2. The Defensive drop off:
The Ravens defense started off amazingly. They had the number one defense in the NFL for a while, but the defense faltered. The Ravens had trouble to get off the field against the Saints. While they held New Orleans to 24 points, they also allowed a fourth quarter comeback. After 11 sacks against the Tennessee Titans the defense got smoked by the Carolina Panthers. Then the Steelers dominated the unit. Ben Roethlisberger made it look easy and the Steelers had a third down efficiency that was hard to believe.
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In three out of four weeks the defense had the game dictated to them. The defense got exposed. It’s that simple. The defense was the part of the team that looked to be next level good. When the defense faltered the Ravens record came back to earth. Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger showed the rest of the league what can be done against the Ravens highly touted defense.
The frustrating thing is the drop off. Baltimore dominated teams in their 4-2 start. The Steelers had a lot of struggles against the Ravens in their first meeting. That really shows you everything you need to know. In the first game against the Steelers, Pittsburgh couldn’t run the ball and Roethlisberger was held under 300 yards. In the second game, the Steelers rushed over 100 yards and Roethlisberger had a much more efficient game. The Ravens defense went from dominant to dominated. The Ravens went from contenders to most likely pretenders. There is a connection between the Ravens record dipping and the defensive performance going down.