Ravens lose to Pittsburgh; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Baltimore Ravens lost 23-20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers today, as Shawn Suisham hit a game winning 42 yard Field Goal for the Pittsburgh win.

With the loss, the Ravens fall to 9-3 yard on the year.

I went it today, believing that despite the rivalry, that Charlie Batch was not capable of beating the Ravens in Baltimore. I felt the Ravens would need to give the Steelers several scores for Pittsburgh to have a chance to win. I should have known better.

No matter who is on the field, this game will always be a physical affair which both teams care deeply about. Up 13-3, with Roethlisberger on the sidelines; I felt good about where the Ravens were in the game. There is plenty to critique about the Ravens today, but give some credit to the Steelers for taking advantage.

There is no getting around how big of a loss this is for Baltimore. Competing for the 2nd seed in the AFC Playoffs, the Ravens needed to win this game. With the loss, attentions turns to the Redskins next week.

The Good:

1) The Ravens gained a couple of 1st downs on their initial drive, with Flacco connecting with both Boldin and Smith.

2) After Pittsburgh’s first drive advanced into Baltimore territory, Suggs came up with a stop in the Pittsburgh backfield, setting up 2nd and long.

3) The returning David Reed made a nice tackle on Baltimore’s 2nd punt.

4) Pittsburgh went 3 and out on their 2nd series of the game.

5) Pierce started the Ravens 3rd series with a couple of positive plays. After gaining 6 yards on the first two downs, he picked up a 1st on 3rd and 4 with a 5 yard catch. He followed that with a 5 yard run. On 2nd and 5 at midfield, Flacco and Boldin had a connection for a 6 yard gain and another 1st. An 11 yard pass to Leach took the Ravens to the Pittsburgh 33. As the drive moved into the 2nd Quarter, Tucker would tie the game on his 45 yard FG.

6) Pittsburgh’s would quickly go 3 and out on their first series of the 2nd Quarter. Kruger had a big 3rd down sack, and McClellan tipped the punt.

7) On the Ravens first full series of the 2nd Quarter, the drive began at the Baltimore 42. The Ravens gained 13 yards on an out to Smith. After a Ravens penalty, Baltimore picked up 30 yards on a Pittsburgh penalty. This gave the Ravens a 1st and Goal from the Steelers 10.

8) The Steelers went 3 and out for the 3rd straight possession on their 2nd series of the 2nd Quarter. Ed Reed had good coverage on 3rd down.

9) Following Flacco’s 2nd Quarter pick, Bynes made a good play. Graham would get the ball right back for Baltimore, picking off the throw from Brown.

10) Baltimore’s 3rd drive of the 2nd Quarter continued, when Pittsburgh was charged with contact on 3rd down. Flacco followed with a pass down the sidelines to Boldin for 31 yards. On the very next play, Flacco found Boldin again, a perfect 28 yard strike for a TD. With the extra point, Baltimore took a 13-3 lead with just over 3 minutes left in the 1st half.

11) Playing for Ellerbe, Ayanbadejo made a good play, with a tackle in space near the 2nd of the 1st half. On that same series, C. Williams had a good play in coverage once Pittsburgh had advanced to the Baltimore 30.

12) Hard to list it as ‘good’, but Sanders provided an early Christmas gift to the Ravens with his 3rd Quarter fumble. He looked like surely score on his catch over the middle, before coughing up the ball. Could have been devastating for the Ravens, instead they had the ball back.

13) Pierce started Baltimore’s 2nd drive of the 2nd half with an 11 yard run between the tackles. After Flacco was sacked, Pitta would come with a 19 yard gain on the following play. Cutting back against the gain, Rice would scamper in from 34 yards out for a TD. With the extra point, the Ravens went back up 7 at 20-13. Great job from Baltimore making Pittsburgh pay (really twice) for Sanders fumble.

14) The Steelers 3rd drive of the 2nd half, saw them reach the Ravens 43 yard line. On 3rd and 4, Batch attempted to find Sanders over the middle. Pollard completely laid him out and forced the drop. Sanders looked a mess on the sidelines, with his head in his hands.

15) Jones had a 4th Quarter sack. Ending that same series, Reed came up with 61st career interception. Running the ball out of the end zone, he could have been stopped at the 1, but somehow managed to get out to the 27.

16) With the game tied at 20, Leach had his 4th catch of the game. The 12 yard gain took Baltimore out to their 32. Always an outstanding blocker, Leach did a good job today as an outlet receiver.

17) McPhee had a good tackle on 2nd down, with just over 5 minutes left in the game.

The Bad:

1) On the Ravens first drive, Smith was not able to come down with a pass down the field, as Taylor made a nice play. Baltimore’s first offensive series would end with a punt, as Oher was called for unnecessary roughness on 3rd and 2.

2) Batch and Pittsburgh picked up 3rd and 2 on their first drive. On 3rd and 13, Pittsburgh gained 10 yards setting up the Suisham 46 yard FG. This put the Steelers up 3-0. It was a 5 1/2 minute drive, which took up 11 plays, as Pittsburgh advanced 48 yards.

3) Baltimore’s 2nd offensive series also ended with a punt.  The Ravens were not able to pick up 3rd and 5, with Flacco’s pass going incomplete to Boldin.

4) After reaching the Pittsburgh 33 on a 1st down as the 2nd Quarter began, the Ravens would have to settle for a FG attempt from the Pittsburgh 26.

5) On the Ravens first full series of the 2nd Quarter, the Ravens had a 1st and Goal from the Steelers 10 yard line. Ultimately, the Ravens had to again settle for a FG. The make from Tucker gave Baltimore a 6-3 lead.

6) On Baltimore’s 2nd full series of the 2nd Quarter, Pierce started with gains of 4 and 9 yards on the ground. On 2nd and 10, Flacco escaped pressure, only to throw it up for an easy Pittsburgh interception.

7) Bad kickoff coverage from the ravens following their 2nd Quarter TD. Rainey returned the ball 42 yards to the Pittsburgh 40.

8) Late in the 1st half, Ngata picked up a penalty, giving Pittsburgh another chance on 3rd down. Batch would covert with a pass out to Miller on the sidelines for 17 yards to the Baltimore 30. The Ravens were up 13-3 when that drive began. The Steelers started sthe series from their 40, with 2:37 left. Pittsburgh was able to move the ball 37 yards over 9 plays, and covert a FG. The FG made it a 1 score game, with Pittsburgh getting the ball to start the 2nd half.

9) Baltimore’s first series of the 2nd half got going with a 12 yard pass to Leach to the Ravens 39, however the Ravens quickly faced 3rd and 11. Taking a timeout to think it over, it looked like the Ravens had gained the 1st, but Boldin was called for a push off. Boldin would also jump on a hard count, forcing the Ravens into a 3rd and 26.

10) Flacco’s receivers were not open down the field, but Flacco held the ball too long on Hood’s 3rd Quarter sack. On that same series, Smith missed a would be TD.

11) Batch was able to roll out and gain extra time on Pittsburgh’s 3rd drive of the 2nd half. Looking down the field, Batch would find Brown for 34 yards to the Ravens 49. Just not enough pressure from the Ravens. Seeing Batch and his weak arm make plays down the field was disappointing.

12) During the Ravens 3rd series of the 3rd Quarter, Leach picked up a penalty. A quick whistle from the refs, cost the Ravens yardage. If Roethlisberger was behind center, that whistle would never have been blown. The refs would have given him every opportunity to make a play. Flacco did what he could to stand up against the pressure and dump off the ball – but was called down. Horrible call there. As the 4th Quarter began, the Ravens faced 3rd and 15. Flacco went down the field in single coverage to Jones, but the Ravens were not able to make the play.

13) Early in the 4th Quarter, Dwyer picked up 2nd and 4 on 2nd effort (and a missed tackle from McClain). Redman cut up behind the block for 24 yards, taking the ball into Ravens territory. A 23 yard gain to Miller gave the Steelers 1st and 10 from the Baltimore 20.

14) The Ravens were forced to punt back to Pittsburgh, with the game tied at 20, and just over 6 minutes remaining.

15) The Steelers pass rush got better as the game progressed, and Flacco’s pocket awareness got worse. Joe was holding the ball too long, trying to give his receivers time.

The Ugly:

1) Leading 13-3 late in the 1st half, there was miscommunication in the Ravens backfield leading to an open Mike Wallace in the end zone. The Ravens should have paid for that miscommunication, but Batch would miss his receiver.

2) Starting the 2nd half, Pittsburgh faced 3rd and 3, when Redman picked up 8 yards. Several missed tackles from the Ravens on the play. Several plays later, Batch hit Miller on a crossing route for 43 yards. That took the ball to the Ravens 19. Dwyer would finish the drive with a 16 yard TD run, as Pittsburgh tied the game at 13 with the extra point.

3) Baltimore had a bad use of a challenge in the middle of the 3rd Quarter. Batch was clearly throwing, and the Ravens were left with 1 timeout with a Quarter and a half to go.

4) After Reed’s interception, the Ravens took over from their 27 with 11 minutes left in the game. Holding the 7 point lead, the one thing the Ravens could not do was turn the ball over. Oher was beat on the outside by Harrison, the receivers did not get open, and Flacco did get rid of the ball quick enough. The result was a Flacco fumble, recovered by Pittsburgh at the Ravens 27.
4a) A 17 yard gain by Sanders set up 1st and Goal for Pittsburgh at the Ravens 7 yard line. Miller would tie the game, reaching the pylon. With the extra point, the game was tied at 20 with just over 7 minutes left.

5) Despite a hit from Ngata as he threw, Batch was able to stand in the pocket and make a 1st down throw on 3rd and 7 late in the 4th. Connecting with Wallace for 15 yards, Pittsburgh advanced to their 33. On 2nd and 6 from the Pittsburgh 47, Brown gained 9 yards and another Steelers 1st down. This took the game down to the 2 minute warning. Kruger was called for unnecessary roughness on a completed pass. This gave Pittsburgh an extra 15 yards, moving the Steelers to the Baltimore 19 with 1:46 left in the game.

6) Rice had 12 carries, and 1 catch. Was he injured early, or was this a failure on the Ravens Coaching staff to get the ball in his hands?

Notes:
Pittsburgh was 5 of 13 on 3rd down, Baltimore 3 for 11.
The Ravens gained an average of 5.3 yard per rush on their 21 carries.
T. Smith caught 3 of the 8 passes he was targeted on.
Baltimore held the ball for 25:39 today, Pittsburgh 34:21.

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About the author


Chris Stoner   

Operations Manager

Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, ESPN 1300, FOX 1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. You can reach him via email at Chris.Stoner@baltimoresportsandlife.com.


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One Response to Ravens lose to Pittsburgh; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  1. Donta says:

    This was a hurtful loss the Ravens IMO should have given the ball to Ray Rice on that last Flacco turnover. They threw the ball way to much IMO tonight. You punt the ball if you have to but for Flacco to fumble dropping back when you should have been running the ball is crazy IMO.

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