The Thursday night matchup between AFC North foes Steelers and Ravens was almost an afterthought, after the story surrounding Baltimore as they deal with the continuing Ray Rice controversy. The media circus surrounding their team did not seem to faze them as they got their first win of the season over bitter rivals Pittsburgh by a score of 26-6.
With all the controversy surrounding the Ravens currently, as they deal with the Ray Rice situation, some were questioning if the game against the Steelers should even be played, considering it would be in the spotlight on national TV. The NFL and Baltimore will have to continue to deal with the black cloud of Ray Rice all season, but it did not seem to affect them on the field.
A big turnover stalled the first Pittsburgh drive of the night after they had been moving down the field very effectively for almost eight minutes. The Ravens were able to capitalize on the fumble from John Brown with a touchdown drive to open the scoring for the game. A pass interference call in the end zone helped move Baltimore to the one-yard line and scored on a pass to a very-open Owen Daniels. Pittsburgh had an early injury scare in the first quarter, as Antonio Brown was brought into the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion, but he eventually returned.
Leveon Bell was one of the only bright spots for the Steelers, showing off his explosiveness with some big runs. However, they were never able to turn that production into touchdowns. Neither team was able to muster up much offense in the first half, going into halftime with a score of 10-3.
The Ravens’ offense never looked particularly dangerous, but they just continued to chip away at an aging Steelers defense and eventually wore them down on the ground. Justin Forsett had a big second half on the ground and Bernard Pierce ended the night with 96 yards. What really won the game for Baltimore was their defense preventing Pittsburgh from finding any sort of rhythm on offense. The two turnovers they forced on the Steelers really sealed the victory, especially the fumble from Heath Miller. Before the Miller fumble, Pittsburgh had just gotten a big defensive stop and had a chance to get back into the game, but on the first play of the drive, Miller gave the ball right back, essentially ending the game.
Considering the circumstances surrounding the Ravens, getting a win over their fiercest rival was quite admirable. Now both teams are 1-1 overall and in the division. Next up, the Steelers will travel to Carolina and Baltimore will go to Cleveland for their third straight divisional game to start the season.
The Baltimore Ravens had every reason to come out flat against the Pittsburgh Steelers, considering the ongoing Ray Rice controversy that will continue to haunt their team. However, they played a balanced game on both sides of the ball and eventually got a big win by a score of 26-6. It was a crucial win for Baltimore, as they could have fallen to 0-2 in the division with a loss, but they did not let that happen and showed the NFL they are still a force to be reckoned with, even among all the media attention.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius