A day after their toughest loss of the season, a 24-21 defeat against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens were not swallowing reality with any ease.
How could they blow a 21-3 halftime lead at home against a divisional rival headed nowhere near the Super Bowl? How could their offense get shut out and hold the ball for only eight minutes in the second half? How could they allow the Bengals to drop them into a three-way tie for last place in the AFC Central Division?
"I feel like a punk for talking about a game I didn't play in," said center Steve Everitt, who has missed two games with a torn pectoral muscle and may not return for another two weeks. "Between relaxing and giving them a chance to get back in the game in the second half, we didn't do the job. I think we relaxed a little bit at halftime. You get used to beating a team, and maybe we relaxed after getting up on them early."
Before Sunday, the Ravens had beaten Cincinnati seven consecutive times as the Cleveland Browns, dating to 1992.
"I'm still trying to figure out what happened. I don't know," safety Bennie Thompson said. "You can't point fingers at the offense [which gained only six first downs in the second half and abandoned the running game with an 18-point lead]. If the defense had gotten their butts off the field, they wouldn't have been on the field for so long."
If the Ravens do not win their first road game of the year when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, a losing season is all but assured, with road games looming against the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers and home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Oilers.
Langham a long shot
Cornerback Antonio Langham, who pulled his right hamstring early in the second half against the Bengals and had to cut short his best performance of the year, did not sound optimistic about returning against the Jaguars.
"It was tight and sore as all outdoors this morning," Langham said of his hamstring. "There's a lot of aching and throbbing going on. It's a day-to-day thing. To be honest, it might be tough for me to get out on the field all week."
Trainer Bill Tessendorf said Langham probably will not practice until late in the week, if at all.
Burnett set for surgery
Defensive end Rob Burnett, whose season ended in Indianapolis Oct. 13, when he tore two ligaments in his right knee after his shoe got caught in the RCA Dome turf, will have surgery Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Pub Date: 11/05/96