Whether you’re a Ravens fan or not, this team is difficult to watch…not because they’re terrible, because they’re not, but because they continue a pattern of losing close games which feels like the franchise has been spinning its wheels for the past 4 years.
Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun has a remarkably even-tempered (for him!) reaction to Sunday’s loss at home to Pittsburgh:
” [The Ravens] now reside on the fringes of the wild-card race, as they have too often in recent seasons. Faced with urgent concerns, the Ravens did nothing Sunday to suggest they’re moving in the right direction. Quarterback Joe Flacco missed open receivers on two precious opportunities for touchdowns. The injury-depleted offensive line faltered at an inopportune moment in the third quarter. The defense died by a series of 5- and 10-yard nicks.”
Big Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, ran for a score and put up an unexpected left-footed punt to help the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-16 Sunday.
James Conner rushed for 107 yards and caught a TD pass for the Steelers (5-2-1), who have won four straight since falling to the Ravens at home on Sept. 30.
Pittsburgh is averaging 31 points a game during its winning streak. Against Baltimore, the Steelers rolled up 395 yards, converted 10 of 16 third-down plays and held the ball for 36 1/2 minutes.
Pittsburgh did not commit a turnover, and Roethlisberger went 28 for 47 for 270 yards. His 1-yard run made it 20-6 in the third quarter, and the 36-year-old showed his determination by missing only one play after being flattened during a sprint from the pocket with just over 13 minutes left.
“Ben just got the wind knocked out of him,” coach Mike Tomlin said.
The Ravens (4-5) scored only one touchdown in their third straight defeat, managing two field goals in the first half while falling behind 14-6. Baltimore had converted 72.4 percent of its red zone opportunities into TDs — the fourth-best percentage in the NFL — but on this day a 1-for-4 performance didn’t cut it.
“To hold those guys to field goals in the first half when they were down there was significant,” Tomlin said.
Pittsburgh opened the second half with a drive that lasted nearly seven minutes and ended with a 1-yard plunge by Roethlisberger. The conversion sailed wide to the right, keeping the score at 20-6.
Down by two touchdowns and facing a potential two-game deficit in the AFC North, the Ravens reacted. Joe Flacco completed six passes in a 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Alex Collins .
The defense followed by forcing the game’s first three-and-out, but the Baltimore offense failed to sustain the momentum.
After the Ravens punted. Roethlisberger was collared from behind by Za’Darius Smith and remained on the ground for several minutes. Joshua Dobbs came in, completed a 22-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, then gave way to Roethlisberger.
“That was a huge play,” Roethlisberger said of Dobbs’ first-down toss.
The drive led to a field goal for a 10-point cushion with 8:26 remaining.
Baltimore got another field goal to get within a touchdown with 5:23 to go, but never threatened thereafter. It was not at all the way the Ravens wanted to enter their long-awaited bye week.
“We’ll go into our bye week trying to get rested up, trying to get healthy,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ll try to come out swinging the last seven games and find a way to make the playoffs.”
INJURIES: Steelers: None reported…….Ravens: Starting offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and James Hurst (back) were on the inactive list. … CB Tavon Young hurt his right ankle in the fourth quarter and did not return.
|Passing 1st downs||18||10|
|Rushing 1st downs||8||5|
|1st downs from penalties||1||3|
|3rd down efficiency||10-16||4-12|
|4th down efficiency||1-1||0-1|
|Yards per Play||5.2||4.7|
|Yards per pass||5.8||5.1|
|Yards per rush||4.2||3.8|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||3-4||1-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|