"We stopped the run, and we didn't give up any big plays," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh when asked about his teams defensive preformance against the Steelers. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
The Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers rivalry might not be the same. The personalities in the rivalry are different, and too often has been the quality of play. But the sight of Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers still seems to bring out the best in the Ravens defense and special teams.
The Ravens shut out the Steelers for more than three quarters and got a fourth-quarter touchdown on a blocked punt before holding out for a 21-14 victory in front of an announced 71,286 at M&T Bank Stadium.
With the victory, the Ravens (4-4) broke a four-game losing streak and moved into first place in the AFC North. They also won their fourth straight game against Pittsburgh for the first time in franchise history. The Steelers, who lost their third straight game, are now 4-4.
Joe Flacco's 95-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace late in the first quarter provided the Ravens' lone offensive touchdown. Chris Moore's 14-yard return of a Buck Allen blocked punt, coupled by a Steve Smith Sr. two-point conversion reception, made it a 21-0 game early in the third quarter.
And the Ravens' defense, which was dominant for much of the afternoon, did the rest. Pittsburgh finally got on the board on Roethlisberger's 23-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to Antonio Brown with 8:38 remaining. On that drive, the Steelers converted on third down for the first time – they had been 0-for-10 – and got their first first down in the second half.
Pittsburgh quickly got the ball back, but after a big third-down sack by rookie Matthew Judon, Roethlisberger's pass on fourh-and-18 to the end zone was incomplete.
Roethlisberger then pulled the Steelers to 21-14 with 48 seconds to go on a 4-yard touchdown run. But Chris Boswell flubbed the onside kick attempt, and the Ravens took over.
The Steelers finished the game with 277 yards of total offense, but a good portion of those were after the Ravens took a 21-0 lead.
The Ravens led 10-0 after Justin Tucker's 49-yard field goal just before halftime, but it shouldn't have been that close. The Steelers' offense had just 66 total yards of offense, compared to 84 penalty yards in the first half. They gained only two first downs, and one of them was on a Ravens' defensive penalty. Pittsburgh also punted the ball seven times in the first half.
Mark Selig, Ravens editor: This was a defiant win in the ugliest, most Ravenish way. The offenses were lousy (aside from one play), the defenses were firm, the
By The Baltimore Sun
Nov 06, 2016 | 3:23 PM
Roethlisberger, who was playing a little less than three weeks after knee surgery, wasn't sharp at all. He was 7-of-14 for 50 yards in the first half. Brown had just one catch for five yards in the first half and that reception came with just over three minutes left in the second quarter.
The Ravens' offense wasn't significantly better, but it made one huge play. Late in the second quarter, Flacco hit Wallace, the former Steeler, on a slant route. Wallace got inside rookie cornerback Artie Burns and then raced down the sideline, where he benefitted from Steelers safety Mike Mitchell taking a poor angle.
The 95-yard score was the longest regular-season play from scrimmage in franchise history. It also was one of the team's few offensive highlights. Otherwise, the Ravens cost themselves points on their first drive when rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley was called for an illegal-use-of-hands penalty. It was one of three first-half penalties for the rookie who had missed the previous four games with a foot injury.
On their next drive, the Ravens had a first-and-goal after a third-down catch by Kamar Aiken. But an illegal shift penalty nullified the first down and then on the next play, Flacco made an awful decision, throwing across his body and getting picked off by Burns.
Flacco finished the game 18-of-30 for 241 yards, one touchdown pass and one interception. He gave the Ravens and the home crowd a scare early in the third quarter when he hobbled off of the field and into the locker room after a 14-yard run. His knee brace broke on the play and he missed only three plays before returning to the game.