Game Recap - Ravens vs Steelers

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Ravens vs. Steelers Game Highlights
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All over the field, the Ravens dominated Pittsburgh.

Rice gained 107 yards and a touchdown on the ground against what was the NFL's top run defense of the 2010 campaign.

Safety Ed Reed had two interceptions, which marked his 12th multi-pick game of his career (during the regular-season).

Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards, three touchdowns and a 117.6 passer rating.

And perhaps most importantly, the Ravens harried Steelers signal caller Ben Roethlisberger into a messy game, sacking him four times and pressuring him on countless other occasions. 

At the end of an alternately rainy/sunny afternoon in Baltimore, the Ravens came away with their most-convincing defeat of the Steelers in franchise history.

Previously, the Ravens had opened their regular season three times against the Steelers, winning only one.  The year they did win (2000) was the same year they came home with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

In addition, the Ravens' most-lopsided wins against the Steelers were 27-0 and 31-7 victories in 2006.

While many pundits have placed Pittsburgh on the Super Bowl pedestal after appearing in the championship tilt last year, the Ravens embarked on their own winning path in style.

Still, Head Coach John Harbaugh doesn't want to place too much emphasis on the win.

"The whole thing about ghosts, demons, monkeys on your back - that's not real to us," said Harbaugh. "Every game is a new game.  Ray [Lewis] said it [at halftime].  We have not been here before, with the lead going into the third quarter against this football team because this is a new football team. 

"This is the 2011 Baltimore Ravens.  This is who we are, and now we're going to find out what this football team is going to be about going forward."

Coming out red hot from the start, the Ravens marched 66 yards in three plays to paydirt to go up 7-0, less than two minutes out of the gate.

On the march, cornerback Lardarius Webb returned the kickoff 37 yards, and then Rice ran off new left tackle Bryant McKinnie for 36 yards before Flacco found wideout Anquan Boldin for a 27-yard touchdown pass.

Later in the first quarter, the Ravens forced the first of their team-record seven turnovers when linebacker Terrell Suggs – now the franchise sack leader with three on the day and 71 ½ throughout his career – dropped Roethlisberger and Haloti Ngata recovered the fumble.

Four snaps later, Rice followed key blocks from fullback Vonta Leach and right guard Marshal Yanda to cross the goal line.

Ray Lewis "Not Shocked" by Final Score
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Considering the way the Ravens' defense was consistently attacking Pittsburgh, a 14-0 lead would be all they'd need.

"When you go down there on the first drive the way we did, it definiely boosts your confidence, even that much more, to continue to do it," said Flacco.

The Steelers got on the board midway through the second quarter, after Roethlisberger hit wideout Emmanuel Sanders for an 11-yard touchdown, but the Ravens answered with a textbook two-minute drill to roll 84 yards in 12 plays for a Rice touchdown reception just before halftime.

From there, the Ravens kept their foot on the accelerator.

On the first play of the third quarter, Ngata knocked the ball out of Rashard Mendenhall's hands and pounced on the fumble deep in Ravens territory.

On the next snap, Flacco hit tight end Ed Dickson for an 18-yard score.  The ensuing point-after-attempt was an indicator of how bad the Ravens wanted to beat their nemesis.

Instead of simply kicking the extra point, holder Sam Koch took the direct snap and sprinted untouched into the end zone for a two-point conversion.

At 29-7, the score was out of reach after the Steelers' late-game gasp. In the 2010 playoffs, the Steelers forced three turnovers in the third quarter to bounce back from a 21-7 deficit and ouster the Ravens.

This time, it was the Ravens doing the taking with three third-quarter turnovers of their own.

"It was domination," said Suggs.  "You can say domination, but it was a team thing.  The team got all those turnovers. It was a great day for the City of Baltimore."

As Suggs dropped Roethlisberger on the final play of the game, a jubilant sea of purple and black screamed with exuberance.

After an uncertain offseason that featured high-profile releases and 20 new additions to the roster, the Ravens had arrived.

And on a day that marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Ravens' nemesis coming to Baltimore, the emotion surrounding their arrival was clearly evident.

"I don't think anybody was going to envision this game turning out the way it did today," said Flacco.  "But, we played a full 60 minutes.  I think our defense did a great job of creating turnovers and stopping those guys.  I thought our offense did a great job of driving the ball the whole day.

"To get a lead like that against these guys and to come out in the second half and start quick was huge for us today."

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