For a rookie, Joe Flacco held up well. He lost his composure briefly in the third quarter but regained it in the fourth. He showed nice touch on several passes but missed two potential touchdown passes. He has better mobility than most people think.
The Ravens did some nice things early and pulled well inside. But as the game wore on, they got beat on the edges. They had to use running backs and tight ends to help the tackles. Like the rest of the offense, the line had no continuity in the third quarter.
Flacco seems to have a connection with Derrick Mason, but the Ravens have to get more players involved to open things up. Tight end Todd Heap has become a nonfactor, and Demetrius Williams can't be a deep threat if he doesn't get the ball.
The Ravens ran hard, but there weren't a lot of running lanes. Willis McGahee took most of the load and was effective. Backup Le'Ron McClain ran hard, but his straight-ahead style doesn't work against Pittsburgh.
Tackles Justin Bannan and Haloti Ngata and end Trevor Pryce were dominant up front. They constantly harassed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In the first half, Ngata was the most disruptive force on the field.
Except for Jarret Johnson's boneheaded personal foul in the third quarter, this group was outstanding. Inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Bart Scott controlled the tempo, and the outside linebackers put a lot of pressure on Roethlisberger.
For a group missing two starters, they did OK. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger escaped pressure several times, allowing receivers to get open. The Ravens have to do a better job of tackling, especially cornerback Chris McAlister.
Punter Sam Koch was a major weapon, hitting several booming kicks. The coverage units on kickoffs and punts were OK, but the Ravens played poorly in the return game, especially on kickoffs.