Terrell Suggs wasn't in the mood to do too much celebrating after Baltimore's 21-14 victory over their biggest rival Sunday afternoon.
The veteran linebacker walked to the media room inside M&T Bank Stadium and stressed throughout his press conference that the Ravens have their work cut out for them if they're going to capitalize on now being in first place in the AFC North.
"Tremendous amount of work to do," Suggs said. "So, we'll take the win, but we ain't satisfied."
Suggs' mindset echoed throughout the Ravens' locker room as players talked about beating the Steelers to snap a four-game losing streak and improve to 4-4 on the year. They're now tied with the Steelers atop the division, with the Bengals (3-4-1) close behind and the Cleveland Browns (0-9) coming to town Thursday night.
"It's always good to beat your division rivals, but what does it mean if we drop it Thursday? It means [nothing]," Suggs said. "It's time. We've got to start doing what we know we are capable of doing and winning. So we've got some work to do."
"We have to make this something, if not, we just wasted ourselves," receiver Steve Smith Sr. added.
The play of the offense continues to be the area where the Ravens have the most work. Outside of a 95-yard touchdown to wide receiver Mike Wallace in the first quarter, the offense was mostly stagnant. Flacco missed some throws and the running game failed to consistently have success. The Ravens put up just 42 total yards of offense in the second half.
If it weren't for a dominant showing by the defense and the blocked punt returned for a touchdown, the Ravens would find themselves in a much different position Monday morning.
"There's not disappointment right now. They are tough football games to win," Flacco said. "But yeah, there is a little frustration in the fact that we're not playing as well as we want to."
The Ravens talked going into the bye last week about the opportunity they would have against the Steelers. Even though they were in the middle of their longest losing streak in nine years, Head Coach John Harbaugh emphasized to his team that they were still in the thick of the division race.
"I think it's just that kind of year," Harbaugh said. "There have been other years where a team has just run away with the division. I think the Bengals the last couple years have done that. Since 2012, we haven't really been in a position to win the division this late in the season. Really, in the end, that's what matters."
The Ravens haven't won the AFC North since 2012, which is also the year they went on to win Super Bowl XLVII. Winning the division certainly seems to be the best path to the playoffs, as the AFC West has three teams (Denver, San Diego and Oakland) with better records than anyone in the North.
Based on the current standings, the AFC North could likely end up with just one team in the playoffs.
As fans and media are quick to assess how Sunday's win will ultimately affect Baltimore's playoff hopes, Harbaugh and the players were more interested in breaking down how they need to improve.
"What we have to focus on, really, is being a better football team. We've taken steps in the last couple of weeks to do that," Harbaugh said. "We've cleaned a lot of that stuff up, but we still have a ways to go. That's the beauty of football, especially in the NFL. It's a long season and you have the opportunity to improve. Our guys are willing to do that. I really do believe we have the pieces in all three phases to be very good, but we have to find a way to make it happen and keep trusting in one another, and that's it."
"We have a lot ahead of us," Flacco added. "And that's what you have to keep telling yourself."
The hope is that the win over Pittsburgh can be a springboard to turn around the season. The Ravens will be heavily favored against the Browns Thursday night, and they have a chance to gain sole possession of the division lead.
"We're going to enjoy this, but it's going to be short-lived," Suggs said. "We definitely have gotta move on, and I'm going to do my part and make sure them guys understand that."