Ravens dominate Steelers 26-6 on Thursday night

The Sports Xchange

September 11, 2014 at 11:35 pm.


Joe Flacco had control of the Ravens offense all game. (Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes to tight end Owen Daniels and the Baltimore defense had a dominant performance in the Ravens’ 26-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

Baltimore was playing its first game since terminating the contract of running back Ray Rice?, who was also suspended indefinitely by the NFL after new footage surfaced of him assaulting his then-fiancé. Despite answering questions all week about the incident, the Ravens appeared fully focused.

Flacco completed 21 of 29 passes for 166 yards. Wide receiver Steve Smith had another solid game with six receptions for 71 yards.

There had been little separation between the teams as nine of their past 10 games were decided by three points or fewer. This time, the Ravens opened an early lead and stayed in control.

The Steelers pulled to within 10-6 on their first possession of the second half with a 43-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.

Baltimore responded on the ensuing drive when Flacco found Daniels in the middle of the end zone for a 1-yard score. The Ravens were helped by two personal foul penalties on Steelers safeties Troy Polamalu and Mike Mitchell inside the red zone.

After Pittsburgh was forced to punt, Flacco found Smith for a 22-yard gain. Another face-mask penalty against Mitchell gave Baltimore the ball on the Pittsburgh 9-yard line. That set up a 23-yard field goal by Justin Tucker, increasing the Ravens’ lead to 20-6 with 14:11 left in the game.

Baltimore linebacker C.J. Mosley stripped Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller on the next possession, which led to another 22-yard field goal by Tucker. The Ravens stayed aggressive and a 41-yard run by Justin Forsett midway through the fourth quarter set up Tucker’s fourth field goal and the Ravens led 26-6.

Baltimore avoided going 0-2 for the first time since 2005.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had trouble getting into sync with his receivers. He completed 22 of 37 passes for 217 yards with an interception.

Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was held to 59 yards on 11 carries.

After Baltimore linebacker Daryl Smith stripped Steelers receiver Justin Brown on the opening possession, Flacco put together a 12-play, 85-yard scoring drive, capped by a 2-yard pass to Daniels for a 7-0 lead.

Flacco stayed with play-action on the Ravens’ next drive and that led to 30-yard field goal by Tucker with 8:01 left in the second quarter.

The Steelers managed to close to 10-3 late in the first half on a 25-yard field goal by Suisham.

Pittsburgh trailed in the first half despite outgaining Baltimore 183 yards to 108 yards.

NOTES: Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown left in the first quarter with a possible concussion. He was able to return after being cleared by doctors. … Ravens CB Lardarius Webb missed his second straight game with a lower back injury. As a result, Asa Jackson got his first start of the season, but he left in the second quarter with a concussion. … It was Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s first game in Baltimore since almost colliding with Ravens WR Jacoby Jones when he stepped onto the field during a kickoff last year. Tomlin received a $100,000 fine for interfering with the play.