The point differential wasn’t as great as it was in week 1, but the result was the same. The Steelers lost again to their bitter rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. The win gives the Ravens a regular season sweep of the Steelers. It also gives them a decided advantage in any playoff tie-breakers (should they be necessary).
Like all Steelers/Ravens games, this one was a slugfest. The Ravens were only able to run for 67 yards against the Steelers’ defense, and the Steelers only managed to gain 70 yards on the ground.
With both teams’ running games shut down, the outcome of the game was going to come down to a battle between two quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger has almost always beaten Baltimore, so Steelers fans probably felt confident in this match-up.
Unfortunately, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, “Football games are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” And in this instance, what we got wasn’t very tasty.
Big Ben threw an interception to Terrell Suggs that resulted in a Ravens’ touchdown. That costly turnover likely changes the outcome of the game.
Joe Flacco also had an opportunity to put his team on his shoulders. With 2:24 left in the 4th quarter, the Ravens got the ball back at their own 8 yard line. They had to just over 2 minutes to go 92 yards. Based on what had already happened in the game, it seemed highly unlikely that the Ravens could muster such a drive against the Steelers’ defense.
But muster they did. Flacco led the Ravens all the way down the field, culminating in a touchdown pass to Torrey Smith.
Like most observers, I couldn’t believe how open Smith was. He beat William Gay badly, and Ryan Clark seemed to be out of position to provide help on the play.
I seldom question Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. But I really don’t understand what he was doing on that final Ravens’ possession. Instead of trying to stop the long pass, the Steelers seemed to be in press coverage like they did against the Patriots last week. They brought almost no pressure, and seemed to be trying to stop the short pass. The only problem was that with 92 yards to go, the Ravens needed long passes.
With 42 seconds left in the game, Flacco tossed a long pass to the end zone to a wide open Torrey Smith. Smith had William Gay beat by several strides, and there was no help in sight. But Smith dropped the ball. That play should have been a signal that the Steelers couldn’t afford to let the Ravens get behind their defense. So how was Flacco able to complete a similar pass to Smith for a 26 yard touchdown just 4 plays later?
Despite questionable officiating, the Steelers had opportunities to win this game. So they can’t blame the loss on anyone but themselves.
I’m disappointed that the Steelers lost both regular season games to the Ravens. But if they end up going 1-2 against the Ravens this year, I think I’ll be able to live with that.