The Baltimore Ravens (4-4) are back on top of the AFC North after a hard-fought win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) Sunday afternoon.
“We still have a way to go,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters after the game. “And that’s the beauty of football, especially in the NFL. It’s a long season and you have an opportunity to improve.”
Through the first three quarters, the Steelers’ offense had no answers for the Ravens’ defense, which resulted in Pittsburgh having to punt 10 times. The Steelers had trouble converting on third down during the entire ballgame.
“We feel that we have to play great to win,” Ravens safety Eric Weddle said. “That’s no slight to this offense or this team. We’re playing complementary football. We feel like we have to get turnovers and we have to hold teams to low points.”
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was held in check, only mustering 32 yards on the ground while being stuffed near the line of scrimmage on multiple occasions.
“Baltimore had a good game plan,” Bell said. “You have to give those guys credit. They played well.”
Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams tipped a pass by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the air, and fellow Raven Timmy Jernigan came down with the interception, which helped the Ravens put more points on the scoreboard.
Defenders Jerraud Powers and Matt Judon made their contributions to Baltimore’s dominant defensive performance as they both recorded impressive sacks on Big Ben, who is known for being difficult to tackle.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was harassed by Baltimore’s secondary for the majority of the game as the Ravens would only allow Brown to get in the end zone in garbage time, when Baltimore led 21-0. Most of the catches Brown hauled in occurred when the game was already out of reach for Pittsburgh, which helped pad his stats. Brown finished the day reeling in seven passes for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Baltimore’s special teams delivered a lights-out performance against the Steelers as Ravens running back Javorius Allen blocked a Jordan Berry punt, which was then recovered by teammate Chris Moore for a touchdown. This is the second straight game Moore has scored a touchdown off a blocked punt.
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker remained perfect this season by drilling two field goals of 40 yards or more.
Although the Ravens had a pedestrian performance on offense, quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Mike Wallace made history on a 95-yard catch-and-run touchdown, which is the longest play from scrimmage in Ravens history. Wallace showed up to play against his former team as he caught four passes for 124 yards while setting a franchise record on his scoring play.
The return of guard Marshal Yanda was huge for Baltimore. Yanda recovered a critical fumble when Flacco was strip sacked by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, which would prevent Pittsburgh’s offense from starting off with excellent field position against Baltimore’s defense.
Rookie offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley returned, but struggled. The Ravens are 4-0, however, when Stanley is protecting Flacco’s blind side.
Baltimore’s run game was mostly ineffective against a rejuvenated Pittsburgh front seven, as running back Terrance West only picked up 21 yards on 15 carries.
Baltimore will play a potential trap game against the only winless team in the NFL — the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, Nov. 10.