Bengals fall to Ravens, make playoffs anyway

The good news, Bengals fans, is your team is heading to the playoffs.

The bad news, Bengals fans, is they’re not exactly soaring high into the postseason.

Despite a late comeback attempt, Cincinnati lost to Baltimore 24-16 on Sunday, finishing the regular season at 9-7. Because of the Broncos’ loss to Kansas City, the Bengals did clinch the AFC’s final wild card spot.

The first half saw the Bengals fall behind quickly, as Ravens running back Ray Rice scampered 70 yards on the game’s opening drive to put the visiting team ahead 7-0. Two more scores for the Ravens put the Bengals in a 17-3 hole at halftime.

Then, things started to pick up for the Bengals’ offense. Bernard Scott had a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter before a Mike Nugent field goal cut the deficit to just four points. But a key turnover would be the deciding factor.

With the Bengals driving midway through the fourth quarter, Andy Dalton fumbled the ball, turning possession over to the Ravens. Rice, who totaled 191 yards on the day, then broke off for a 51-yard touchdown run, proving to be the insurance touchdown.

The Bengals will now travel to Houston to take on the AFC South champion Houston Texans. Baltimore, meanwhile, has a first-round bye, the AFC North crown and time to see who its next opponent is.