PITTSBURGH — Time for another round of Steelers drama, Baltimore Ravens wins big..
This time, the impetus is a stinging loss from their bitter division rival, as the Baltimore Ravens hung a 26-14 defeat on the Steelers.
The verdict was a rather complete verdict. Baltimore Ravens No. 1-ranked defense put the clamps on Ben Roethlisberger and the typically explosive Steelers offense, forcing two turnovers. Joe Flacco passed for 363 yards and 2 TDs, without a pick. Reliable kicker Justin Tucker booted four field goals.
It all added up to a result that keeps the Steelers (1-2-1) in the cellar of the AFC North, tied with the Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore Ravens(3-1) is technically in second place, as its loss at Cincinnati in Week 2 allows the Bengals (3-1) a tiebreaker edge.
Three other things we learned:
– The Ravens are no longer perfect in the red zone. Baltimore Ravens entered the game as the first team in NFL history to begin a season by scoring touchdowns on their first 12 trips inside the 20-yard line. They made it 13-for-13 in the first quarter, when they turned a Vance McDonald fumble into Joe Flacco’s 3-yard TD flip to Alex Collins.
Then the streak ended with a thud early in the second quarter, as Collins was stripped by Cody Sensabaugh on first-and-goal from the 2.
The mishap gave the Steelers new life. Rather than a 21-3 Baltimore lead, Pittsburgh took the turnover and drove 79 yards for a field goal … and soon after that tied the game, 14-14, with a spectacular, 26-yard touchdown grab by Antonio Brown. Talk about a game-changer. The turnover essentially made it a new game.
Joe Flacco is a better thrower than decoy.
The Ravens quarterback connected on a tight, 33-yard touchdown pass to John Brown for the first score of the game. He arched a 71-yard dime to Brown to set up another scoring opportunity. Flacco moved the chains a few times with some clutch third-down throws, too.
Yet Flacco became a decoy, aligned wide as a receiver for at least a half dozen plays as Baltimore inserted its Wildcat formation, featuring rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Although Jackson made positive plays — including a diving finish to a three-yard run on third-and-three in the third quarter that kept alive a go-ahead field goal drive in the third quarter — it’s fair to wonder whether the changeup was worth the disruption to the flow on a night when Flacco was in a good rhythm.
Besides, Flacco didn’t fool anybody when aligned as a receiver, which basically gave Pittsburgh’s D more leeway to shut down Jackson’s runs.
Oh… and @VMcDonald89 is very, very strong.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 1, 2018