Sunday, October 3, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Ravens 17, Steelers 14
By James Walker
PITTSBURGH -- Here are some early thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' stunning, come-from-behind victory over the Steelers.
What it means: The Ravens pulled out a wild win by scoring a touchdown with 32 seconds remaining. Baltimore improved to 3-1 by driving 40 yards in the final minute and T.J. Houshmandzadeh catching the winning touchdown. Pittsburgh came extremely close to improving to 4-0 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers should be pleased of their 3-1 start despite the very tough loss.
What I liked: The energy was solid from both teams, which is par for the course in this series. But Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco deserved kudos for staying calm for four quarters against a team he usually struggles against. His performance shows solid growth in his maturation process, and the final throw was one of the biggest of his career.
What I didn't like: Pittsburgh didn't execute on either side of the football in the final minutes, which turned out to be the deciding factor. The Steelers were stagnant on their final offensive drive that could have sealed it, and the defense played too conservatively in allowing the final touchdown. There also were untimely penalties; both teams combined for 18 flags.
Key injuries: The Ravens were hurting at tailback. Ray Rice (knee) was active but was a backup to Willis McGahee until the second half. As long as Rice's health improves next week, running back depth may not be as much of an issue.
What's next: Pittsburgh is on a bye, but will make national headlines with Monday's return of Roethlisberger from a four-game suspension. The Steelers will spend the next two weeks shaking the rust off of Roethlisberger before their Oct. 17 game against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens, meanwhile, will try to improve to 4-1 when they host the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium.