With Sunday night’s 26-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, the Ravens overtook the Steelers as the NFL leader in consecutive games of at least 20 points scored with 13 straight. They also totaled 451 yards of offense for the most the franchise has ever produced in Pittsburgh, and quarterback Joe Flacco threw for a personal high of 363 yards in games against the Steelers.
But those numbers were of little consolation to Flacco, who argued that the offense should have scored more often against its AFC North archrivals.
“I’m frustrated. I really am,” the 11-year pro said to open his postgame news conference. “I just felt like we left a lot of stuff out there today, especially with the way we started. I thought we came out of the gates slinging. Obviously, we had some fortunate stuff happen with our defense getting the turnover. Hell of a play there in the flat to grab that ball from the guy.
“But we got down to the goal line and didn’t score, and then I thought there were a couple other drives before the half where we shot ourselves in the foot. We went into halftime, and it wasn’t like we were ways away. It was still like 0-0, but everybody just felt like we could’ve had 28, 30, 35 points out there at halftime. With these guys and the way these games have been throughout the course of my time here and especially in the last couple of years, you just don’t want your defense out there.”
Flacco has a point. If running back Alex Collins hadn’t been stripped by Pittsburgh cornerback Coty Sensabaugh and safety Sean Davis (Maryland) at the Steelers’ 2-yard line with 12:39 left in the second quarter, the Ravens could have added on to a 14-3 advantage.
Instead, Pittsburgh converted that takeaway into a field goal and scored a touchdown and 2-point conversion on its next offensive possession to tie the score at 14 going into halftime.
Fortunately, the defense bailed out the offense by shutting out the Steelers in the second half, giving up only 47 yards and three first downs over that span. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that his team could have put Pittsburgh into a deeper hole much earlier.
“I look at it like this: If we execute a little bit better, I don’t think we’re getting stopped, and we’ve got to get to that point,” he said.
Despite his displeasure, Flacco took great pains to compliment offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on his game plan.
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“I think Marty called a great game,” he said. “I think he’s been calling great games all year. I think against these guys the last three times we’ve been here, there’s been a lot of pressure on him, but I feel great. Don’t get my frustrations confused with not feeling awesome about coming here and getting the win.”