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Instant analysis of the Ravens' 43-23 loss to the Steelers in Week 9

Baltimore Sun reporters, columnists and editors share their immediate reaction to the Ravens' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9 of the NFL season.

Aaron Wilson, reporter: In a major setback to the Ravens' hopes of winning a division title and returning to the playoffs, they lost their second consecutive game and are now in last place in the ultra-competitive AFC North division. The Ravens' defense was incapable of slowing down red-hot Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who delivered six touchdown passes and now has 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his past two games. With cornerback Jimmy Smith out for several weeks with a sprained left foot, the secondary has no answer for any passing game with two good wide receivers like the Steelers have in Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

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Jon Meoli, reporter: After all that good football this year, that's what the Ravens show on a national stage. Pittsburgh wasn't able to do it from the start, but once Ben Roethlisberger had the time to exploit the Ravens' secondary, it was open season for the Steelers' passing attack. There was no such success for the visitors, as Joe Flacco had no time and the underneath passing game with Owen Daniels and Steve Smith wasn't much of a threat. He never had time to look down the field after that opening score. A week ago, the Ravens were entering a two-game stretch that could have sealed the AFC North. Now, they can't finish above .500 in the division and have a tough second half ahead.

Childs Walker, reporter: The 2014 Ravens are officially in trouble. Two mistake-riddled efforts in two weeks have taken them from AFC North front-runners to last place. The Ravens couldn't get to Ben Roethlisberger after the first quarter, and that left a threadbare secondary badly exposed. The offensive line played perhaps its worst game of the year. One bright spot? The Ravens can look forward to a good opportunity to get well, hosting the Tennessee Titans next weekend.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: This game was a study in the importance of taking care of the ball. The Ravens appeared to be in control early, and one ill-timed fumble (is there any other kind?) changed everything. Joe Flacco followed that up by throwing a truly inexplicable interception, and the Steelers were off to the races in a 22-point second quarter that was the highest-scoring quarter by either team in the history of the rivalry. Last place never tasted so bad, but the Ravens still have a winning record and there's no reason to panic.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: You would think that the Ravens would learn that whenever they turn the ball over, they lose. Joe Flacco's interception in the second quarter was inexcusable. He doesn't know how to throw the ball away. And Terrell Suggs' cheap shot on the Steelers' LeGarrette Blount in the third quarter was ridiculous. He should have been thrown out of the game. He deserves a huge fine. He went after a running back's legs.

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