For the second consecutive season, the defending Super Bowl champions will miss the playoffs.
The Ravens’ 34-17 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday, coupled with the Steelers’ win vs. the Browns, eliminates Baltimore from postseason contention. The Ravens, who captured Super Bowl XLVII in February, finished their season 8-8.
This is the first time the Ravens have missed the postseason since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008.
A lack of offensive punch doomed Baltimore. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 30-of-50 passes for a paltry 192 yards, and he was intercepted three times in the fourth quarter as Cincinnati put the game away with 17 unanswered points. Also, the Ravens again got little out of their running game, gaining just 47 yards on 14 carries.
The Bengals (11-5) would earn a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs with a Bills victory at New England on Sunday afternoon.
In victory, the Bengals overcame four interceptions from quarterback Andy Dalton, who did aid his cause with a pair of first-half TD passes and a fourth-quarter TD run.
The last defending Super Bowl champions to make the postseason were the 2011 Packers, who lost to the Giants in the divisional round. The Giants would go on to win Super Bowl XLVI, but they would miss the playoffs in 2012.