The Ravens needed a rebound in the worst way after an opening-week loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore was embarrassed in their home-opener, but they weren't about to let another AFC North rival come into their house and leave with a win.
Hosting the Steelers on Thursday Night Football, Baltimore jumped out to a 10-point lead and cruised to a 26-6 victory. The Ravens defense suffocated Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense, forcing them into the three turnovers and sacking Ben twice.
This was also the first time in two years that Ben failed to throw a TD pass. He was in the midst of a 30-game streak with at least one passing TD.
This was the first game in which the Steelers did not score a touchdown since 2011. Even with every drive counting and the game relying on a quarterback we're used to seeing come through, Roethlisberger and the Steelers were simply unable to generate any offense. Whether that speaks to the Steelers' own faults or the strong defensive play of Baltimore in their home opener more doesn't matter. What does matter is that Pittsburgh has some glaring issues on both sides of the ball, some that became evident in the second half against the Cleveland Browns Week 1.
By the time there was 10 minutes left in the Thursday Night Football contest, the Baltimore Ravens had almost twice as many first downs, eight minutes more possession time, and was winning the turnover battle two-zip.
Justin Tucker was the MVP for the Ravens, converting four field goals, the longest of which being 30 yards.
Joe Flacco finished with 166 yards on 21/29 passing. He also threw two touchdowns. The Ravens also added 157 yards with their post-Rice era rushing attack via the tandem of Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett. The final score was Ravens 26, Steelers 6.
Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata record an interception while also nearly taking out head coach John Harbaugh.
The two AFC North rivals will meet again on November 2 in Pittsburgh on a night when Joe Greene will have his jersey retired. Both teams are now 1-1 overall and in the division.
But let's take a step back from the game for a second and consider the AFC North picture now. The Bengals are 1-0 in the division already, having beaten the Ravens week 1 in Baltimore. With the Ravens beating the Steelers, it sets both teams up a 1-1, with both teams 1-1 in their division. Even if this game proves that the Ravens are better than the Steelers long-term this season, the Bengals still have their home game against Baltimore in the middle of the season.
And then even if Pittsburgh beats the Ravens in Baltimore, it still sets up a nice scenario where Cincinnati emerges the most clean-cut from a battered AFC North battle. Just let the other teams beat each other up, and just keep winning. They already hold an early lead in their division. And in the AFC North, that's never a small statement to make.