How our reporters and editors saw the Ravens’ 39-38 loss to the Steelers on Sunday night in Pittsburgh:
Mike Preston, columnist: At least now the Ravens are entertaining. They also showed they could match firepower with another team even though they came up on the short end versus Pittsburgh. The Ravens need to make running back Alex Collins the centerpiece of this offense because he is the team's top weapon. On defense the Ravens got exposed again. The Steelers went after cornerback Brandon Carr and had success. The Ravens also didn't get much of a pass rush on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. They spent the entire offseason trying to correct these problems but had the same problems against the Steelers on Sunday night.
Childs Walker, reporter: There’s no reason this game needs to knock the Ravens off trajectory. They are still three very winnable games away from a playoff berth. And if the offense can move the ball as it has the past two weeks, we have to recalibrate how far the Ravens could go in the postseason. Alex Collins played a remarkable game, showing a national audience how far he’s come. On the other hand, we’ve seen two weeks’ worth of troubling signs from a pass defense that was supposed to be the team’s strength. The Ravens don’t cover tight ends or elite slot receivers well, and Antonio Brown absolutely lit up Brandon Carr. The Ravens piled up excellent defensive statistics against a string of unimpressive quarterbacks. But that magic was nowhere to be seen against Ben Roethlisberger.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: You knew it would come down to the end and you've got to give the Ravens credit for coming back from a 14-point deficit and putting 38 points on the board, but that doesn't make this loss hurt any less. Once again, the Ravens had the Steelers on the ropes and Ben Roethlisberger did what Ben Roethisberger does and sent the Ravens home without supper. The Ravens can take solace in the fact that the offense is back and they looked like a deep playoff team for about 59 minutes, but that's a story for a different day. The defense was constructed for just this eventuality, but at several key third-and-long moments, the secondary gave up big plays that led to this defeat.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: Growing up in Cleveland and despising the Pittsburgh Steelers all of my life, I had a bad, bad feeling about this one. The Ravens defense just could not stop the Steelers at all. They let Ben Roethlisberger throw for more than 500 yards. Did you really think they could stop them from a game-winning field goal? The good news is that an inept Ravens offense carved up the Steelers defense, so this might not be a long playoff trip for the Steelers. Such a letdown for the Ravens.