Bengals vs. Ravens: Different Day, Same Story for Cincinnati

Michael HammonsCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 2:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals fumbles the ball with less than two  minutes to go in the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

The Bengals competed hard and put themselves in great position to win the game, but costly mistakes prevented victory.

Stop if you have heard that before.

I will give them this: Unlike the Cleveland Browns, who spit in the faces of their fans with that disgraceful performance against the Steelers, the Bengals never quit at any point this season.

Today was no exception.  The defense held the playoff-bound Ravens in check, as the hosts only tallied 199 yards of offense.

Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap were in Joe Flacco's face all day, as the duo on the line gives Bengals fans hope for the future.

Offensively, Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell picked up where they left off last week, and Carson Palmer threw for over 300 yards.

However, five turnovers today did them in, as they lost 13-7 to cap off a 4-12 season. Miscues by Palmer and Simpson take a bit of shine off the numbers they posted.

In the words of Jim Mora: "When you turn the ball over five times, you aren't gonna beat anybody."

It wasn't a high school team, junior college team or a college team that the Bengals were playing (more golden Mora magic), it was the Baltimore Ravens, a solid NFL operation that will make you pay for those type of mistakes.

Surprisingly, they were still in strong position to win the game, but a last-second drive came up short, and Marvin Lewis (among others) probably jogged off the field for the final time while donning black and orange.

In a season that began with so much hope and promise, it ends like many prior seasons, where questions have to be answered, people have to be held accountable and the future direction of the franchise is uncertain.