At First Glance: Ravens vs. Steelers II


John Eisenberg: The Ravens deserved their fate. They were outplayed by Pittsburgh in their first home loss in two years. Joe Flacco was off target, the rest of the offense was mistake-prone, and most troubling, the defense let third-teamer Charlie Batch dominate the second half. Basically, the Ravens didn't follow the script they'd used to go 9-2. They coughed up a pair of turnovers (after losing only nine in their first 11 games) and were soft in the red zone, where the Steelers went two for two. Mostly, they couldn't conjure up enough pressure on Batch, giving him time to extend plays and find numerous open receivers. On the other side, Flacco airmailed a lot of passes and the offense never found a rhythm. Pittsburgh needed the game more and it showed, but the Ravens might be sorry looking back that they let Batch beat them.

Ryan Mink:  The Ravens botched a huge opportunity tonight. Ben Roethlisberger was out. The Steelers O-line was banged up. The Steelers fumbled the ball away once without even being hit. They missed a wide-open touchdown. Despite all that, the Ravens still lost – at home. This one is a really tough pill to swallow. The last time the Ravens lost at home was in 2010 because of a sack/strip. It basically happened again, handing Baltimore its first loss at M&T Bank Stadium since then and snapping a 15-game streak. Joe Flacco's fumble in the third quarter entirely changed a game Baltimore was in control of. The Ravens could get into the playoffs with a win. Now they're two games up with four remaining, including three against teams in the playoff chase (Denver, New York Giants and Cincinnati). Buckle up.

Garrett Downing:It hurts to lose a game like this one, where the Ravens had so many opportunities to pull away from the Steelers and clinch a playoff spot. Instead, the Steelers hung around and were able to come back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to get the win. A critical fumble by Joe Flacco in the third quarter set up a game-tying touchdown before Shaun Suisham's 42-yard field goal won it as time expired. The loss snaps a 15-game winning streak at M&T Bank Stadium and ends a three-game winning streak over the Steelers. The Ravens still have a two-game lead over the Steelers and Bengals in the AFC North, but dropping a game at home with Charlie Batch at quarterback isn't the kind of showing the Ravens wanted at this point in the season.

Sarah Ellison:  This was a big-time missed opportunity. The Ravens could have clinched a playoff spot, decimated the Steelers' postseason chances and stretched its home winning streak to 16 games (the longest in the NFL). With a matchup at home against a bitter rival that didn't have its Super Bowl-winning quarterback, the chances were as good as any for Baltimore to finish business.  It wasn't to be. It was a vintage Ravens-Steelers game – physical, down to the wire, skirmishes, an impressive Ed Reed interception and ill-advised return and, of course, a sack-strip of quarterback Joe Flacco. The sack-strip proved to be crucial, as it led to the game-tying touchdown. The Steelers found success in the middle of the field throughout the game, indicating the Ravens missed linebacker Danelle Ellerbe (ankle). Media/fan complaint alert: many will be asking about the light workload of Ray Rice, who finished with 12 carries for a productive 78 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens are still in good playoff position, but this one hurts.

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