At First Glance: Ravens vs. Steelers writers give their first impressions of the Ravens’ 23-20 victory.

Posted by on Sunday, November 6th, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink, Sarah Ellison, Week 9 vs Steelers

John Eisenberg: The Ravens will celebrate few better moments than this. It appeared they had blown a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to win and gain a split of their season series. But Joe Flacco led the offense on a 13-play, 92-yard touchdown drive and won the game with a 26-yard scoring pass to Torrey Smith. It was Flacco’s finest hour. Smith had dropped a touchdown in the end zone three plays earlier, and Anquan Boldin had dropped one at the 10 two plays earlier, seemingly quashing the drive. But Flacco just kept firing and came up with a stunning winner. Heinz Field emptied faster than a runny ketchup bottle. The Ravens really deserved to win, having dominated the game until Ben Roethlisberger brought the Steelers from behind late, with his typical bravado. But Flacco checkmated him. Things may never be the same in the AFC North.

Ryan Mink: Wow, what a win. This is huge for so many reasons. It’s big for quarterback Joe Flacco, who led a game-winning drive – in Pittsburgh, against the Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers. It’s huge for rookie Torrey Smith, who saw a potential game-winning touchdown bounce off his fingertips before he caught the actual game-winner. It means the Ravens are in the driver’s seat in the AFC North. It means they’ve swept their bitter rivals, proving at least for now that they are truly, and just simply, the better team. This night will be remembered for a long time by those in Baltimore. It could be a launching point for a special season.

Garrett Downing: The ending was a perfect way to finish a Ravens-Steelers game and complete a season sweep of Pittsburgh for the first time since 2006. The game-winning drive showed the continued development of quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith. Flacco has taken his share of criticism this year, but for the second week in a row he found a way to lead the offense down the field in the fourth quarter for the game-winning drive. This time, however, that final drive took 92-yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Smith once again demonstrated the ability to have a short memory, as he dropped one touchdown pass on that final drive before coming up with the game winner in double coverage. The Ravens offense did plenty of things right, and they found a way to come up with the ever-elusive big play to take down the Steelers.

Sarah Ellison: Joe Flacco did it. And on a national stage too. He led his team 92 yards with just over two minutes left to beat his nemesis at Hienz Field. Credit Flacco for going back to receiver Torrey Smith for the 26-yard game-winner after Smith let a previous touchdown pass slip through his fingers. This will go down as one of Flacco’s best moments. It looked like the Steelers were going to win it in typical fashion – after a fourth quarter Ravens turnover that led to a lead-changing touchdown. But Flacco never quit fighting. The Ravens control their own destiny and give themselves a good chance to get the home playoff game they’ve been looking for.

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