The Baltimore Ravens clinched a playoff spot for the 4th consecutive season before Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers. Clinching was the only bright spot of the day as the Ravens put on a lackluster performance in another nationally televised game.

The game was ugly and painful to watch. The Chargers aren’t a great team and struggled this season, but their toughness outweighed that of the Ravens and the bolts “charged” through them to win the game 34-14.

The heart and soul of the Ravens defense, LB Ray Lewis, was back after missing the last four weeks with a turf toe injury. Sadly Lewis’ return failed to generate enough drive to keep the Ravens alive. He looked tired and off stride and the rest of the Ravens defense followed his lead and looked lifeless.

The offense didn’t fare better. QB Joe Flacco regressed again and fell short in throwing to his receivers and was picked off twice. Kicker Billy Cundiff is still nursing a calf injury and missed another field goal. His injury is a major concern to the Ravens, especially when they fail to convert in the red zone and need a healthy kicker to add field goals to the score board.

We can only speculate about the reasons for the Ravens inconsistencies all season. Coaching? Play calling? Shortened preseason? Injuries? While we will never know the cause, we can only hope the Ravens learn from their mistakes and move on.

And with that the loss, the Ravens were knocked out of first place and pushed down to fifth place. However, luck was on their side Monday Night when theSan Francisco49ers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens can thank their head coach’s younger brother for the win which moved the Ravens back to the No. 2 SEED and kept the dream alive of hosting a home playoff game. The dream only stays alive if they win their last two games. They have a winning record at home and home is where they need to be.

The last two weeks of the regular season bring divisional match-ups against the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. Both promise to be tough games, especially the week 17 road game against the Bengals who are currently in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Once again the Ravens can control their destiny and this week’s match-up is a home game against a team without a winning record, a combination that may help them walk away with another win.

By MelissaRubin

Self-proclaimed sports junkie. Lifelong Baltimore sports fan residing in DC. Baltimore Ravens are my favorite team, I'm a die-hard fan and in constant need of a football fix. Baltimore Orioles and Washington Capitals fan too. Follow her on Twitter @egoddess1