The slobber-knocker nature of this rivalry was on full display early on as face masks and illegal hits, several of which was questionably, peppered the first half. Turnovers were also a problem for Pittsburgh as both WR Justin Brown and TE Heath Miller each coughed the ball up to the opposition. Baltimore relied heavily on special teams, especially in the fourth quarter when K Justin Miller nailed three field goals to pile dirt on the coffin of a Steelers team that was bested in every aspect of the game.
The Thursday Night Football matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens had all the makings of a competitive rivalry game. In addition, the Ravens organization has been reeling from blow after blow of bad press since March over the constantly unfolding Ray Rice situation. It would go without saying that many felt the Ravens were primed for an at-home blowout loss to the rival Steelers. Well, that just didn’t happen as the Steelers were out-Steeler-ed in every aspect of the game as the Ravens’ passing game, running game and even their secondary were pivotal in befuddling the Pittsburgh in every way.
The Ravens were coming off a Week One loss to the Cincinnati Bengals that saw their defensive secondary simply was not ready yet. All that was put to the test with the cannon arm of Ben Roethlesberger and emerging star receiver Antonio Brown. The secondary didn’t disappoint either as safeties Matt Elam, Jerome Miles and Anthony Levin, and cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Asa Jackson and Chykie Brown made sure they kept everything in front of them. Elam would record five solo tackles in the victory.
Collectively, they would force Big Ben to dink and dunk his way to 217 yards passing and an interception. However, Brown would get open underneath fairly often on his way to catching 7 passes for 90 yards, but would never see the end zone paint beneath his feet. The Steelers secondary would force Flacco to throw short passes as well. He only was able to throw for 165 yards. However, he connected with TE Owen Daniels for two touchdowns and it appears he has found his go-to receiver in Steve Smith Sr., who finished with 71 of the most spectacular receiving yards yet seen this football season. Some may balk at the idea of 30s being the new 20s, but Smith’s performance has a lot to say about that.
Though the Pittsburgh rushing attack was a concern for the Ravens prior to the game, with explosive RB Le’Veon Bell being a major area of concern, it was the Ravens’ rushing attack that looked the better of the two as Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett ran for 96 and 56 yards respectively. Bell would finish with 59 yards on 11 rushing attempts, including an explosive 21 yard run. However, the Steelers got away from their rushing attack as they were down by seven at halftime. Their offensive ineptitude would continue in the second half as they would only score three points for the rest of the game.
The final tally of 26 to 6 in favor of the Baltimore Ravens was not indicative of the way in which they were dominated. Next week the Baltimore Ravens will look to continue their winning ways against the Cleveland Browns and push the Ray Rice ordeal a little further in their rearview. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers will match up against the Carolina Panthers and regain some of their swag as their aging defensive players continue to get older and their emerging youngsters struggle to fill the talent gap.