Sunday Night wrap-up: Joe Flacco leads Ravens to impressive road win

AP

Maybe the Ravens should have drafted another quarterback long ago.

While Lamar Jackson is still playing a very small role in their offense, his addition appears to have made a big difference in the way the incumbent quarterback’s playing.

Veteran Joe Flacco threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ravens played their traditional kind of timely defense to beat the Steelers 26-14 on the road.

Flacco is throwing the ball downfield more, and hitting more of those plays. That’s what the Ravens offense has wanted to be based on through a number of versions. His yards per attempt and yards per completion numbers last year (5.7 and 8.9, respectively) were grotesque, but now he has a bit more confidence downfield (8.6 and 13.0 against the Steelers).

Meanwhile, Jackson had four carries for 17 yards and didn’t throw a pass. At some point, the Ravens will want to diversify his role (if he doesn’t throw a pass, the element of surprise is lessened), but it’s hard to take the ball out of Flacco’s hands right now.

Especially with the Ravens creating turnovers on defense, it’s a formula that’s working, and it starts at the top.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football.

1. The Steelers can spin it however they like, but there’s no denying the fact they’re not remotely the same offense without running back Le'Veon Bell.

Bell still hasn’t shown up because of his contract unhappiness, and coach Mike Tomlin has declared he didn’t want to talk about him. Any efforts to trade him haven’t gotten anywhere, which makes it reasonable to wonder if he’s movable considering the contract limitations (anyone who trades for him can’t renegotiate his deal).

But without him, there’s no balance to the Steelers offense, no matter how much they try to force James Conner into a lead role. Conner had nine carries for 19 yards Sunday, as the Steelers threw 47 passes and had 11 rush attempts as a team.

Bell coming back, if he comes back, will help get that back to where it needs to be. But at the moment, the debate is about the balance between receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown, and that’s not to the benefit of anyone there.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards in the first half. He finished with 274. As good as he is, relying on him to be the entire offense isn’t sustainable.

2. John Brown has always shown hints of being an explosive receiver.

He just hasn’t been able to keep it going.

The Ravens wideout finished with three catches for 116 yards and a touchdown, with a 33-yard touchdown reception and another 71-yarder.

In a perfect world, he’d provide the Ravens with the consistent deep threat they need to take full advantage of Flacco’s skills. But he hasn’t been consistent over the course of his career.

He caught 65 passes for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015 for the Cardinals, but fell off sharply after that, and they seemed willing to walk away from him.

Brown can make big plays, he just needs to make them more often.

3. Steelers fans have a visceral reaction to tight end Vance McDonald, and rightfully so.

But he brings out big reactions from people who aren’t even in the stadium as well.

McDonald got the home fans lathered up in the second quarter by rolling attempted Ravens tacklers backward during their touchdown drive before the half. It wasn’t as violent as his stiff-arm of Bucs safety Chris Conte last week, but honestly, what is?

But Conte seemed to enjoy an earlier play, when McDonald had the ball taken away from him by safety Tony Jefferson, and then was blasted out of the frame by Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley.

“A wise man once said…’What goes around comes around.'” Conte replied to a Twitter commenter who forwarded video of the play to him.

Conte’s on injured reserve now, after he tried to play with a torn knee ligament, and it didn’t work.

4. As the Steelers continue to try to improve on defense, they’ve taken to rotating cornerbacks Coty Sensabaugh and Artie Burns, opposite veteran Joe Haden.

While it might be hard to discern any advantage without a close look at tape (do they make me an honorary coach for saying that?) Sensabaugh made some of the visible plays that could keep him on the field.

He and safety Sean Davis were responsible for the Alex Collins fumble near the goal line, stopping a play that would have given the Ravens a 21-3 lead in the first half.

Haden is so solid on the other side that the other Steelers corner is going to see a lot of traffic, so finding the right mix will be crucial.

5. The Ravens secondary played an incredible game.

They’re about to get their best cover player back.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith will return from his four-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy next week, giving them another playmaker in the back seven.

Brandon Carr will be the odd man out when Smith returns, as 2017 first-rounder Marlon Humphrey isn’t going anywhere. But that gives them depth at a position where many teams are looking for two qualified starters.

63 responses to “Sunday Night wrap-up: Joe Flacco leads Ravens to impressive road win

  1. terrible game by the Steelers. out coached, out played, out smarted, they got physically and mentally dominated.

  2. Pittsburgh couldn’t cover a high school player. It is sooo weird to watch a Steelers game and see such a lame excuse for a defense.FFL’ers everywhere have stopped picking up defenses to play against lousy offenses and started picking up whatever QB is playing against the Squealers. Good thing they fired their offensive coordinator and kept their defensive coordinator…that’s the OC that seems to be turning around the Browns. THink about it. The Browns.

  3. The Ravens haven’t had depth at Cornerback since they had Chris McAlister. Yeah that’s been a long while.

  4. Will everyone finally stop pretending that James Conner is any good now? He’s been constantly talked up by announcers, writers, and fans despite the fact he’s averaging 3.7 ypc, which is terrible. He has a nice backstory, but he’s not producing like a #1 back should. Not even close. Part of the reason the Steelers are 1-2-1.

  5. The Ravens came to play football. The Steelers, and their coaches, came to watch the Ravens play football. Until there is a big shake up in Pittsburgh, nothing is going to change. The players are not held accountable by the coaches, and the coaches are not held accountable by the owners. The offense is all they have going for them, and when they aren’t on, game over. This is the worst Steelers defense that I can remember, and I remember some really bad ones. Everybody just going through the motions. They could easily be, and probably deserve to be 0-4 right now.

  6. All my Steeler friends/fans want Tomlin fired. I always defend him but it’s getting increasingly more difficult. They can start by firing Berry! Guy can’t punt the ball over 40 yds. Enough, he’s a punter for God’s sake!!

  7. Lol. Steelers fighting it out with the Browns for last place. This is great. Almost as great as the Bengals being 3-1 and getting a clutch last second win on the road today.

  8. Now that Flacco has 4 legitimate WRs and 4 more TEs, he’s back to the January Joe, Super Bowl MVP, who led the Ravens to 5 staright playoffs. Will the media finally connect the dots between Joe’s now-healed ankle & back injuries, his mediocre WRs since Boldin was fired, and the Ravens resurgence under Joe’s strong right arm?

    btw: now whatever happened to all the Flacco-flamers: “Jump Ball Joe” etc?

  9. I don’t doubt that drafted Jackson is one factor but its arguable how big of one it is. The real reasons Flacco is looking good to start the year is his own health, an o-line that got their leader and a top 5 guard in the league in Yanda back from injury, and the best compliment of receiving weapons Flacco has had since Boldin, Pitta, and Jacoby Jones helped him become a Super Bowl MVP. One of the biggest mistakes Newsome ever made was being cheap and trading Boldin when he had no replacement in position.

  10. Mike Tomlin has lost that locker room and Ben looked awful in the second half. The Ravens defense looks like it did back in the early 2000s which spells trouble. Flacco is inconsistent but even he couldn’t pass up the chance to light up that terrible Steelers defense. I can only imagine what Old Man Brady does to them.

  11. 🙂

    I agree with all the comments

    But still love my Steelers baby

    I believe the organization will right the ship eventually

  12. Congrats to the Ravens!

    Tomlin is good person and a decent coach with a solid record of success. BR’s playing days are coming to an end so it will be interesting to see how the Steelers deal with the transition…

  13. In Arizona John Brown would pull himself, sitting out of both practices and several games citing his sickle cell disease as the reasons why. Arizona let him walk eventually because he was NEVER on the field and when he was he wasnt good. Being that John Brown is essentially in a contract year because he’s on a 1yr deal I’d be EXTREMELY SKEPTICAL if I were the Ravens or any other team thinking of giving big money long-term. I’d have his contract based off playing time or have some sort or protection written into the deal because JB has already proven he wont play hurt or sick, he is a very risky player to sign long term.

  14. they might as well start Rudolph and see what the kids got. they’re already in line for a top 5 pick

  15. Vance Mcdonald looked so tough getting the ball ripped out of his hands by someone 70lbs lighter than him..fake tough guy alert

  16. hawkkiller says:
    October 1, 2018 at 4:35 am
    In Arizona John Brown would pull himself, sitting out of both practices and several games citing his sickle cell disease as the reasons why.

    —————–

    what year did you play with the cardinals? glad to see someone who was actually in the locker room giving an inside look..

  17. It’s nice to see the Ravens hold both the Broncos and the lowly Steelers to just 14 points in the first half and completely shut them them out in the second. The Broncos and Steelers will be a good matchup because they are both going to be playing for last place in the AFC.. Too bad they still don’t have Tebow to finish off those rotten Steelers once and for all.

  18. It’s nice to see the Ravens hold both the Broncos and the lowly Steelers to just 14 points in the first half and completely shut them the, out in the second. The Broncos and Steelers will be a good matchup because they are both less than mediocre teams. Too bad they still don’t have Tebow to finish the, off again.

  19. Unfortunately the Steelers’ defense is not good, and the offense is one dimensional with no running game. It is still early in the season and a lot can happen. But everybody on the team needs to shut up, dig in and work hard to win some games.

  20. steelpenguin6687 said it perfectly above – Steelers were outplayed, outcoached, out-everythinged. Defense is awful, we know that. But the offense – top 2 or 3 offensive line, one of the best WR duos in the league, 2 good TEs, decent run game even without Bell. Weird to say but I think one weak link is Ben. Coaches (the other 3 weak links) let him run the show on offense and it isn’t working. Going to be a long season – Tomlin’s seat better at least be starting to get warm.

  21. heinrich95 says:
    September 30, 2018 at 11:36 pm
    I’m a steeler fan, I think the era’s Tomlin is over, take Tomlin out and leave Munchack the resto of the season!!!

    ————-
    Think again fanboy. Coach Tomlin is the best coach in the league. He is not the problem. He never is.

  22. The media spins this narrative that Joe is playing better, and “more motivated” because of Lamar Jackson. That’s ridiculous. Joe is the same player. He’s got better players around him. Look at his receivers he had last year. And still won 9 games. Not one has caught a pass this year.

  23. We already won. Led by the best QB in the NFL in Joe Flacco and a top 5 WR in John Brown and an elite defense. No team in the league can match up with the Baltimore Ravens. It’s done. Can’t wait for the parade.

  24. Both these teams are terrible. The Steelers D has been playing like garbage and now the offense is starting to follow. No playmakers on the backend of the D. This is what happens when your Offense doesn’t put up points. A loss. Can’t rely on the D.

  25. Bell is not the issue at all. When you spot the other team 14 points, you aren’t going to be running much. In the second half the entire offense was garbage, very little had to do with Connor. If anything, the Steelers D looked fairly good in the second half. They were on the field for 22 minutes and gave up nothing but field goals. That is a pretty decent showing. If the offense can’t score more than 14 points, very few teams are going to win games.

  26. The problem is not so much with James Connor, it’s with falling behind big early in games, which inhibits use of the running game. Connor will likely be fine, if they ever get the rest straightened out.
    And Art Rooney II is most definitely not Art Sr or II’s dad Dan. He’s let this get completely out of control.

  27. I thought running backs are a dime a dozen. You don’t have to pay backs cause you can always find one in the draft. Yet I just watched Zeke carry the Cowboys to a win, I see Gurley playing a huge role in LA in his team’s victory. Not only is Bell an elite back catching the ball out the back field, he is an elite blocker who has been in this system for 6 years. Steelers fans were kidding themselves to believe they wouldn’t miss Bell at all.

  28. I remember saying that we should hold off on praising the Ravens until they beat a good team. They still haven’t beaten a good team.
    The Steelers awful

  29. I am a Ravens fan and honestly I am not as excited about this win as I thought I would be. Pitts looks like a very bad team and I think the Browns are better.

  30. Was there anything more beautiful than watching Haden and Sutton run after John Brown? You can serve them up for lunch today because both were thoroughly smoked. Hahahaha.

  31. The sorry Pats and Steelers are the past. We own both teams. There’s no team in the NFL better than the Ravens. Not even close. Mahomes? Terrell Suggs would kill him. He can’t handle the pressure of the Ravens defense. CJ Mosley is a beast. He’s Tom Brady’s worst nightmare. Josh Gordon will wish he’s back in rehab if he has to go up against our elite corners. The NFL is ours no team is even close. Hand Flacco the MVP now and just give us the Lombardi. It’s over! Done!!

  32. flaccojumpball says:
    October 1, 2018 at 10:57 am
    The sorry Pats and Steelers are the past. We own both teams. There’s no team in the NFL better than the Ravens. Not even close. Mahomes? Terrell Suggs would kill him. He can’t handle the pressure of the Ravens defense. CJ Mosley is a beast. He’s Tom Brady’s worst nightmare. Josh Gordon will wish he’s back in rehab if he has to go up against our elite corners. The NFL is ours no team is even close. Hand Flacco the MVP now and just give us the Lombardi. It’s over! Done!!
    ————————————————–
    There are a few games left in the season ya know

  33. flaccojumpball says:
    October 1, 2018 at 10:57 am
    The sorry Pats and Steelers are the past. We own both teams. There’s no team in the NFL better than the Ravens. Not even close. Mahomes? Terrell Suggs would kill him. He can’t handle the pressure of the Ravens defense. CJ Mosley is a beast. He’s Tom Brady’s worst nightmare. Josh Gordon will wish he’s back in rehab if he has to go up against our elite corners. The NFL is ours no team is even close. Hand Flacco the MVP now and just give us the Lombardi. It’s over! Done!!

    ———-

    Your team will still finish behind my Steelers fanboy. And as for the Patriots, they ripped through our division like a hot knife through butter last time they played the AFCN. Get a hold of yourself. Your weak coach is no match for Coach Tomlin.

  34. The Ravens looked really good this game. Happy for Baltimore fans; hope it helps them forget about the abysmal year of baseball the Orioles had.

  35. People always say good QBs can throw to anybody and make them look good and get open.Joe did that last night. Flacco threw completions to 11 different receivers last night.

    For the time being, Joe has a solid o-line in front of him AND he’s healthy for the first time in a few years.

  36. flaccodelic says:
    September 30, 2018 at 11:37 pm
    Did you see all those jump balls Flacco was whipping into tight coverage all night?

    jacktheraven says:
    October 1, 2018 at 9:07 am
    The media spins this narrative that Joe is playing better, and “more motivated” because of Lamar Jackson. That’s ridiculous. Joe is the same player. He’s got better players around him. Look at his receivers he had last year. And still won 9 games. Not one has caught a pass this year.

    ——————————————-

    My man and my man! I can’t give these enough thumbs up.

  37. canedaddy says:
    October 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    flaccodelic says:
    September 30, 2018 at 11:37 pm
    Did you see all those jump balls Flacco was whipping into tight coverage all night?

    jacktheraven says:
    October 1, 2018 at 9:07 am
    The media spins this narrative that Joe is playing better, and “more motivated” because of Lamar Jackson. That’s ridiculous. Joe is the same player. He’s got better players around him. Look at his receivers he had last year. And still won 9 games. Not one has caught a pass this year.

    ——————————————-

    My man and my man! I can’t give these enough thumbs up.

    ~~~~

    I think Chris Moore caught a pass last night. This is spot on. Hard to believe this is happening with an entirely new receiving core.

  38. Joe flaco is looking very good, the defense is looking very good. This ravens team will be playing in the afc Title game against the chiefs.

  39. Nofoolnodrool says:
    October 1, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    flaccojumpball says:
    October 1, 2018 at 10:57 am
    The sorry Pats and Steelers are the past. We own both teams. There’s no team in the NFL better than the Ravens. Not even close. Mahomes? Terrell Suggs would kill him. He can’t handle the pressure of the Ravens defense. CJ Mosley is a beast. He’s Tom Brady’s worst nightmare. Josh Gordon will wish he’s back in rehab if he has to go up against our elite corners. The NFL is ours no team is even close. Hand Flacco the MVP now and just give us the Lombardi. It’s over! Done!!

    ———-

    Your team will still finish behind my Steelers fanboy. And as for the Patriots, they ripped through our division like a hot knife through butter last time they played the AFCN. Get a hold of yourself. Your weak coach is no match for Coach Tomlin.

    Harbaugh owns Tomlin. Hell he owns Belichicks overrated behind too

  40. How do you feel about the fact that a man cheats on his wife? I personally think that both are to blame, since the wife should be responsible for the intimacy and satisfaction of her husband. And if he changes you means something is wrong with you, who agrees? For entertainment, usually men use this service. Where they can found classy girls .

  41. I will say this the Steelers need to reevaluate from Sunday night they look like garbage! Baltimore Ravens should’ve beaten the brakes off of them by at least 2-3 TD’s! Pittsburgh’s defense “SUCKS DA BIG 1”, if I my BLKBYRDS played liked that I’d be embarrassed, but hey! That was last wk! Wk.5 on to dig up in Cleveland for a few hours if we play our “A-Game”! Which I think we will. Good luck with the Falcons ,see ya in 4-5 wks. Hope you guys have Bell back when come down.

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