Ravens pile on Steelers
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens endured five miserable weeks without a win before finally ending the drought against the Steelers.
Pittsburgh can only hope to avoid a similar skid.
After losing four in a row — their longest dry stretch under coach John Harbaugh — the Ravens (4-4) sat through a bye week before returning Sunday to beat Pittsburgh 21-14 , their first victory since Sept. 25.
“This was the kind of win that we need,” said receiver Steve Smith, who returned from an ankle injury to catch four passes for 47 yards.
Pittsburgh (4-4) has dropped three in a row to fall into a first-place tie with Baltimore in the AFC North.
The return of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t enough to right the Steelers , who got only 36 yards from their running game and were penalized 13 times for 99 yards.
“Our record tells us what we are,” Roethlisberger said. “We’re at the halfway point. We use this as kind of a halftime. We need to be a great second-half team.”
Some things we learned about the those bitter rivals, the Ravens and Steelers:
SLIDE RULE: The Ravens received a scare when quarterback Joe Flacco slid on the turf at the end of an impromptu run and appeared to severely twist his surgically repaired left knee.
Luckily for the Ravens, the problem was a broken leg brace, which was quickly corrected.
“It looked like there was something sticking out of the side of my leg,” Flacco said. “I could see it was the brace, and it was putting a lot of pressure on my leg.”
Poking fun at what was initially perceived to be a serious issue, Baltimore Orioles backup catcher Caleb Joseph posted on Twitter, offering to host Flacco at Camden Yards for a free sliding seminar .
DEEP THOUGHTS: Although Steelers receiver Antonio Brown scored his second career touchdown against the Ravens, the four-time Pro Bowler had problems getting open downfield.
“The linebacker, the corner, the safety . they used a lot of guys to take me away,” Brown said.
Baltimore was content to let Roethlisberger complete a few short passes, but Pittsburgh’s lack of a running game and inability to go deep clearly gave the Ravens some momentum.
If he’s to avoid getting triple teamed, Brown could use a little help from the team’s other receivers.
“Other guys have to step up,” he said. “It just shows that people got respect for me. But we have to find a way to win no matter what they do.”
HOLD THAT LINE: Ravens rookie Ronnie Stanley returned to his left tackle spot after missing four straight games due to a foot injury.
It did not go well. Stanley was called for holding three times and also was flagged for illegal use of hands.
“Yes, I know I can play better,” he said.
Stanley, the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft, said he ailing foot was still a bit sore. But the victory eased the pain.
“It was a fight out there,” he said. “We got the win. That’s all that matters,” he said.
SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS: The Steelers know they’ve got only themselves to blame for getting so far behind in a winnable game.
Pittsburgh converted only four of 17 third downs, was repeatedly penalized and even failed to execute an onside kick in the final minute.
“It was pretty pathetic,” guard David DeCastro said. “You know, when you look up in the third quarter and there’s two first downs, it’s kind of frustrating and an empty feeling. On third downs, we just couldn’t capitalize. There were penalties, This was just a really frustrating game.”
LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE: Mike Wallace put the Ravens ahead for good in the second quarter with a 95-yard catch and run for a score .
Wallace wasn’t so much pleased about beating his former team as he was about getting the Ravens a much-needed victory.
“It was a little sweeter because it was against my old team, but I haven’t been there in a while,” Wallace said. “I really want to win because we need to win to get the lead in the division. That was the only thing that mattered.”