Bengals-Ravens:5 reasons for the Ravens loss

1. Within the Baltimore Ravens' 21-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, the home team committed multiple, monumental failures in the red zone. The last-place Ravens were limited to three field goals in going 0-for-4 inside the Bengals' 20-yard line. In a stark contrast to this ineptitude, first-place Cincinnati was 3-for-3 in the red zone. The players had few answers for why they can't score touchdowns as the team has only scored seven this year, lowest in the NFL.

Quarterback Anthony Wright, whose inaccuracy in the red zone is a major factor along with the inability to punch the football in on the ground, theorized that the Bengals dropped extra defenders into the end zone. That's a commonly-used strategy, though, by all NFL defensive coordinators. Especially when the offense isn't a big running threat. The red-zone struggles is one of the fundamental reasons why Baltimore (2-6) is all but mathematically eliminated from contending for a wild-card berth as they would need to go 8-0 in the second half of the season. It's a completely unlikely scenario.

2. Running back Jamal Lewis was stymied for the first time in his career against the Bengals. He entered the game averaging 135 yards against Cincinnati with seven 100-yard games, but was held to a mere 49 yards on 15 carries. He did exceed his 3.0 average with 3.3 per carry. Scrambling quarterbacks Wright (3-36) and Kordell Stewart (3-30) outshined Lewis and Chester Taylor (3-9).

3. An inadvertent whistle, an admitted official's error, took a touchdown away from the Ravens in the third quarter. Safety Will Demps' 58-yard fumble return was negated when an official mistakenly blew the whistle. There's no official remedy for that mistake, and Baltimore went three-and-out to waste the turnover.

4. Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer consistently made the plays that his team needed against the NFL's second-ranked pass defense. He converted 19 of 26 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 128.4 passer rating. Cincinnati converted 7 of 11 third downs.

5. The Bengals fumbled four times, but Baltimore only recovered one of them.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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