Instant analysis of the Ravens' 30-17 win over the Steelers

Read our experts' thoughts on the Ravens' AFC wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Aaron Wilson, reporter: Behind a clutch second half from quarterback Joe Flacco, timely turnovers created by the defense and a relentless pass rush, the Ravens manufactured an impressive AFC wild-card playoff win over their AFC North rivals, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-17, at Heinz Field. Following a tumultuous year that included several off-field controversies and 19 players being placed on injured reserve, the Ravens advance to the AFC divisional round where they’ll face the top-seeded New England Patriots next weekend at Gillette Stadium.

Jon Meoli, reporter: The league’s most positive fanbase surely had flashbacks to playoff glories past Saturday night. The secondary and quarterback Joe Flacco are both rather maligned, the former deservedly, and the latter not so much, but both came up huge. The cast of defensive backs stepped up in a big way, and Flacco was totally in control all game. Running back Justin Forsett looked as fresh as he has in a month, and it’s no coincidence the whole offense looked better as well. There are a lot of Patriots fans I know who are not thrilled with what they just saw, which means Ravens fans should be.

Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens were extremely physical and played with a sense of purpose. Quarterback Joe Flacco was able to spread the ball around, and the Ravens weren't afraid to take chances. Wins in Pittsburgh are always tough, but this one was special. A total domination by the Ravens. 

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Justin Forsett fumble was a huge gut check for the Ravens, and they responded immediately and dynamically to win a playoff game in Pittsburgh for the first time. Anyone still wondering if Joe Flacco is an elite quarterback? Anybody still want Rex Ryan back at defensive coordinator? It has been a very, very difficult season, but it just got a lot better. Who knows what happens next week in New England, but I can tell you this. The Patriots want no part of the team that showed up at Heinz Field tonight.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: John Harbaugh and the Ravens simply know how to win playoff games. Even if the Steelers had Le’Veon Bell, I don’t see him making that much of a difference with the way the Ravens played Saturday night. This was a beatdown on their archrival’s home field. This one will sting in Pittsburgh for a long time.

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