Sometimes the Ravens come through when you least expect it— and I certainly did not expect them to dominate the Steelers in two phases of the game on Sunday—well, at least up to the final minutes of the 4th quarter. That would be defense and special teams. The Ravens offense was shut down for the most part by Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco and company managed one touchdown drive, a 95-yard catch by Mike Wallace in the first quarter which represented more than one-third of their total yards.
The Ravens jumped into a first-place tie with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers by going back to its old-school roots, relying on strong defense and timely special teams in a 21-14 victory.
The Steelers didn’t cross midfield or score their first points until the fourth quarter. Baltimore continually frustrated a less-than-full-strength Ben Roethlisberger, holding Pittsburgh to 277 total yards and 4-for-16 on third downs.
The Ravens and Steelers are now both 4-4.
After missing two games with an injured ankle, Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr. returned Sunday against the Steelers.
Prior to the 4th quarter, Pittsburgh’s offense produced only two first downs and was limited to 69 yards. The Steelers totaled 36 yards rushing, 32 by Le’Veon Bell— until Big Ben directed a 75-yard drive that got the Steelers to 21-7 with 8:38 remaining.
Roethlisberger ran for a 4-yard score with 48 seconds left, but Chris Boswellbotched the onside kick — barely knocking it off the tee — and Baltimore closed out its fourth straight win over Pittsburgh (including playoffs).
“The bottom line is we put ourselves in a big hole with some adversity, some of which was created by us,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
After going 8 for 18 for 54 yards and an interception through three quarters, Roethlisberger finished 23 for 45 for 264 yards.
Baltimore’s only touchdown offensively came on Flacco’s pass to Wallace, the ex-Steeler from 2009-2012. Wallace broke free on the left sideline , caught the pass in stride and outran safety Mike Mitchell to the end zone. It was the longest play from scrimmage in Ravens history during the regular season and second-longest in the NFL this year.
Flacco completed 18 of 30 passes for 241 yards to help Baltimore earn its first win since Sept. 25, at Jacksonville.
The offense of both teams was slowed by a steady stream of penalties. Pittsburgh had 84 yards in penalties in the first half and only 66 yards of offense, its fewest before halftime with Roethlisberger at quarterback since 2009.
Steelers: C Maurkice Pouncey(dislocated finger) missed part of the first quarter, returned and left for good with the same injury in the third quarter. … LB Jarvis Joneswas injured making a first-quarter tackle and did not return until the second half. … S Jordan Dangerfield(groin) left in the fourth quarter.
Ravens: RB Kenneth Dixon left in the fourth quarter with a bruised chest.
The Ravens are at home Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns, who entered the weekend as the only winless team in the NFL.
|Passing 1st downs||10||7|
|Rushing 1st downs||3||2|
|1st downs from penalties||2||4|
|3rd down efficiency||4-16||4-17|
|4th down efficiency||1-2||0-0|
|Yards per Play||4.3||4.3|
|Yards per pass||5.1||6.6|
|Yards per rush||2.0||1.7|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||0-1|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||1|
|Steve Smith Sr.||4||47||11.8||0||30||7|