Sunday night’s nationally televised game at Heinz Field lived up to our expectations; it was low scoring, there were injuries on both sides and both defenses stepped it up.
It was another ugly win for the Baltimore Ravens, but a win is still a win. The Ravens beat their rival Steelers 13-10; it was the 12th consecutive division win for the Ravens.
In a word, the Ravens’ offense “stunk”, but thankfully the defense stepped up their game to save the day. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 20 of 30 passes for 164 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns.
Running back Ray Rice had 20 carries for 40 yards. The only Ravens touchdown was scored by Jacoby Jones on a punt return. Kicker Justin Tucker scored two fields goals.
The number one ranked Steelers defense held the Ravens to 12 first downs, with only four in the second half.
After the Steelers scored their only touchdown in the first 43 seconds of the game, the banged up Ravens’ defense toughened up and sacked Steelers’ quarterback Byron Leftwich three times. Leftwich completed 18 of 39 passes for 301 yards and had one interception.
Leftwich got the start after starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was out with shoulder and rib injuries. Leftwich was injured late in the game and will miss his next start against the Cleveland Browns.
Cornerback Corey Graham, who played for the injured Jimmy Smith had his first interception as starter and safety James Ihedigbo sacked Leftwich.
Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh believes both teams have similar styles of play making it the best rivalry in the National Football League.
“I think it’s two teams that play very similar styles,” Harbaugh said. “They’re two very rugged teams. They’re always two good defenses. We’re still in that category now. It’s a great rivalry. It’s what this rivalry is. It’s the essence of this rivalry.”
In his postgame speech, he said “The story is still being written.” It will continue in two weeks when the Steelers visit M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Ravens’ tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a concussion during the game when he was hit by safety Ryan Clark and linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Backup Billy Bajema stepped in for him. Pitta will be evaluated to see if he will play next week in San Diego.
With injuries on both sides of the fence I wasn’t sure what to expect in this game. The only thing I was certain of seeing was a defensive battle and that’s what I got.
The Ravens don’t play well on the road, but Flacco did what he needed to do to win the game. While he didn’t score any touchdowns, he didn’t have any turnovers which was key in the Ravens’ win.
I didn’t expect Flacco to be explosive like he was in the previous game against the Oakland Raiders. Hopefully beating their rival on the road will give them momentum when they fly across the country to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
An ugly win is still a win. The Ravens don’t play pretty, but this is football, it isn’t supposed to be pretty and it’s always sunny when the Ravens beat the Steelers.