At First Glance vs. Steelers writers give their first impressions of the Ravens’ 13-10 loss.

Posted by on Sunday, December 5th, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Categories: 2010 Season, Mike Duffy, Ryan Mink, Sarah Ellison, Week 13 vs Steelers

John Eisenberg: This was a game the Ravens should have won. They were at home and ahead all evening, but they couldn’t capitalize, leaving the door open for Pittsburgh to make the big play in the end when Troy Polamalu sacked Joe Flacco and caused a fumble that set up the decisive touchdown. The Ravens’ defense rose to the occasion and played well enough to win, keeping Pittsburgh out of the end zone until that break. But the Ravens’ offense faltered. It couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t sustain drives and really didn’t do much at all against the Steelers’ defense beyond a couple of big passes from Flacco to Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth. It’s a devastating loss for the Ravens that might cost them a division title, but they remain in good shape to make the AFC playoffs for a third straight season.

Mike Duffy: It didn’t take a lot of time to realize how this game would go. Ben Roethlisberger’s nose was bloodied by Haloti Ngata on the Steelers’ first offensive series. Suggs’ mouth was blood-reddened early, as well. The Ravens fought hard in this bitter AFC North rivalry, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Roethlisberger in the end. Playing without a fullback – as Le’Ron McClain and Jason McKie were both inactive – hurt the Ravens, as Flacco was pressured all night, and Ray Rice couldn’t get much going on the ground.  What’s more, Flacco was rushed into short-hopping a fourth-down pass to rookie tight end Ed Dickson, who was in for the injured Todd Heap, at the end of the game.  It would have been sweet for the Ravens to take a commanding lead over the Steelers in the division and conference, but now, the Ravens have to fight for their playoff seed with four games to go.

Ryan Mink: The Steelers made the game-changing play. Troy Polamalu’s sack/strip essentially gave Pittsburgh the win and the division lead. The build-up to the game was that this would decide the AFC North. I wouldn’t be too ready to hand it over quite yet, but now the Ravens obviously have to come from behind with a tough stretch left. Joe Flacco had a great game in the face of pressure, so it’s a shame to see that final pass come up short. Penalties and missed chances killed the Ravens. In the end, it’s another Ravens-Steelers classic but Baltimore just came out on the wrong end of this take.

Sarah Ellison: A classic vicious Ravens-Steelers rivalry from the very beginning when Haloti Ngata gave Ben Roethlisberger a bloody (and crooked) nose. Terrell Suggs played out of his mind and was easily the Ravens’ MVP, but unfortunately Suggs couldn’t play on the offensive side of the ball. Joe Flacco and Co. could only muster one touchdown drive – the second longest of the season – and made a crucial turnover that led to the eventual game-winning touchdown.  Now, unless the Steelers go on a losing streak, Pittsburgh will likely win the division and the Ravens will have to make a run at the playoffs via a wild-card route.

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