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Instant Analysis on Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Steelers

How our columnists, reporters and editors viewed the Steelers’ 23-20 win over the Ravens:

Peter Schmuck, columnist: Let the record show that a banged-up team with a third-string quarterback found a way to keep themselves alive in the playoff hunt and the Ravens found a number of ways to lose for the first time in forever at M&T Bank Stadium. They'll remember this one when they board their first charter flight during the playoffs.

Kevin Cowherd, columnist: The Ravens said all week their game against the Steelers would be the usual alley fight, even with Ben Roethlisberger on the sidelines and Charlie Batch under center for Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, they were right. Only this time it was the Steelers who found a way to win, despite having a wildly erratic day on offense with a jittery Batch and wide receivers dropping balls all over the place.

Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens can't turn down gifts like this. This loss may have cost them home-field advantage in the playofffs.

Aaron Wilson, Ravens reporter: The Ravens blew their chance to clinch a playoff berth as Joe Flacco was outdueled by 37-year-old journeyman Steelers third-string quarterback Charlie Batch. In the grand scheme of things, this defeat only delays the Ravens clinching a postseason berth for the fifth year in a row and an eventual AFC North crown. However, it was still a disturbing loss considering the absence of Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens mismanaged the clock, timeouts and deserved to lose. The pass defense was shaky throughout. This marked the most yards Batch has thrown for during his time in Pittsburgh. The Ravens earned this loss as much as the Steelers pulled it out. Offensive guard Jah Reid struggled. And running back Ray Rice probably should have been involved more heavily considering the kind of success he and backup Bernard Pierce were having. Flacco simply didn't have it today. This marked the Ravens' first home loss in 16 games, breaking the longest current streak in the NFL.

Matt Vensel, blogger: I knew the Ravens' winning streak at M&T Bank Stadium wouldn't last forever, but I didn't think it would go down like this, with Charlie Batch — the 37-year-old Charlie Batch — shredding the Ravens secondary in the second half.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: Mike Tomlin looks like the smartest guy on the planet. The Steelers coach had faith in a 37-year-old, third-string quarterback when everyone was trying to rush Big Ben Roethlisberger back. Now the 7-5 Steelers could have Roethlisberger back for the stretch run with a favorable schedule. Big win for the Steelers.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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