Rapid Reaction: Ravens 13, Steelers 10
November, 18, 2012
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
PITTSBURGH -- My thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 13-10 win at the Pittsburgh Steelers:
What it means: The Ravens (8-2) took control of the AFC North, moving two games ahead of the Steelers (6-4). This was Baltimore's 12th straight win in the division, which ties the Colts for the longest in the league since the division realignment in 2002. The Steelers had won seven straight games at Heinz Field. But this marked the Ravens' third win in Pittsburgh in their past four trips.
Ravens defense steps up: After giving up a touchdown 43 seconds into the game, the banged-up Ravens defense held the Steelers to a field goal the rest of the way. Baltimore disrupted Byron Leftwich, who was replacing Ben Roethlisberger, into 17-of-38 passing for 201 yards and stopped the Steelers on 8 of 11 third downs. The Ravens forced two turnovers, which led to six points.
Happy returns: Jacoby Jones gave the Ravens their first lead of the game late in the first quarter, when he returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown. It was his third return for a touchdown in the past five weeks. Jones is the first Ravens player to post three combined return touchdowns in a season.
Costly fumble: Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace has had a problem with dropped passes but he didn't show great hands when he was stripped of the ball by Chris Johnson, who had been signed by the Ravens this week. The first-quarter turnover deep in Steelers territory led to a Justin Tucker 26-yard field goal. It was Wallace's first lost fumble in 17 games.
Elusive Leftwich: Not known for his mobility, Leftwich ran for a 31-yard touchdown on the third snap of the game. He outran Terrell Suggs to get to the outside and broke through an arm tackle by Bernard Pollard before reaching the end zone. It was Leftwich's first rushing touchdown since the end of the 2008 season. His previous long run was 18 yards and that came in 2003, Leftwich's rookie season.
Get feet down: Down 13-7 in the third quarter, the Steelers drove to the Ravens' 4-yard line where Leftwich made a nice throw to the right side of the end zone. But Wallace didn't get both feet down inbounds. Instead of taking the lead, the Steelers settled for a field goal to pull to within 13-10.
What's next: The Ravens go on a cross-country trip to play at San Diego (4-6), which has lost two straight. The Steelers stay in the division and play at the Browns (2-8), who are coming off an overtime loss in Dallas.