Sunday night wrap-up: Ravens win another thriller


You had a hunch coming in the Ravens’ playmakers might have a bit of an edge.

You just didn’t know they were going to be Jacoby Jones and Corey Graham.

The return man’s touchdown and the backup corner’s interception, respectively, were the difference in the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Steelers.

The road win moves the Ravens to 8-2 this year, in firm control for the division title, two up with six to play. That they did it against a Steelers team without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger matters not at all to them, as they stayed perfect in non-Ben games.

The Steelers were sloppier than you’d expect, even with a backup quarterback on the field. From wasted timeouts to ill-timed penalties, they weren’t sharp. The games are always close, with seven of the last nine decided by a field goal. They’re generally better-played than this, however.

Here are five more things we learned on Sunday Night Football:

1. He is a veteran. And the touchdown run was cute.

But Byron Leftwich isn’t going to take the Steelers far, such that he’ll be able to.

He was clearly hurting coming down the stretch, and if he wasn’t, you’d worry more.

He was a dreadful 7-of-17 passing (41.2 percent) for 85 yards in the first half, a 57.2 rating.

The interception in the third quarter was exactly the kind of play you can’t make in that situation, and he was a sitting duck a few times, unable to get out of the pocket.

Close-ups showed him in discomfort, and if he turns up with broken ribs or something, we’ll apologize for the portion of his game in which he was hurt and not just inefficient.

2. It is not fair to compare the current Ravens defense to previous incarnations.

As in, the ones that were good at playing defense.

Without Ray Lewis, they look fairly rudderless at times. Terrell Suggs is back, sort of, but not explosive enough to take up the slack. Ed Reed is still better than most, but he’s not Ed Reed anymore. And Haloti Ngata must be hurting more than he’s letting on (after taking last week off), because he’s not making an impact at the moment.

That the numbers Sunday night were good remains a function of the Steelers’ offense as much as their own superiority. They were more timely than stout, and got the win. But they’ll struggle against teams with better offenses.

3. The Steelers do have the league’s best defense, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

But the job they did on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was impressive.

The main deep threat was held in check, with just one catch for 7 yards.

And without him, it threw their whole plan out of whack, and it kept the Steelers in the game longer than they ordinarily would have been.

4. Not much was working in the first half for the Ravens offense.

But give coordinator Cam Cameron credit for consistency.

Even though they ran 13 times for just 20 yards in the first half, they kept running. For any team, much less a team with a quarterback the caliber of Joe Flacco, the temptation would be to stop bothering to run.

But keeping tempo can be as important as yards gained, as running the ball often has cumulative effects. It kept the Steelers honest as much as anything, and Ray Rice getting 20 rush attempts is generally a good thing, even if he gained just 40 yards.

5. Winning coin tosses and choosing directions is more important in Pittsburgh than other places.

Because trying to kick a field goal into the open end of Heinz Field is treacherous, as Justin Tucker showed in the first half, missing a 41-yarder.

He had only missed one other field goal this year, but there are  no sure things if you’re kicking toward the Monongahela. Or Allegheny. Or Ohio. I can never remember which.

61 responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: Ravens win another thriller

  1. Just wait. It’s so obvious how dominant we are. If I was a fan of another team, I’d be terrified.

    We let them win this one. Why? Because beating them later will make it sweeter.

    Wow, we are incredible (6). Here we go Steelers, here we go! Jealous?

  2. What is the current streak for division wins? I believe that is 10 straight now for Baltimore. The Ravens special teams couldn’t have been any better tonight, and Corey Graham stepped in and played a great game.

    Would love to get to see one with Ben in a couple of weeks. The Ravens winning was the usual result, but something was missing without Ben.

  3. Props to the Ravens for this one but I found that as encouraging of a loss as they come. This defense is playing lights out compared to last year. Get well soon, Ben.

    See you again in two weeks.

  4. Neither one of these teams are going very far. Leftwich is horrendous. I have not been impressed by Baltimore all year. I dont think the AFC is weak because Houston, Denver and New England are pretty good.

  5. jr4real says: Nov 18, 2012 11:47 PM

    Ravens win tonight.

    Wont beat Steelers in playoffs.
    Your QB is one hit away from sending a rib through a major blood vessel. Playoffs are anything but a guarantee at this point, and if they do make it, it’ll be to go on the road to either Denver or New England. Good luck with that.

  6. You can have your 70+ points scored Pats/Colts game, I will take a defensive beatdown like this game any day. Steelers D was amazing tonight.

  7. Ravens win tonight.

    Wont beat Steelers in playoffs.


    Very true since Pitt won’t even be in the playoffs

  8. please stop making excuses…..terrible towels….terrible uniforms…..terrible qb play…..yes there is a trend….baltimore wont beat pittsburgh in the playoffs? without big ben….pittsburgh isnt going to the playoffs….

  9. jr4real says:
    Nov 18, 2012 11:47 PM
    Ravens win tonight.

    Wont beat Steelers in playoffs.

    No, they won’t, because the Steelers won’t make the playoffs.

    You’re good!

  10. If Leftwich can’t make those wide open throws without one-hoppin’ it…he should have left the game. He wasn’t helping anything. That being said, the Ravens did what they had to do to win the game. The division is theirs to lose. Good game.

  11. Man Leftwich is really bad and Flacco’s not much better.

    Great rivalry, too bad the Steelers were forced to play their JV offensive squad tonight.

  12. It’s the NFL. We won’t know who the best team really is until they are holding the Belichick…err..Lombardi Trophy.

  13. This loss should rest squarely on the shoulders of mike Tomlin. It was quite obvious the entire game that leftwich’s ribs were hurt but he continued to play him. And his inability to throw the football regularly was the deciding factor in this game.

  14. I love Leftwich from his days of being carried by his OL from snap to snap back at Marshall, but unfortunately he’s just not an NFL QB. I can’t believe he never fixed that terrible looping delivery. I bet Jacksonville was counting on that when they took him in the 1st round.

  15. As a Ravens fan, I must say that the Steelers D is awesome, but my guys brought it when they had to tonight. The Ravens couldn’t get Rice going, which is not good. Leftwhich was injured and should have been pulled, although he is a warrior. Flacco did just enough to get the job done. In one sense, I love these Ravens/Steelers games, and in another, I hate them. So does my family, who have to live with me. And to thetokyosandblaster – are you retarded? I guess you enjoy those 55-49 “shootouts”? Ever hear of defense? It’s the AFC North, baby! Ask the Giants how they enjoyed their game against Cincy last week, and even the Browns took it to the Cowboys today. Good God, I was even rooting for the Browns!

  16. Graham is suddenly the Ravens best DB. Some nice big hits tonight, but tons of missed tackles. It looks easy to run past some of these guys. Suggs and Reed looked slow. But I’ll take it.

    Best news? Ben was out of that hideous uniform so no one got pollinated.

  17. To classify as a RIVALRY..Don’t the Steelers have to win every once in the while?

    Nice to see the Refs not throwing it for the Steelers, except for the first play.

  18. The Ravens beat the Steelers 13-10 minus Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens couldn’t manage an offensive touchdown.

    The Ravens are shaking in their boots. Enjoy the December implosion.

  19. “The caliber of Joe Flacco”?? That’s pretty low caliber. Flacco has a strong arm but he is not a top flight quarterback. He’s a game manager at best. Ravens going no where without their great defense. One and done!!

  20. Thriller? What were you watching? I’m a Steelers fan and that a terrible game. Two inept offenses. What was baltimores excuse?

  21. rocketcrab I agree with ya! im not a fan of either though. I just hope my vikings took note of how football should be played these days. Respect

  22. Exceot for Wallace, Crotchery and the Steelers Special teams, all the Steelers played with heart. the problem is the backup corners for th eRavens did too. Wallace is a joke as a premium WR. he is a one trick pony who only contribution was drawing a PI on the first play. The only catch he makes he promptly fumbles away which really changes the game because steelers were up 7-0 and were on course for another productive drive if he doesnt fumble.

    People I blame
    1) Steelers Special teams.: they have been flat out horrible all year with the exception of Suisham. Everest coached them much better last year where they gave up no huge returns and were not penalized as often. Amos JOnes isa joke. Tomlin is a joke for not having a better replacement for Everest.
    2) Mike Wallace: The guy kept acting in the offseason like he was such a top WR. He is not even getting much seperation on down the field routes these days. I dont’ care if you are double covered, you need to get open more often. And he drops or fumbles passes too many times.
    3) Haley: Easily his worst game coaching. Something about facing that KC team last week has ruined his coaching style. Two bad games called by him. he was such an improvment over arians early in the sason. a low percetnage sideline pass to the unreliable Will Johnson who is mainly a good blocker. A stupid call on 3rd and 2 to an inconsitent WR in the end zone when Dwyer has been chewing up yards most of the game? Took him too long to use the run game.
    4) Leftwich: He doesn’t land in my top 3 simply because he singlehandedly got us the 7 points early on. Otherwise, he was horrible. And then the few good plays he did make, his WRs drop half of them.
    5) Crotchery; YOU ARE NO HINES WARD.
    6) Tomlin: Special teams keep repeating the same problems. he fails to sign Jerrod JOhnson to the PS despite the unreliability and lack of durability for Leftwich. And year after yeaer, Tomlin simply does not care for Batch inexplicably as his top backup.
    7) Drew Butler: second bad game in a row for this punter. Partly responsible for field position disadvantage.

    Kudos to Jacoby for another excellent return this season. Kudos to the Ravens backup corners.
    Kudos to the Steelers D that had their best game in two years. Better than even their effort against NE last year.

  23. Does anyone know why the Steelers call timeout with 2:04 left in the 4th quarter? It gave the Ravens the opportunity to open up their play book as the next play regardless if it were a run play or an incomplete pass would be the 2 minute warning.

  24. Congratulations Baltimore you won the game with 200 yds total offense!!! The steelers defense dominated. Not making excuses but the outcome would have been different if Ben was playing instead of Leftwich. I will repeat Baltimore did win the game and again not making excuses but unfortunately some one had to win the game and I dont think either team deserved victory. Hope to see the rematch in the playoffs with Big Ben and Flacco (head to head) when it really counts.

  25. If the Ravens win the division, they’ll do what they always do — get knocked out in the first or second round of the playoffs. It’s fairly predictable by now, and this crew ain’t gonna change that. Too bad, really. When the Steelers used to beat them regularly, at least they went on to win some hardware. All the Ravens do is lose when it really counts. But hey, enjoy this one, kids. I’m afraid it’s as good as it’s gonna get for you.

  26. There were numerous times throughout the game when Leftwich looked to be in more pain than Roethlisberger, who, dislocated rib and all, was seen jumping up and down along the Steelers sideline like a madman…
    Ever have a bruised, cracked or dislocated rib? Breathing is nearly impossible let alone cheerleading…

  27. As a Ravens fan all I can say is thank God Joe Flacco is elite. He won another big-time game. He continues to just win baby. Just like all those playoff victories he won, he just continues to win and win and win because he’s a winner. He’s not a scrambler or a gunslinger. He’s a winner. Because he wins games. It’s what winners do. Stats? Ha..He doesn’t need those stupid big numbers because he wins. And when you don’t win, you know what you’re called? You’re called another player, that’s what, because Joe’s a winner. It’s a shame about all those playoff games and road games the team has blown over the years when they have such a winner at QB. He can’t even talk to anyone on the sidelines for fear of making them feel inferior to his winningness. He can’t audible for fear of his winning call going over their non-winning player heads. He’s the Charlie Sheen of the NFL – winning.

  28. Clearly if Ben was in they would have won.
    Defense dominated.
    If Lefty wasn’t hurt at end, and makes that throw to Gilreath at the end this article would should a little different.
    If I was a Ravens fan I would be worried. 6 points of offense wont cut it most weeks.

  29. How can the Steelers wear those hidious bumble bee looking uniforms and be expected to look like winners,hopefully they will be relegated to the fire pit about eyesore.embarrasing.

  30. the steelers coaching staff should be heavily criticized for their ridiculous use of their last time out at 2:04 to conserve 4 seconds…using it right after the 2:00 warning would have left them much more time for a final drive (very unlikely they score anyway, but more clock improves their chances)

  31. Last night proved one thing and one thing only, the steelers are now the joke of the NFL with their new “Bumbling Bees” outfits. I’m sure the steelers wish their mommies were dressing them because their mommies would never dress them so hilariously ugly. Seeing them wear that ridiculous outfit once was once too many but to see it multiple times is just too funny as to why any adult would allow himself to be dressed so goofy. They might as well start wearing yellow and black striped tutu’s as that would be more manly than those Bumbling Bee outfits.

    Bumbling Bees are the Laughing Stock of the NFL!!!

  32. I am having some issues figuring out how the Ravens fans can be so proud of that win last night. A 3point win over a team playing their whole second string isn’t something to be impressed with! I hate the steelers as much as anyone, but the Ravens need to be worried that the game was as close as it was!

  33. footballfan says:
    Nov 19, 2012 9:27 AM
    I am having some issues figuring out how the Ravens fans can be so proud of that win last night. A 3point win over a team playing their whole second string isn’t something to be impressed with!____________________________
    They were missing 2 players on O- Ben and Brown and Troy on D. How is that their entire team again? And Brown’s had a significant drop off in production from last year so it’s not like a probowl caliber player was lost.

    Meanwhile Ravens are without Webb, Ray Lewis, Jimmy Smith, Mount Cody, playing a 1-armed Ngata, lost Pitta right away (#2 in receptions in BAL), Suggs still not back to form… say what you want about Lefty as a backup QB but he had Cary Williams and a slew of 4th and 5th CB’s to throw at, along with a weak group @ ILB. For a 10 year vet he should be licking his chops to see that, but the defense held strong.

  34. I find it interesting that “next man up” applies until the loss. Then it is “throw them under the bus”. In fairness Leftwich was hurting and should have been pulled. I am a fan but sadly I fear neither of these teams will compete in the AFC.

  35. Tomlin said before the game that excuses are for losers, and I couldn’t agree with him more. Much respect to the Steelers for being a hard nosed physical football team. See ya in two weeks. Whomever thinks that these teams aren’t formidable opponents just doesn’t know football.

  36. Steelers really mismanaged the clock at the end. The ravens had to run a play before the 2 minute warning, so why stop it at 2:04?? If they had saved that timeout, ravens would have been punting with about 1:56 left instead of 1:15. Mendenhall not running out of bounds cost them about 20 seconds as well. Rookie mistake from a vet.

    I know the steelers back up qbs aren’t the best , but if leftwich can’t make a 10 yd pass without bouncing it, he’s gotta come out. Quite a few easy receptions were lost due to horrible throws

  37. I’m a Steelers fan but this loss is squarely on Tomlins’ shoulders. He knew that Rightwich was hurt yet refused to put in a healthy Batch. The defense really only gave up 1 field goal all night.
    Batch could have mixed in a few passes while Dwyer was ramming down their throats. But nooooo, Tomlin was to hardheaded and stupid to put in a healthy qb to just manage the game. Tomlin, u are an idiot!

  38. sixlombardisinyourface says: Nov 19, 2012 10:19 AM

    How many yards did Ray Rice have ?
    How many catches did Torrey Smith have ?
    How many TD’s did the Ravens offense have with all their starters in the game ?

    Haha. lets talk about what matters

    How many points did the Steelers have?
    How many points did the Ravens have?
    How many games up are the Ravens in the division?

  39. Just like “A win is a win”…well, a loss is a loss. It was a fun game to watch, even from the losing side.

    While the D kept the game winnable, why no takeaways?? Lebeau has been an icon for a long time, but it’s time to stop giving him a free pass.

    Kudos to Jacoby Jones for stepping up as the difference maker.

  40. Steeler fans everywhere are distraught. Their only chance of salvation was winning last night. Sucks, another raven sweep on the horizon. Soak it in folks.

  41. I take it all back, all I said about Flacco being the least important QB in football… I mean, last night showed why he’s the league MVP! No WAY the Ravens win without Flacco running back that punt for a TD!

    Joe Flacco isn’t just the Ravens MVP, he’s the league MVP! And he’s definitely not the most irrelevant player in football.

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