Wake-up caw: Revisiting Ravens' finale

The Baltimore Ravens' reign as Super Bowl champions unceremoniously ended in a 34-17 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

This is the second straight year that the defending Super Bowl champions failed to make the playoffs. The last time this happened in consecutive years was the 2002 New England Patriots and 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Ravens are also the eighth straight defending champions to not win a playoff game.

Here's my column on why the Ravens didn't deserve to make the playoffs (I'm sure you could make the same argument for all of the AFC teams fighting for that final postseason spot.). The Ravens will also flip a coin with the Dallas Cowboys to see which team picks No. 16 and No. 17. If you're already looking to next season, here are the Ravens' 2014 home and away opponents.

What's next on the Ravens schedule is the players cleaning out their lockers Monday morning. Coach John Harbaugh will address the media on Tuesday.

For now, let's revisit some (mostly bad) trends from the regular-season finale:

Road woes: The Ravens' downfall this season was their inability to win on the road. Baltimore finished 2-6 away from home, which is surprising for a team that won two road games in last season's playoffs to get to the Super Bowl. The Ravens used to be one of the best road teams in the league. In coach John Harbaugh's first five seasons (2008-12), the Ravens were 21-19 (.525) on the road, which was tied for the sixth-best mark in the NFL. This is the second time under Harbaugh that the Ravens had a losing record on the road. It's their worst road record since 2007, when they went 1-7 away from home.

Disappearance of the deep pass: Joe Flacco continued to struggle throwing the ball deep downfield Sunday, going o-for-9 with an interception on passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air. This has been a trouble area for Flacco all season, but it was more difficult Sunday because he couldn't step into his throws with a sprained left knee. The nine attempts without a completion on passes 15-plus yards downfield were the most for Flacco in a game in his six-year career, according to ESPN Stats & Information. One of the reasons why the Ravens went on a strong postseason run last season was Flacco's big arm. He had more touchdowns on such passes in the four 2012 playoff games (five) than he had in 16 regular-season games in 2013 (three).

Lack of pressure: The Ravens' fading pass rush bottomed out against the Bengals. Baltimore managed no sacks or quarterback hits, according to the official stat sheet. This has been a bad trend for the defense. The Ravens totaled three sacks in their final five games, including three games without a sack. This was a much different result from the earlier meeting with the Bengals. On Nov. 10, the Ravens recorded five sacks and nine quarterback hits on quarterback Andy Dalton. Baltimore never matched that type of pass rush the rest of the season.

Tucker time: Just in case you had any doubts who was the Ravens' most valuable player, kicker Justin Tucker delivered another reminder in the final game of the season. He hit three field goals: 38, 22 and 34 yards. In the last three games of the season, Tucker accounted for 66 percent of the Ravens' scoring (28 of 42) with nine field goals and one extra point. Tucker, who is headed to his first Pro Bowl, finished 38-of-41 on field goals this season (92.6 percent). His 38 field goals tied New England's Stephen Gostkowski for the most in the NFL this year.