Baltimore's rivalry with the Steelers is among the best in the NFL.
Now the Ravens have injected some new blood into the classic matchup, and the newcomers fit right in and made a big difference for Baltimore in Thursday's 26-6 primetime victory over Pittsburgh.
Veteran tight end Owen Daniels and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. – both key offseason acquisitions – and rookie first-round pick C.J. Mosley made key plays to lead the Ravens to the win over the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.
They all showed a knack for making big plays, and the kind of intensity to make them an ideal fit for the fierce AFC rivalry.
"It kind of feels like that old high school, cross-town rivalry type of situation," Daniels said. "It's an honor for me to be part of it for [add] the first time, and everyone buys into it. The city buys into it. The team buys into it, and it's a big deal."
Daniels caught both of the Ravens' touchdown passes – each 2-yard snags – and Smith led the Ravens with 71 receiving yards.
Both players made difficult catches on passes from Flacco, showing off a toughness that the quarterback values. Daniels made a pair of back-to-back catches where he got drilled over the middle of the field and still hung* *onto the football.
Smith consistently shrugged off tacklers after making his catches to fight for extra yards, and he even drew two facemask penalties on the Steelers.
"Steve said something to me that he was born for AFC North football," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I know he was having fun."
Daniels and Smith are both fiery players, and they showed that Thursday. Smith quickly jumped up and celebrated with his patented ball spin after a catch over the middle, and Daniels capped off his first Baltimore touchdown with a powerful spike in the end zone.
"They're feisty guys," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "They're tough guys – you can tell that."
Mosley showed his playmaking instincts with a forced fumble in the second half to go along with his nine tackles and a pass defensed. He was all over the field, and continued the impressive start to his young career.
"I had a solid game, but individually I know there is a lot more I can work on, especially in the passing game," Mosley said.
The Alabama product is no stranger to big-time rivalries, and he had the Steelers game circled on his calendar for months. This is the first of many Ravens-Steelers games for him, and his game could not have gone much better.
"I'm going to be here for a long time – that's the plan – so it's going to be a battle every time," Mosley said. "When we see them again at their place, we are going to be ready."