Ravens - Bengals: 5 reasons for the outcome

1. In an embarrassing, rare defensive collapse, the Baltimore Ravens (7-5) squandered a 17-point advantage and lost 27-26 to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The loss seriously damages the Ravens' playoff outlook, likely requiring them to win their remaining four games, including road encounters with the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, to be assured of a wild-card berth.

It marked the first road win for the Bengals over a team with a winning mark since Dec. 2, 1990, a string of 42 losses. It's the first time that a Brian Billick team had ever surrendered a two-touchdown lead, dropping to 35-1 in those circumstances.

The Bengals scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, the most points allowed ever in the final period by Baltimore. The 17-point lead that was lost was the third-largest blown lead in a loss for Baltimore.

2. Quarterback Carson Palmer absolutely shredded the Ravens' suddenly suspect secondary. He passed for a career-high 382 yards, the third most allowed by Baltimore in team history. Palmer's 80.6 completion percentage included two fourth-quarter spikes was the third highest ever against the Ravens. Palmer threw three touchdowns, completing 29 of 36 passes with one interception for a 127.1 passer rating. Palmer was only sacked three times and had plenty of time to pick out his open targets.

3. Wide receivers T.J. Houshmandazeh and Chad Johnson had their way with cornerbacks Gary Baxter and Chris McAlister, spinning them around into football oblivion. Both caught 10 passes apiece, with Houshmandzeh gaining 171 yards with a touchdown and Johnson producing 161 yards and two sores. They averaged 17.1 and 16.1 yards, respectively. They ran superb routes and kept the secondary flat-footed and tentative.

4. Rookie B.J. Sams' muffed a punt at the end of the third quarter on the Ravens' 19 with Baltimore leading 20-3, and his fumble set up Palmer's subsequent touchdown pass Johnson to begin the Bengals' dramatic comeback. Including that short drive, Cincinnati scored on four consecutive possessions.

5. Despite Chester Taylor's career-high 139 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, the Ravens converted only 1 of 4 red-zone opportunities.
Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

Aaron Wilson is the chief writer for RavensInsider.Com He is also the Ravens' reporter for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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