Here’s what the Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday night’s AFC wild-card playoff game at Paycor Stadium.
Childs Walker, reporter: What a cruel turn for Tyler Huntley, who was playing the game of his life only to lose a potential goal-line win. The Ravens probably should have turned the ball over to a running back on that fateful third down, but it’s Huntley who will feel the agony. The Ravens didn’t play like a team that expected to lose. They immediately went against their narrow formula for the win when Huntley threw an interception on his second down of the game. The Bengals punished his sloppiness with a two-score touchdown drive. But the Ravens responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive and evened the turnover battle when Kyle Hamilton stripped Hayden Hurst of the ball with a ferocious punch. The Ravens couldn’t have asked for a better halftime scenario, one up with the ball coming back to them to start the third quarter. They continued to take the fight to the Bengals in the second half, answering a touchdown drive with one of their own and moving within a yard of taking a 24-17 lead before Huntley’s fumble and 98-yard touchdown return. by Sam Hubbard. The Ravens played and outhit the heavily favored Bengals for much of the night, but that will be little consolation as they begin a long offseason, with Lamar Jackson’s uncertain future in Baltimore likely to be one of the biggest stories of the league. NFL in the coming months.
Hayes Gardner, reporter: The Ravens’ offense played its best game without Lamar Jackson. And the defense was also strong enough to win. Ultimately though, a catastrophic play doomed them.
CJ Doon, editor: It’s rare for a loser on the road to absorb such a heartbreaking loss, especially in the postseason. The Ravens came within inches of taking the lead in the fourth quarter, only to see Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard run 98 yards for the longest fumble return touchdown in NBA playoff history. nfl. That failed drive dwarfs what was a gutsy performance for Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley, who will be thinking about that stretch at the goal line for a long, long time. The Ravens won’t be interested in moral victories after such a disappointing end to the season, but the stifling defense and a resurgent JK Dobbins provide some hope for the future, as long as the offense can find some reliable receivers. (Okay, that’s a big if.) At the end of the day, they were just a few breaks away from pulling off a stunning upset. There will be plenty of time to discuss Lamar Jackson’s future this offseason. How this team changes, both in players and coaches, will be fascinating.
Tim Schwartz, editor: They say football is a game of inches. This game proved it. Another foot of extension from Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley could have changed the course of the franchise. It was an amazing play that understandably dwarfed what was the best performance of Huntley’s career. The Ravens fought, fought and scratched in a game that many expected would be closer than the 8 1/2 point margin and had several opportunities after the fateful fumble to drive in and tie the game, but they couldn’t pull it off. That sounds like his season as a whole: so close, but not quite good enough when it mattered most. Now, the most interesting offseason in Ravens history awaits with Lamar Jackson as a pending free agent. He brings your popcorn.