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Ravens Officially Eliminated From Playoff Contention


The Ravens officially aren't going to the playoffs.

Baltimore's dim playoff hopes officially ended with Sunday's lopsided loss to the Seahawks at M&T Bank Stadium.

The defeat knocked the Ravens out of the playoff race before the last week of the season for the first time in Head Coach John Harbaugh's tenure, and it also guaranteed the Ravens' first losing season since 2007. 

It was the worst loss in the worst season of the Harbaugh era.

"Obviously a very, very tough outcome, and we're not happy about it," Harbaugh said. "Worst we've played all year, by far."

The loss to Seattle was much different from any others this season.

The Ravens haven't won many games, but kept them close. All 12 of their previous games had been decided by one score or less – an NFL record – and the Ravens had a chance to win or tie the score late in the fourth quarter in all eight of their previous losses. 

But that streak came to a screeching halt against Seattle. The Seahawks controlled the game on both sides of the ball, shutting down Baltimore's offense and then hitting big plays in their passing game.

Seattle pulled away from the Ravens in the second half, and ultimately left Baltimore with a 35-6 victory. 

"It couldn't be the kind of game that got away from us," Harbaugh said. "If it was going to be a game that got away from us, it was going to be a game where we were going to struggle. We knew that."

The Ravens had issues across the board.

They turned the ball over twice. They couldn't run the ball and finished with just 28 yards on the ground. They had breakdowns in the secondary that resulted in big plays for Seattle. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for five touchdowns.

The offense was down to third-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen because Matt Schaub was out with a chest injury, and the Ravens took the field without starters at seven offensive positions. The impact of the injuries was clear, as the Ravens' six points were their lowest output since a 20-3 loss at Indianapolis in the 2009 postseason.

Once Seattle took a 21-6 lead early in the third quarter, the Ravens couldn't play themselves back into the game.

"If you give up big plays, you turn the ball over against a team like that, you just have no chance," Harbaugh said.

Facing Seattle at this point in the season was a nightmare assignment for the Ravens in many ways.

The Seahawks came into the matchup winners off three straight and in the middle of the NFC playoff hunt. The back-to-back NFC champions are again playing the kind of football that earned them two-straight trips to the Super Bowl.

They are red-hot right now, and they outplayed a Ravens team depleted with injuries.

"I'm not going to stand here and make excuses," cornerback Jimmy Smith said. "We know what the situation is. We know what we came from. We know what we don't have. Playing in games against teams that are fighting to make the playoffs is going to be even tougher on us. Obviously, you saw that today."

The Ravens have three games left this season, and they will enter new territory by playing in games with no possibility of getting into the playoffs. Only right guard Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch have played for the Ravens when the playoff chances were gone.

While they won't have the playoffs as motivation during the final three weeks of the year, the Ravens still expressed confidence that they can play the kind of football that kept them in every single game before Sunday's disappointing outcome.

"The one thing you always know is we are going to fight to the last whistle," Smith said. "I believe we did that today. We just got outplayed."

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