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Ravens rock Steelers, 26-6
By SP_COP on September 12, 2014 | From www.post-gazette.com
Ravens rock Steelers, 26-6 The Baltimore Ravens may have been mired this short week in the expanding scandal brought on by Ray Rice, but they did not show it on the football field Thursday night.

Rice, their former halfback, was cut by the Ravens on Monday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL, which has hired an independent investigator to look into how commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL handled the matter.

There was no mistaking anything that occurred in M&T Bank Stadium between these two teams, however.

The Ravens bludgeoned the Steelers 26-6, the first time in six games in this series the final result was not by three points or fewer. It was the most lopsided score between the two AFC North Division rivals since Baltimore’s 35-7 victory on this same solemn date, Sept. 11, to open the 2011 season.

Both teams finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs last season and both are trying to transition with new players throughout.

Advantage, Baltimore, at least on this night in which both teams’ records reached 1-1.

Troubling for the Steelers has to be the play of their offense, which produced only two Shaun Suisham field goals. Suisham has now provided the only points for them over the past six quarters with one field goal in the second half of their near meltdown on Sunday at home against Cleveland.

The defense played a little better than it did in a 30-27 opening victory against Cleveland, but not by much.

Fumbles and penalties dogged the Steelers offense and missed tackles and penalties again hurt their defense. Justin Brown lost a fumble at Baltimore’s 15 in the first series of the game and usually reliable Heath Miller lost a fumble in the fourth quarter to set up one of four Justin Tucker field goals.

Ben Roethlisberger threw his lone interception with 1:51 to go, to 330-pound defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Roethlisberger completed 22 of 38 passes for 217 yards.

The Steelers had no sacks on defense and remained without a forced turnover for 2014. Joe Flacco had plenty of time to throw and he did, completing 21 of 29 passes for 166 efficient yards and two touchdowns to tight end Owen Daniels.

Baltimore had extended its lead to 20-6 in the first minute of the final quarter on Tucker’s 23-yard field goal. That drive was enhanced when safety Mike Mitchell was penalized for grabbing the facemask of Steve Smith after the Ravens receiver caught a 22-yard pass.

At one point, it looked like a typical Steelers-Ravens game with some rough play, unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and low scoring.

Suisham’s 43-yard field goal brought the Steelers within 10-6 on the first drive of the second half, but again opportunity was squandered. After a first down at the 26, Roethlisberger was sacked by Elvis Dumervil for a 7-yard loss and they ultimately settled for three points.

It was Dumervil’s second sack of the game, the second against right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who gave up two last Sunday. Dumervil powered Gilbert with a bull rush straight into Roethlisberger.

Flacco went to work again and produced his second touchdown drive of the game. He completed 6 of 6 passes for 56 yards, the final one of 1 yard to Owen Daniels, his second TD pass of the game to the tight end, who beat Troy Polamalu to get wide open.

Both Steelers safeties were penalized twice for unnecessary roughness on that drive for the way they hit receivers. Polamalu and Mitchell can automatic expect fines like the one Antonio Brown received this week for it.

The Ravens led 10-3 at halftime as the Steelers squandered scoring chances because of penalties and one big fumble.

Wide receiver Justin Brown, playing in the slot again for the injured Lance Moore, ruined the game’s first series that started at the Steelers’ 20 and ended at Baltimore’s 15 when he caught a pass over the middle for 6 yards and was stripped of the ball by linebacker Daryl Smith.

The Ravens took over from there and Flacco moved them 85 yards on 12 plays, helped along by a 23-yard pass interference penalty against cornerback Cortez Allen. That gave Baltimore the ball at the three. Two plays later, the Ravens lined up in a power formation and the Steelers responded on defense with four linemen, six linebackers and Troy Polamalu.

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