The Baltimore Ravens fell at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16, losing 41-21. The defeat puts Baltimore at 8-7, while Cincinnati moves to 9-6 and holds sole possession of first place in the AFC North plus the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Ravens, which is a very important thing to have.
Some of the key storylines in the contest included Baltimore having to start veteran quarterback Josh Johnson, the lack of Ravens’ secondary members as well as their inability to stop Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and more.
Below we look at five takeaways from Baltimore’s 41-21 loss to Cincinnati in Week 16.
QB Josh Johnson still has it
(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
Johnson has made his fair share of stops over the course of his professional football career. After playing in multiple leagues for countless teams, Johnson found himself back in Baltimore for the second time, and was thrust into a starting role in the Ravens’ most important game of the year.
All-in-all, Johnson played a sound game, as he completed 28-40 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He rarely made any mistakes, and showed some poise while delivering the football as well.
The Ravens have a phenomenal group of young wide receivers
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Once considered a major weakness of the team, Baltimore has made sure to invest plenty of capital into their wide receiver room over the past couple of years, especially in the draft. We are now starting to see just how much potential the young group of pass catchers on the Ravens’ roster has.
Playing without Devin Duvernay, other young wideouts such as James Proche II , Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace stepped up to the plate in Week 16. Many already know what Marquise Brown can do, and they even have veteran Sammy Watkins still on the roster. Baltimore appears to be mostly set at the wide receiver position for years to come, assuming the talented group can continue to grow and develop.
TE Mark Andrews is one of the heartbeats of the Baltimore franchise
(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
There are a few true heartbeats of the Ravens organization. While quarterback Lamar Jackson is the most important one, Andrews has shown why he also is massively important to the success of the team.
In Week 16 against the Bengals, Andrews put up another great performance, catching eight passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. He has shown up in plenty of big moments this season, and is a reliable security blanket for whoever is behind center for Baltimore.
ILB Patrick Queen is ready to live up to the expectations
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No one has had quite the second-half resurgence than Queen, who has been one of the Ravens’ best defenders over the better part of two months after struggling over the first few weeks of the 2021 season.
Queen put up another great performance in Week 16, finishing the game with nine total tackles and an impressive pass breakup. He looks a lot more confident and collected on the field, showing that he has what it takes to live up to the lofty expectations that were placed on him after being selected in the first round of the 2020 draft by Baltimore.
Baltimore’s secondary is (and has been) dangerously thin
(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)
There hasn’t been a lot that the Ravens have been able to do with how many injuries and absences they’ve suffered in their secondary. However, as players continue to go down, the unit is slowly entering the point of no return in terms of being too big of a liability to overcome.
In Week 15, the Baltimore defense held Aaron Rodgers to just 268 yards and three touchdowns, impressive numbers considering how many players were out on the Ravens’ back end. However, in Week 16 the team gave up 525 yards and four touchdowns to Joe Burrow, and ended the game with zero of their top seven cornerbacks from their preseason depth chart. Things obviously won’t be the same while being down so many talented playmakers at one positional group, and hopefully the team can get a few reinforcements next week such as cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Chris Westry. They’ll need strong performances against the talented pass catching weapons of the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers in Weeks 17 and 18. Otherwise, things could continue to go south, regardless of how well the rest of the team is playing.