The Ravens fell to the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday night, sending them into the bye week with plenty of questions.
Columnist Mike Preston has delivered his grades, and our team of writers has offered its complete breakdown of the 19-16 loss at Heinz Field.
Here's a look at what some outside media outlets are saying about the Ravens (3-4) today:
Robert Klemko of The MMQB writes that the Ravens need to go "back to the drawing board" after their latest running struggles:
Who are these Baltimore Ravens? Not the franchise that powered its way through the AFC North for a decade. And not the group that discovered a balanced offense in time to win a Super Bowl in February.
Take Baltimore’s final drive of Sunday’s 19-16 loss at Pittsburgh: With 10 minutes remaining, down 16-9, the Ravens went shotgun no-huddle and threw the ball, tossing in several draw plays after running to no effect in the first half (30 yards on nine carries against a 22nd-ranked run defense). In the end it was spread formations and deception—this from a team that went back to the well and re-signed big-bodied fullback Vonta Leach for $3.75 million in August.
The Steelers blog "Behind the Steel Curtain" no doubt took some pleasure depicting the Ravens as a team suffering from a classic case of the Super Bowl Hangover:
There was more riding on Sunday's Steelers/Ravens game than previously thought.
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens look like the champagne they consumed in the form of a league championship is causing a huge headache and massive gut rot.
They look hungover. And Steelers fans should know. The last time a defending Super Bowl champion has been below .500 after playing seven games was the Super Bowl hungover Steelers of 2006.
Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes that it's time to get concerned about the Ravens:
It's too early to write off the Baltimore Ravens, even though this is the first time they have a losing record this late in a season in their six years under John Harbaugh. But let's be honest: Their 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was further evidence it's time to have serious doubts whether the Ravens are physically and mentally good enough to turn around their season.
... Players and coaches talked about how the bye week can give this team the time it needs to improve. But can an extra week fix the same Ravens' problems that keep coming up week after frustrating week?
CBSSports' Will Brinson grades each team's performance from Sunday's games, giving the Ravens a C+ and the Steelers a B+:
Ray Rice couldn't get going on the ground again and the running game remains a concern. Joe Flacco wasn't stretching the field well on Sunday.
Massive win for Pittsburgh to hang around in the AFC North. Le'Veon Bell ran the ball well and Ben Roethlisberger had some big plays as well as an efficient game.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Jason Mackey had a Ravens notebook leading with the team's 'mixed bag for defense'
The Ravens entered Sunday's game with 22 sacks in six games, second in the NFL.
That trend continued, as Baltimore registered three sacks. Yet two other areas where the Ravens had been proficient took a hit.
The Steelers ran for 141 yards, nearly 43 more than what the Ravens were allowing (98.2, tied for seventh).
Baltimore had held opponents to a 31.2 percent success rate on third down, fourth in the league. Pittsburgh converted 7 of 12 (58 percent).
Chris Wesseling writes at NFL.com that this win for the Steelers puts them right back in the thick of the AFC North.
After their first 0-4 start since 1968, the Steelers have reeled off back-to-back victories to pull into a three-way tie with the Ravens and Browns in the loss column. Now that [running back Le'Veon] Bell and tight end Heath Miller have injected life into the offense, there's a strong argument to be made that this is the second-best team in the AFC North.
A playoff run isn't out of the question.
Gene Collier of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote that this game was physical enough to live up to Ravens-Steelers standards:
That Ravens kicker Justin Tucker survived an onsides kick attempt earlier in the [fourth] period could probably pass Vatican certification. Tucker, who'd earlier turned to the Steelers sideline and signaled "good" after the first of his three field goals, was trying to recover his own kick when he was struck by a 230-pound missile named Stevenson Sylvester.
Told later it appeared as though he'd nearly killed the kicker, Sylvester said, "I tried to."
Tucker went to the sideline bleeding from the ear, but by then it had long since been decided that in every way for which this series is famous or infamous, Sunday's game easily met the standard.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun