Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs after a pass reception against Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds (93) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The second installation of Ravens vs. Steelers for the 2014 season looked nothing like the first, nor did it look anything like the typical defensive slugfest that these two teams are famous for. Rather it was an ugly, high scoring affair that featured a complete lack of discipline on the Raven’s part.
The game started off promising enough with a nice punt return by Jacoby Jones and a Torrey Smith touchdown catch on the second offensive series. Likewise, the defense pitched three consecutive three and outs on the Steeler’s first three offensive series. In the second quarter, the defense even got three consecutive sacks on Ben Roethlisberger.
Things went south in a hurry after that. Lorenzo Taliaferro lost a fumble, which set up the first of Big Ben’s six touchdown passes. Joe Flacco followed up by throwing an interception that led to the second. By halftime the Ravens were headed down the tubes with a 21-10 deficit that grew into a stunning 43-23 loss.
It was a game filled with miscues, and there is a good deal of blame to go around. Here are my grades for each Raven’s unit.
Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) scrambles with the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Arthur Moats (55) chases during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Flacco started off hot before throwing the momentum shifting interception in the second quarter, and he just couldn’t keep up with the red hot Roethlisberger. Big comebacks are something that Flacco has never been known for, though we can’t fault him completely for the loss.
Once again, the wide receivers struggled to gain seperation, this time against a secondary that is known for being old and slow. The running backs could only muster 3.0 yards per carry against a Steeler’s front that has given up big games to running backs all year. And the offensive line gave up four sacks and way too much pressure on Flacco once the game got out of hand.
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Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) scores on a forty-seven yard touchdown pass against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb (21) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Raven’s defense did a great job of shutting down the run, holding the Steelers to an amazingly low 55 yards on 25 carries. The linebackers got good pressure on Big Ben early in the game. Unfortunately, what may now be the worst secondary in the NFL got absolutely torched in an embarrassing outing.
There’s really no way to sugar coat how bad the secondary is right now. Between busted coverage and missed tackles, the Ravens simply let Big Ben and the Steelers receivers have their way on a record breaking night. We imagined that Jimmy Smith’s absence would hurt, but we never though it would hurt this bad.
Special Teams: A
Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) returns a kick-off for a one hundred and eight yard touchdown return against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Tucker hit his 46 yard field goal, and Sam Koch punted six times, with 5 of them being downed inside the 20 yard line with an average of 41.2 yards. Jacoby Jones got loose for a 108 yard touchdown return, and put the team in scoring position with an earlier return. Can’t argue with those results on the only unit that has been consistent this season.
Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh on the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens came into this game as one of the more disciplined teams in the NFL, only giving up 23 points on turnovers through eight games (8th fewest in the NFL). They left Pittsburgh after giving up 14 points on turnovers and having one of the biggest meltdowns in team history.
The Ravens gave up a whopping ten penalties for 108 yards Sunday night, including an ugly unnecessary roughness penalty on Terrell Suggs and a personal foul on Elvis Dumervil. On top of that, the team spent far too much time jawing and fighting for a group that is usually quite composed and disciplined.
The coaches didn’t adjust to anything the Steelers were doing, and once again abandoned the run when the Ravens went down 21-10 headed into the second half. Predictably, this allowed the Steelers to tee off on Joe Flacco and tilted the time of possession. Until Kubiak learns to stick with the run when the team is still within reach of victory, they will continue to lose.