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Seven Points: Steelers 13, Ravens 10

Here is what's on my mind after the Ravens lost to the Steelers, 13-10, on Sunday night:

1. The Ravens have blown fourth-quarter leads on a few occasions, and doing it again Sunday night cost them the AFC North, home-field advantage and a far less perilous path in the playoffs. But this time, the blame falls squarely on Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. The Ravens could only muster 96 yards of total offense in the second half, and Flacco's late fumble put the Steelers on the Ravens' doorstep, and they capitalized. Then with a chance to pull the rug out from under the Steelers again, Flacco one-hopped a fourth-down pass to tight end Ed Dickson, who was wide open. Expect Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to take the heat for this one.

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2. Heading into Sunday's game, Flacco said that he would be looking for Troy Polamalu's hair before the snap. But he didn't see the unblocked Steelers safety coming on the hit that jarred the ball -- and a win -- loose from the Ravens. Flacco shouldn't be blamed for the sack and the strip, but someone needs to explain why no one accounted for the hair on that one.

3. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't look like himself in the first half -- and no, I'm not referring to his busted nose. Playing with an injured foot, Roethlisberger was erratic, missing open receivers and sailing passes downfield. His mobility was such an issue, the Steelers regularly operated out of the shotgun and piston formations to cut down on the five- and seven-step drops. But Roethlisberger reverted back to a Ravens nemesis at halftime, completing 13 of his 21 second-half pass attempts for 161 yards and a touchdown. Like his bloodied face, his performance wasn't pretty, but Roethlisberger got it done against the Ravens. Again.

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4. Terrell Suggs came to play Sunday, sacking Roethlisberger twice (he got help from Haloti Ngata on one) and hitting him hard on three other plays. Suggs always seems to sizzle against the Steelers -- with 9.5 career sacks against Roethlisberger, he has toppled Big Ben more often than anyone in the league -- and if he stays this scorching hot down the stretch, he might make the All-Pro team. The Pro Bowl? That's already a done deal at this point.

5. Flacco hadn't been looking Anquan Boldin's way often over the past few weeks, but in the biggest game of the season to date, Flacco remembered to go to his go-to guy. Boldin was targeted nine times, hauling in five catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. His 61-yard reception in the first quarter set up the only Baltimore touchdown, and his late fourth-down conversion was one of the Ravens' last gasps before running out of air. Unfortunately for the Ravens, the bright spots on offense were scarce besides Boldin.

6. Without Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain blasting running lanes and blowing up linebackers -- and with the recently-signed Jason McKie, a puzzling scratch, standing on the sidelines in street clothes -- the Ravens ran for just 43 yards on 20 carries. Sure, the Steelers entered the game with the NFL's top-ranked run defense, but who thinks McClain should be cut now?

7. Ray Lewis had a ho-hum 13 tackles, and you can be sure he was disgusted by the shoddy tackling that allowed Issac Redman to score the game-winning score. Dawan Landry and Jarret Johnson both whiffed as Redman caught a short pass, ran across the field and spun into the end zone. The Ravens were that close to wrapping up the AFC North title, but they let it slip away.

Heck, it was such a critical game, here are three more quickies:

8. When tight end Todd Heap injured his hamstring on the Ravens' first offensive play, his understudy, Ed Dickson, got a chance to show off his talents. That first-half drop out of the backfield summed it up. He has surprising speed and athleticism, but he has yet to put it all together. Dickson will be a player to watch.

9. Sending Donte' Stallworth deep? Novel concept, Cam Cameron.

10. The Ravens will be a playoff team a month from now. There's no doubt about that. But they have to get some help to win the AFC North and track down an elusive home playoff game. The Ravens, who will probably have to win out, need the Steelers to lose to the Browns or the Bengals to have a chance at getting the tiebreakers to fall into place. A loss to Rex Ryan's Jets would come in handy, too.

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