The Baltimore Ravens hadn't lost a game at home in two years, until last night when the rival Pittsburgh Steelers used a Shaun Suisham 42 yard field goal as time expired to end Baltimore's 15 game home winning streak.
Baltimore had a 20-13 lead in the fourth quarter and Ed Reed had just recorded his 61st career interception in the endzone off of third string Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, all of the momentum was with the Ravens and their playoff spot seemed locked up. Then everything started falling apart, as Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco fumbled the football on the ensuing drive, that Batch and the Steelers turned into the game tying touchdown a few plays later. The Ravens then punted the football away on their next drive and Batch led the Steelers on a 12 play, 6:14 drive that went 61 yards and ended with the walk off Suisham field goal.
Pittsburgh took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter before Baltimore would reel off 13 unanswered points on two Justin Tucker field goals and a 28 yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin and went into halftime with a 13-6 lead. The Ravens defense was playing spectacular in the first half, only giving up 93 total yards in the first half.
The second half was a whole different story as Pittsburgh garnered 273 yards of total offense and scored 17 points. Baltimore's defense just seemed to go into a slumber, as they struggled to get any pressure on Batch through a banged up offensive line and the secondary left several Steelers receivers wide open. Batch, with plenty of time, simply picked the Ravens defense apart, and ended up completing 25 of 36 pass attempts for 276 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Batch's touchdown and most of his yards came in the second half comeback.
Baltimore did a great job against Pittsburgh's running game holding them under 100 total rushing yards, but struggled on pass defense. Other than a great second quarter that saw the Ravens offense score 13 points, the offense struggled most of the night against the top ranked defense in the NFL. Flacco finished the game having completed just 16 of 34 pass attempts for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ray Rice had a decent game rushing for 78 yards on just 12 carries and a touchdown, while Boldin led the receiving core with 5 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Although a win would have clinched a playoff spot for Baltimore, it would not have clinched the AFC North as the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the San Diego Chargers 20-13, but the loss ends the Ravens' four game winning streak and drops them to 9-3 on the season and now just a two game lead in the division. The victory improved the Steelers to 7-5 on the year, and pull one game closer to the Ravens in the standings.
Check back tomorrow where we will dive deeper into the numbers from yesterday's game on both sides of the football.
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