38 for 260 yards and two interceptions. The Patriots converted 10 points off Flacco turnovers. Flacco was erratic on his throws and went down without being touched at one point because he lost his footing. His 1-yard touchdown with 9:21 remaining helped the Ravens avoid their first shutout in 11 years.

Tucker's streak ends: Another sign that nothing was going right for Ravens was kicker Justin Tucker missing a 37-yard field goal wide left. It ended Tucker's string of 33 straight successful field goals, which had been the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. It was surprising to see Tucker on the field because the Ravens were down 20-0 early in the fourth quarter. The Ravens needed touchdowns, not field goals.

Secondary problems: The Ravens trailed 14-0 in the first quarter because of mistakes by their defensive backs. On the opening drive, cornerback Jimmy Smith was called for a 34-yard pass interference penalty, which set up a 1-yard touchdown run on the next play. On the second series, safety James Ihedigbo missed a tackle on Danny Amendola on a 34-yard play, which led to a touchdown two plays later.

What's next: The Ravens finish out the regular season by playing at the AFC North champion Bengals (10-5). Baltimore has lost three of its past three games at Cincinnati.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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