Notebook: Ravens' return man strikes again
By Matt Zenitz
PITTSBURGH - Jacoby Jones hesitated for a moment, patiently surveying the field and allowing his blocks to set up before exploding up the left sideline through a crease in the Steelers' punt coverage team. From there, he was off to the races, sprinting for 10 yards before progressively working his way to the other side of the field while outracing Pittsburgh punter Drew Butler to the right corner of the end zone.
Jones' 63-yard return for a score was his third return for a touchdown this season, a new Ravens single-season record, and played a key role in the Ravens' 13-10 win against the Steelers Sunday night.
"It was a great call by [special teams coordinator] Jerry Rosburg," Jones said. "He called a left return and the boys set the wall for me."
Jones had a 105-yard kick return for a score during Baltimore's win against the Raiders last week and a 108-yard kick return for a touchdown against the Cowboys earlier in the season.
"He's been huge," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Jones, later adding, "I'm proud of Jacoby. I'm proud of the special teams. Those are the hidden points that make differences in games. He's had three touchdowns now. That's huge."
PITTA INJURED: Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta left with a concussion early in the first quarter and didn't return to the game.
Pitta was injured on the Ravens' opening possession, hit hard by Steelers defenders Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Clark following a 5-yard catch on a low throw across the middle by quarterback Joe Flacco.
REID STARTS: Second-year player Jah Reid started at left guard Sunday night.
Starter Bobbie Williams (ankle) was inactive for the game.
Reid was Baltimore's third-round pick in last year's NFL draft. He played the majority of last week's win against the Raiders in place of the injured Williams. A day later, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said he saw "a lot of good things" from the second-year lineman, noting that, even if Williams played against the Steelers, he expected Reid to see playing time.
Left guard has been a problem spot for Baltimore's offensive line this year. Ramon Harewood was the starter for the first five games and Williams started each of the last four.
INACTIVES: Along with Williams, defensive tackle Terrence Cody (arm), defensive end Pernell McPhee (knee/thigh) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin/abs) were also inactive for the Ravens.
Cornerback Asa Jackson, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood and wide receiver/return specialist Deonte Thompson were healthy scratches for Baltimore.
TUCKER BOUNCES BACK: A quarter after pushing a 41-yard field goal attempt wide right, rookie kicker Justin Tucker connected on a 39-yard kick to put the Ravens up 13-7 midway with 6:49 left in the third quarter.
Tucker was 2-of-3 Sunday night. He is 19-of-21 on the season.
AFC NORTH DOMINANCE: Baltimore has now won 12 straight games against AFC North opponents, the longest active streak of any team against its own division in the NFL and tied for the longest divisional winning streak since division realignment in 2002.
The Ravens haven't lost a game to an AFC North opponent since falling to the Steelers, 13-10, Dec. 5, 2010.