It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but rarely are wins against the Steelers. Despite playing against a Steelers team without Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Troy Polamalu, the Ravens could only beat Pittsburgh 13-10. Of course anyone who has watched this rivalry throughout the years have realized that a game between these two will be hard fought and close to the end regardless of who is playing. The Ravens improve to 5-0 against the Steelers without Big Ben in the lineup, and for the fourth time the game was decided by 3 points. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence.
The game started with the Steelers started the game with a bang. The first play on offense was a bomb to Mike Wallace in which the Ravens stacked the box. They were clearly looking for the run and allowed the speedster to match up one on one with Cary Williams. Clearly, Wallace with his speed out ran the corner, and Williams was flagged for a pass interference. Two plays later, Leftwhich escaped the rush of Suggs, avoided a Pollard hit and ran into the end zone. That game Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game. They scored just 3 points the rest of the game. Leftwhich was actually injured on the TD run after he fell awkwardly on his shoulder. He added a couple broken ribs later in the game, but never missed a snap. The Ravens defense stepped up to play pretty well. Corey Graham was picked on early, but ultimately had a great game. A huge pick ended a good drive by the Steelers. In the final Pittsburgh drive he also made a big hit to cause an incompletion. He played well in this game, but could be a target for better QBs in the future.
The Ravens offense never really got it going. The Steelers have the top ranked defense, so that isn’t extremely surprising. Ray Rice acted as the work horse, but finished with a measly 40 yards on the ground. Flacco couldn’t hit his top wideout Smith much at all this game, but did find Boldin all night. Ike Taylor had Smith shadowed all game, and all in all played an incredible game. The reason the Ravens were able to put up points was the special teams. Jacoby Jones had an absolutely huge punt return for a TD that was really the difference maker in the game.
At the end of the day, Baltimore is 8-2 and have a big lead in the AFC North. It wasn’t the prettiest win, and will be downgraded with the fact that Ben didn’t play, but the fact is that they won. It would have been a completely different game if Ben did play, so I don’t feel like that it is fair to say the Steelers would have easily won with their starting QB. Baltimore will travel to San Diego this week to take on the Chargers. The Ravens always seem to struggle against the Chargers, so this should be an interesting game.