OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens could easily be 4-0 if they were better at closing out games.
However, they blew double-digit leads in the second half in home losses to the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.
Baltimore had won 61 straight games under coach John Harbaugh when they had led by 17 points or more before those two losses, according to ESPN.
The Ravens have another tough test this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are also capable of putting together late drives.
If the Ravens get the lead, they'll have to be able to effectively run the ball to keep the Bengals offense off the field. They will also have to prevent quarterback Joe Burrow from slinging the ball around the field like he did last season against them.
“Finish. Finish. Simple. We’ve got to finish," right tackle Morgan Moses said. "We can’t come out in the second half and not move the ball five yards. When you come out in the second half and you get the ball first, you’ve got to make movement, you’ve got to make that defense feel you, and we didn’t do that. As players, it’s our job to go out there and execute, whether it’s [in] rain, sleet, or snow – it doesn’t matter – and we’ve got to be better at that; as a collective group, we know that.
"And so, especially, coming into next week, we’ve got that Sunday night game against Cincinnati … That’s a defense that thrives on mistakes and a defense that thrives on competition. So, it’s [on] us to bring our best competition on Sunday and get ready for that.”
The Ravens have been better running the ball with the return of J.K. Dobbins. However, they could be without Justice Hill, who is averaging 6.6 yards per carry, after he suffered a hamstring injury in Week 4 against the Bills.
The injury to Hill should not be long term and Gus Edwards is expected to return to practice this week.
"I think we dodged a bullet on that," Harbaugh said about Hill. "It’s not a serious hamstring. That doesn’t mean he won’t be out for a little bit, but it’s not going to be one of those long-term hamstrings, they say. So, I always take that with a little bit of a grain of salt, but good news on that front.”
While the Ravens are ranked dead last against the pass, they have been successful in creating turnovers. Baltimore had 15 takeaways last season, but they already have 10 this year.
That will be key against Burrow, who torched the Ravens for 941 yards passing with seven touchdowns last season.
The Ravens have to play well against Cincinnati for four quarters or they will likely not win the game.
The players understand this challenge.
"We have to finish the game," defensive back Brandon Stephens said. "It’s not a play here or there, we just have to finish the game. We’re going to look at the film, make the corrections we need to make. We have a big-time game next week, so we just have to move forward to that.”