Ravens Respond To Game-Changing Turnovers


The Ravens were rolling and looked ready to put Pittsburgh in a big first-half hole.

Baltimore's defense had just sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on three-straight plays, silencing the home fans at Heinz Field. The Ravens then took over possession with a 7-0 advantage and were threating to add to their lead.

But then everything changed.

Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro coughed up the football at midfield, and the Steelers returned the fumble to their 27-yard line. Just five plays later, Roethlisberger tossed his first touchdown pass to running back Le'Veon Bell and the game was tied.

"The ball got away and I just have to protect it better," Taliaferro said. "The turnovers took control and they fed off that."

The fumble and ensuing touchdown quickly shifted the momentum and ignited the crowd that had been quiet throughout the first quarter.

Quarterback Joe Flacco followed up Taliaferro's fumble with a turnover of his own, tossing an interception on Baltimore's next possession. Flacco's interception to linebacker Jason Worilds came on a play that was doomed from the start.

"I kind of lost my mind on that whole play," Flacco said. "I got everybody messed up and things weren't right."

The interception came as Flacco was trying to throw the ball out of bounds for an incompletion, but outside linebacker James Harrison brought pressure that prevented him from getting enough distance on the pass.

"I thought I had a safe throw or throwaway when I went out to the right trying to throw the ball out of bounds. I just didn't get it there," Flacco said.

Pittsburgh turned Flacco's interception into another touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Just 10 plays after Taliaferro's fumble, the Steelers had put up a pair of quick scores and the Ravens were down 14-7.

The Ravens never re-gained the lead after that point.

"The turnovers were the big key in the second quarter," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Turnovers have been an Achilles heel for the Ravens recently, costing them significantly in back-to-back losses. In last week's defeat to the Bengals, Flacco threw interceptions on the first two drives of the second half to put the Ravens in a hole that they didn't overcome.

The turnovers came in the second quarter this week, but the outcome was still the same. Flacco has thrown at least one interception in all four of the team's losses, and he has five in the last three games.

Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said coming into Sunday's game that the Ravens have stressed ball security throughout the week of practice. Kubiak called the turnovers the "biggest issue" for the offense.

The message from the week didn't translate over to Sunday, and the Steelers capitalized on the early mistakes.

"We kind of let the game get away from us," Flacco said. "There was a lot of game to be played and we had plenty of time to react to all of that and go out there and play a winning football game. And we just didn't. We didn't rally together and get back at it."

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