A successful, yet unimpressive, end to the regular season

For the most part, those in the Ravens locker room were upbeat after their 13-6 win over the Bengals in the regular season finale.

And they should be.

The Ravens are heading back to the playoffs for a third straight year, and with today’s victory, they finish the season with a sparkling 12-4 record, their best mark since 2006.

But while the Steelers were busy manhandling the Browns and clinching the AFC North in convincing fashion, the Ravens - yet again - were barely squeaking by a statistically mediocre team.

With 16 seconds left, the Bengals had the ball at the Baltimore two-yard line, and had a shot at a potential game-winning score.

Cincinnati put up 395 total yards of offense, converted on 41 percent of their third down opportunities, and held the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than the Ravens.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore offense managed just 199 yards of offense, had only 10 first downs, and again struggled to move the ball through the air.

This coming against a team that won four games this season. Yikes.

“I don’t know, I don’t have much to say,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said after the game. “It’s just one of those days.”

The Ravens seem to have had a lot of those days, however.

Yes, there were bright spots. Ed Reed had two more interceptions, and the defense forced five turnovers overall. Getting takeaways is something that this group has excelled at lately.

Tight end Todd Heap got back into the fold after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, and looked to be in peak form, making three grabs for a team-high 53 yards.

Place kicker Billy Cundiff and punter Sam Koch continue to dominate in the kicking game, which will be a huge edge for the Ravens in the playoffs.

There were quite a few things that head coach John Harbaugh and his team could be proud of. But even while praising his team’s effort, Harbaugh could admit that it wasn’t a very smooth effort from his group.

“You get to this point in time in the season, and you don’t look at how pretty it is or anything like that,” Harbaugh said. “Bottom line, you find a way to win the game, and you have to be happy about that and feel good about that.”

Maybe so. But it sure would’ve been nice to see a blowout win this afternoon with the postseason just around the corner.

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