Baltimore Ravens Dominate Pittsburgh Steelers: Grades, Analysis, Video Highlights

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Sep 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce (30) runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Offense: A-

The Ravens offense didn’t light up the Steelers, but they returned to form following a disappointing performance in week one. They did exactly what they needed to do to win the game.  To everyone’s surprise, Bernard Pierce retained the starting job and dominated carries, though Justin Forsett also played a big role.  Lorenzo Taliaferro didn’t see a single carry.

Pierce predictably had a much better game against the Steeler’s soft middle of the defense than he did against the Bengal’s stout unit, racking up 22 carries for 96 yards (4.4 avg).  Forsett got his as well, proving to be a great speedy change of pace to Pierce’s inside running.  Forsett finished with 8 carries for 56 yards (7.0 avg) and 4 catches for 16 yards through the air.

Joe Flacco had a much more efficient performance, and his receivers thankfully did as well.  Flacco went 21 for 29 for a meager 166 yards passing with two touchdowns and zero interceptions (109.3 rating).  He wasn’t stretching the field, but he didn’t need to.

Surprisingly, Owen Daniels was a red zone terror Thursday night as the Steelers left him wide open on both touchdown passes.  It was a baffling move, especially when they didn’t learn their lesson after the first catch.  Fantasy owners were likely pounding their keyboards after Dennis Pitta finished with only 30 yards receiving and Torrey Smith only had one catch for 10 yards.

Steve Smith once again led the team in receiving in a ferocious performance.  Smith looked like he was ten years younger on Thursday night, displaying a tremendous amount of spring in his step.  The elder Smith finished with 6 catches for 71 yards on ten targets. All in all, it was an efficient performance that kept the defense off the field and prevented the Steelers from having too many opportunities.

Next: Defense