Ravens Defense Causes Three Turnovers, Havoc

The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is firmly entrenched in physicality.

Deep down, each team believes that if they are more physical than the other, they will win.

Baltimore won that battle Thursday night, and walked away with a 26-6 victory.

The Ravens defense caused three turnovers, didn't allow a touchdown and piled up countless big hits against its competition.

"We pride ourselves on being a physical football team," defensive end Chris Canty said. "We knew we had to be physical with them in order to give ourselves a chance to be successful, and we were able to come out tonight and do that."

Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw set the tone early with a massive hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, planting his helmet square in Roethlisberger's chest. While that hit drew a penalty, a crushing blow by Ravens safety Darian Stewart later on the drive did not. It sent Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the sideline, however, and he eventually returned.

"I'm just thankful nobody got hurt tonight," Brown said after the game.

"It's typical," Roethlisberger said of the physicality. "We knew what it was going to be coming in, and it was everything and then some."

There's a difference, however, between hard hits and hits that cause turnovers. The Ravens defense was opportunistic Thursday night.

Inside linebacker Daryl Smith stood up and poked the ball out for one fumble to end the Steelers' opening drive. It was a huge momentum shift considering Pittsburgh's drive was extended by Upshaw's penalty, and they were in scoring range and in position to take an early lead.

Staked with a lead, the Ravens defense feasted more in the fourth quarter.

Rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley put a big hit on Steelers tight end Heath Miller, popping the ball outand recovering for Baltimore. Then defensive tackle Haloti Ngata deflected a pass and dove to make the interception himself.

It could be a sign of good things for the Ravens defense, which struggled to get its hand on the ball last season.

The Ravens finished last year tied for 19th with 24 turnovers. The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks led the league with 39 turnovers. They're a huge part of the game, demonstrated by the fact that Baltimore got 10 points off them Thursday night.

Baltimore's defense has only allowed one touchdown – the bomb to Cincinnati's A.J. Green – in two games this season. If it can add a steady supply of turnovers, the unit has a chance to be dominant.

Safety Matt Elam hopes Thursday night is just the start.

"I feel like when you get one turnover, they come in bunches," Elam said. "That's going to be a great momentum shifter. If we can continue to do that, we'll be a great team."

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