PITTSBURGH — The Ravens still have quarterback Drew Brees and Philip Rivers left on the schedule. And if they somehow get to the playoffs, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady will probably be waiting.
The Ravens secondary was already struggling, and it's worse without star cornerback Jimmy Smith, who will miss several more weeks with a foot injury.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes and had a passer rating of over 125 against the Ravens Sunday night at Heinz Field.
The problem is that the Ravens won't get much better. The trade deadline has passed. There are free agents available, but if they were any good they would be on a roster.
The Ravens can still play and beat most teams in the AFC, but they will struggle against any that has a good quarterback. They stayed with the Steelers last night until Roethlisberger threw his fifth touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant with 9:31 seconds left in the game to put Pittsburgh ahead, 36-17.
When rookie runningback Lorenzo Taliaferro fumbled during the preseason, coach John Harbaugh reduced his playing time.
Now, we'll see what happens during the regular season. Taliaferro's fumble in the second quarter led to a Pittsburgh touchdown. With reserve running back Bernard Pierce struggling, it would seem Harbaugh would be forced to play Taliaferro behind starter Justin Forsett.
It will be interesting to see if Taliaferro is headed to the doghouse, again.
Smith strikes again
Ravens receiver Torrey Smith has a history of catching long passes against Pittsburgh, usually against Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. Taylor did not play Sunday night because of a broken arm.
Smith, though, had a 35-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter beating cornerback Brice McCain down the right sideline. He had the opportunity for a 28-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter, but dropped a tough, over-the-shoulder pass.
Smith, though, should have made the catch, especially since he wants a new contract next season.
There was criticism of Pittsburgh getting too old over the years, but the old-timers were making plays Sunday night.
Linebacker James Harrison, a 12-year veteran out of Kent State, was harassing quarterback Joe Flacco, especially in the first half. And then there is the ageless one, safety Troy Polamalu, who was hanging around the line of scrimmage on running plays and blitzing the Ravens off the corner.
As much as some things have changed, some things have remained the same.
In the first half, Ravens receiver Steve Smith short-armed a quick screen pass. Apparently, he got a glimpse of Polamalu about to zero in on him.
I've never been a big Pittsburgh fan, but admit it was neat watching the Steelers retire former defensive tackle Joe Greene's No. 75 jersey.
Even though Greene might have been the best defensive lineman to ever play the game, his Coke commercial was an all-time favorite of just about everyone.
Finding a weakness
The Ravens offensive line has improved significantly from a year ago, but this group still has problems picking up stunts, especially loops inside. The Redskins first exposed the weakness during preseason, and apparently Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have studied the same tape.
Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley is excellent in pass coverage, but it's hard for him to cover a running back like Le'Veon Bell all over the field.
It's a clear mismatch and Pittsburgh kept going back to it. Unfortunately, the Ravens didn't make any adjustments.