The Steelers' defense kept Ravens RB Ray Rice from gaining any long yardage, especially after contact.
Falling behind: The Ravens have been playing catch-up in nearly every game this season. Sunday's game in Pittsburgh marked the fifth time in the last six weeks that the Ravens' opposition has scored first. This is significant because the Ravens are 41-8 under coach John Harbaugh when scoring first. Baltimore hasn't been ahead at the end of the first quarter since the season opener in Denver. Over the past six weeks, the Ravens have held a first-half lead for 18 minutes, 47 seconds out of 180 minutes (which is about 10 percent of the time). Baltimore has scored 53 points in the first half this season, an average of 7.5 points.
Nothing after contact: The Ravens' ground game remained grounded in Pittsburgh primarily because Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce couldn't generate yards after being hit. They combined to rush for a season-low 11 yards after contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information. This number is even more disappointing when you factor in the Steelers have allowed 305 yards after contact this season, the seventh-most in the NFL. Rice and Pierce combined for 58 yards on 21 carries, a 2.7-yard average. The Ravens' backs have been held under 3.2 yards per carry in every game this season.
Getting run over: Two weeks ago, the Ravens had the NFL's No. 6 run defense, giving up 89.8 yards on the ground. But Baltimore hasn't looked the same since, failing to contain a couple of rookie running backs. Green Bay's Eddie Lacy ran for 120 yards and Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell rushed for 93 yards, which are career highs for both second-round picks. The Steelers, who had the second-worst run game in the NFL, gained a season-high 141 yards rushing, ending a franchise-record streak of 11 straight games with fewer than 100 yards rushing. This explains why the Ravens are losing the time of possession battle the past two weeks.
Penalty problem: The Ravens were flagged nine times, which is their second-highest total in a game this season. There were plenty of mental mistakes from a delay of game penalty after a timeout, jumping offsides on a field goal attempt and going offsides on an onside kick. And there were times when the Ravens needed more discipline, which was the case when Elvis Dumervil pushed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he had thrown a pass. Three of Baltimore's penalties allowed the Steelers to convert third downs. For the season, the Ravens have been penalized 49 times, which is the 10th-most in the league.