3. The Ravens delivered a mature performance in the first half

With the season on the line and typical Ravens-Steelers shoving and yapping in the first quarter, emotions could easily have run out of control. Instead, the Ravens played perhaps their most controlled football of the season. They didn't lay any game-changing hits on Ben Roethlisberger or bust it open with a dramatic turnover. They just made fewer mistakes than their arch-rivals. Where Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor basically handed the Ravens a field goal with an interference penalty on Torrey Smith, the Ravens secondary kept the Steelers bottled within 10-15 yards of the line of scrimmage for the entire first half. Roethlisberger completed plenty of passes, and the Steelers kept the ball for long stretches. But they didn't do a ton with it. They also made a crucial gaffe when kicker Shaun Suisham couldn't find the timing with his holder and never got off a 50-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter. The resulting field position set up the Ravens for a scoring drive. The story changed in the second half, when newly minted Ravens killer Le'Veon Bell broke a 43-yard run off a clever move and Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass after one of his typically infuriating scrambles. Ray Rice then earned a stupid, if inconsequential, 15-yard penalty for trash talking. Right tackle Michael Oher suffered through a brutal game, drawing three false-start penalties and allowing two sacks. The Ravens couldn't get any pressure on Roethlisberger as he picked them apart down the stretch. But in the end, that tidy first half gave the Ravens just enough cushion to survive a harrowing game.
Patrick Smith, Getty Images
Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad