A look at the top five Ravens moments in the Ravens/Steelers rivalry

When the Pittsburgh Steelers notched their first win of the season on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it officially became Steelers week in Baltimore.

In what is arguably the greatest rivalry in the NFL, the Ravens and Steelers will write their 49th chapter on Sunday night in the Steel City. Unfortunately, the Steelers lead the all-time series 27-21 and Baltimore will head into this game looking to snap a three-game losing streak in the series.

Ahead of this week’s game, let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at the greatest Ravens moments in the Ravens/Steelers rivalry.

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TJ Houshmanzadeh burns Bryant McFadden for the game winner. Image Credit: Getty Images

5) October 3,2010-TJ Houshmandzadeh wins it for Baltimore

In what was the Steelers fourth game without star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (who was serving the final game of a four game suspension for violating the NFL’S personal conduct policy), the Ravens found themselves trailing 14-10 with 1:08 left to play and no timeouts.

That’s when Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense took over at the Pittsburgh 40-yard line. Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin for back-to-back gains of nine and three yards to advance the ball to the Steelers 28-yard line. Next was 10-yard strike to T.J. Houshmandzadeh to get the ball into the red zone at the Pittsburgh 18.

On the next play, Flacco took the snap and pump-faked Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden out of his jock strap, allowing Houshmandzadeh to sneak behind him for the go-ahead 18-yard touchdown pass.

Ray Lewis and the defense put it away by intercepting Charlie Batch on the first pass of the subsequent Steelers drive giving the Ravens a 17-14 win over their arch rivals.

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4) November 26, 2006-Bart Scott rocks Ben Roethlisberger in Ravens Sack Fest

In what was the best regular season in Ravens franchise history, the best moment of that year may have come against the Steelers. The Ravens were leading 14-0 at the 3:30 mark of the second quarter and were in search of their ninth win of the season in week 12.

On a second-and-eight from their own 14-yard line, Roethlisberger dropped back to pass looking to get the Steelers back in the contest. Bart Scott came off the left side of the defensive front untouched and leveled Roethlisberger clean notching the Ravens third sack of the day.

Roethlisberger stayed down on the field for several minutes trying to collect his thoughts after the bone-jarring hit from Scott. It was one of nine sacks on the day for the Ravens defense en route to a 27-0 home victory. The game is one of only three shutouts in the history of the rivalry.

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Ray Rice Plunges into the endzone to give the Ravens a 14-0 lead. Image Credit: Getty Images

3) September 11, 2011- Ravens throttle Steelers in season opener

The Ravens and Steelers rivalry was fresh off of a 31-24 Steelers triumph in the 2010 AFC divisional playoffs. That was a game that saw the Ravens blow a 21-7 halftime lead with three turnovers in the third quarter to help the Steelers complete the comeback.

The Ravens didn’t have to wait long to see their rivals as they welcomed the Super Bowl runner-ups to town for the 2011 season opener looking to avenge that loss. The Ravens once again jumped out to a 21-7 lead on the strength of two Flacco first half touchdown passes.

As they sat in the locker room, Ray Lewis spoke loudly after his teammates compared the two games.”They were saying, ‘We’ve been here before,” Lewis said. “No, we haven’t been here before. This is a whole new year.”

The Ravens responded well this time when Haloti Ngata forced a Rashard Mendenhall fumble on the first possession of the second half. Flacco found Ed Dickson on the next play for an 18-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 27-7 and the Ravens picked up the two-point conversion when Sam Koch rushed it in.

The Ravens would pick up a season-opening 35-7 win over the Steelers in what remains the Ravens’ most lopsided victory in the rivalry.

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Joe Flacco celebrates with Crockett Gilmore after extending the Ravens lead to 30-15. Image Credit: Getty Images

2) January 3, 2015- Ravens pick up first playoff win over Steelers

To this point in the rivalry, the Ravens were 0-3 against the Steelers in the playoffs. The Ravens caught a huge break in the game with Le’Veon Bell missing the contest due to a hyperextended right knee.

Flacco and the offense got off to a good start in the game taking their second possession 80 yards over eight plays and capping it off with a Bernard Pierce touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-3 lead. The teams alternated field goals on the next three possessions giving the Ravens a 10-9 halftime lead.

After a Justin Tucker field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter, the Ravens notched a Torrey Smith touchdown after the Steelers were forced to punt to extend the lead to 20-9.

The Steelers cut it to 20-15 at the 11:01 mark of the fourth quarter but that was as close as they would get and the Ravens triumphed 30-17 for their first postseason win against the Steelers.

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Image Credit: USA Today

1) November 6, 2011- Flacco’s finest drive leads Ravens over Steelers

Ravens trail 20-16. 2:24 left to play. Flacco and the offense take over at their own eight-yard line.

No words can do this drive justice. Enjoy:

The win put the Ravens in a first place tie with the Bengals atop the AFC North. This drive is the best drive I have ever seen from a Ravens quarterback. This win also completed a season sweep of the Steelers which helped the Ravens with the AFC North and secure a home playoff game.

As Steelers week is upon us what are your favorite memories from the rivalry?

Image Credit: WNST

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Three things to watch for as the Ravens host the Broncos in Week 3

BALTIMORE — The 1-1 Baltimore Ravens will welcome the 2-0 Denver Broncos to M&T Bank Stadium this Sunday looking to bounce back from a disappointing 34-23 setback last Thursday night in Cincinnati.

Some of the same problems we’ve seen from the Ravens in recent seasons plagued the team again on Thursday. An offense sputtering out of the gate coupled with a C.J. Mosley-less defense found the Ravens behind the eight ball faced with a 21-0 deficit less than two minutes into the second quarter.

The defense and offense both woke up to some extent to lead a furious charge back into the contest. The Ravens sliced the Bengals’ lead to five with roughly nine and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. After a Tavon Young holding penalty extended the Bengals next drive which led to a field goal, quarterback Joe Flacco fell victim to a sack fumble on the next possession which ultimately put the game away.

A road loss on Thursday night football isn’t the end of the world, but it was still against a division opponent who’s had the Ravens’ number in recent seasons. Now, the Ravens find themselves in a must-win situation at home against the Broncos before facing the Steelers, Browns, and Titans all on the road. As for Denver, the Broncos share the lead in the AFC West with the also undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos began the season with two impressive victories at home over the Seahawks and Raiders. Here’s what to watch for during Sunday’s contest.

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Alex Collins is praying for more carries this week against the Broncos. Image Credit: ESPN

1) Can the Ravens commit to the running game?

Much of the story for the past few seasons surrounding the Ravens offense has been the team’s inability/unwillingness to commit to the running game. Starting tailback Alex Collins has just 16 carries through two weeks which is a number that Ravens fans want to see go up significantly.

Flacco provides the greatest value when he is able to run play action effectively and hit deep passes to his new look receiver corps. It is impossible to establish the play action passing game when you prove to offer no threat of running the football. 10 out of 13 Ravens drives last week featured first down passes. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg needs to change that this week.

Given the Ravens’ offensive line struggles, one of the best ways to get an offensive line feeling confident about themselves is to allow them to run block. The Broncos are sixth against the run through two weeks this season but have faced Seattle and Oakland to this point; neither team offers the run threat that the Ravens can present in Collins.

If the Ravens don’t commit to the running game this week against the Broncos, it could be a long day for the offense.

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Ronnie Stanley will need to come up with a gutsy performance this Sunday. Image Credit: Getty Images

2) How in the world do the Ravens block Von Miller and Bradley Chubb?

The Ravens’ offensive line are coming off of a night in which they allowed four sacks and several additional hurries against the Bengals. The Bengals’ pass rush disrupted Flacco and the offense all night making it difficult for them to find consistent rhythmn. Flacco moved well in the pocket to make the most of a rough night from his guys up front, but if the line struggles Sunday, the problem may be too great to overcome once again.

Von Miller is one of the most disruptive forces in the NFL. He consistently presents the ability to absolutely wreck your offensive game plan. He is nearly impossible to single team and that challenge gets even greater when you consider that Ravens starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley was limited in practice yesterday with an arm injury.

A one-arm Stanley figures to present a greater challenge for Miller than a two armed James Hurst, who could arguably be the worst left tackle on the planet. Miller has four sacks on the season and is looking to put together his fifth straight 10+ sack season.

Another issue for the Ravens is that Miller now has a formidable pass-rushing sidekick in 2018 fifth overall pick Bradley Chubb. While the North Carolina State product doesn’t boast the experience or consistency of Miller, he did record 10 sacks in each of his last two seasons in Raleigh. Chubb has a half-sack on the season and the Ravens will hope his slow start carries over into Sunday.

The Ravens will undoubtedly have to chip with tight ends on Miller and may have to leave extra backs in to help out as well. This is a huge test for the Ravens’ offensive line and we will see if they can answer the call this Sunday.

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Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce need to help shut down the Denver rushing game in the absence of C.J. Mosley. Image Credit: WJLA

3) Can the Ravens defense make the Broncos one-dimensional?

The Ravens gave up over 100 yards on the ground last week to Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard and company. With Mosley out of the game early, the Bengals churned out yardage to the tune of four yards per-carry. Mosley doesn’t project to play this week which will put more pressure on Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce.

Enter Phillip Lindsay and the Broncos second ranked rushing offense. Lindsay, a rookie out of the University of Colorado, is currently third in the NFL with 178 rushing yards to-date. The Broncos also have 2018 third-round pick and projected starter Royce Freeman who put up 99 yards and a touchdown in two games despite Lindsay taking a majority of the snaps.

It is imperative for the Ravens’ defense to shut down the Broncos running game and make Case Keenum and the Denver offense one-dimensional. Keenum has three touchdowns and four interceptions to-date on the season and although he boasts a 2-1 record against the Ravens lifetime, his numbers are poor.

Prior to last season’s breakout year and subsequent free agency score, Keenum had just 27 passing touchdowns and 24 interceptions in 28 career appearances. He is a gunslinger who is prone to turning the ball over and the if the Ravens make him beat them, it bodes well for a Baltimore victory this Sunday.

Prediction: Ravens 23 Broncos 17

I think the Ravens look more like the team that dismantled the Bills than the one that struggled against the Bengals. This is a bigger game for the Ravens than it is for the Broncos with the Ravens heading to Pittsburgh next week. They don’t want to be staring a 1-3 first quarter of the year in the face. They won’t be.

The Details:

Image Credit: The Sports Daily

Three things to watch for as the Ravens head to Cincinnati on Thursday night

The Baltimore Ravens will head into Cincinnati on Thursday night to take on the Bengals in a key week two divisional match-up with both teams looking to get to 2-0 on the season.

The Ravens demolished the Amherst Central High Sch…I mean Buffalo Bills this past Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium 47-3. It was a dominant performance from the Ravens against a far inferior opponent, but the Bengals figure to present a greater challenge on Thursday night in the Ravens’ first road contest of the season.

While many of the Ravens’ starters were able to rest for a majority of the second half during Sunday’s blowout, the Bengals were locked in a nail biter against the Indianapolis Colts in their season opener. The Bengals prevailed 34-23 after outscoring the Colts 24-7 in the second half.

Here’s what to watch for this Thursday night.

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Joe Flacco will be looking to reverse his trend of poor play against the Bengals. Image Credit: USA Today

1) Can Joe Flacco change the narrative against the Bengals?

Joe Flacco has really struggled against the Bengals throughout his career. Flacco is 9-10 against them lifetime, but his numbers in those games have been extremely concerning. Flacco is throwing for roughly 203 yards per game and has thrown 19 touchdowns with 23 interceptions against Cincinnati. He also has a 60% completion percentage and a passer rating of 72.

It’s even worse for Flacco at Paul Brown Stadium. He is 3-6 lifetime there, averaging 174 yards per game with six touchdowns and 13 picks. His completion percentage drops to 58% and his passer rating drops to 66. He has been a train wreck in The Queen City.

Flacco got off to a hot start on Sunday, going 25-for-34 for 236 yards and three touchdowns against the Bills. It was encouraging to see each of the free agent wide receiver signees in Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead IV catch touchdown passes in the season-opening victory.

The running game was quiet on Sunday, potentially by design and Cincinnati allowed just 75 yards on 22 carries against the Colts in the opener. Joe and his new toys need to deliver for the Ravens to emerge victorious on Thursday night.

2) How does the offensive line perform against a formidable defensive front?

The Bills came into last week fresh off of a 29th-place finish in total sacks last season, tallying just 27. The Bengals finished with 41 sacks in 2017, placing them just outside of the top 10 and tied with the Ravens for 11th in the NFL last season.

In other words, this is a far more formidable adversary for the Ravens’ offensive line. The line held up well in week one against the Bills, allowing just two sacks on the day. Flacco had to move around in the pocket a good bit, but overall the offensive line did a nice job during the 47-3 drubbing.

However, the Bengals boast a pass rushing duo of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins who are both looking to prove that they were worthy of their contract extensions that they received this summer. Both players got off to a great start notching week one sacks against the Colts’ Andrew Luck. The two have combined for 16.5 sacks in 28 career games against the Ravens.

This will be a key match-up on Thursday night as the Ravens’ offensive line will face their first test of the season against the Bengals. We’ll know a lot more about this unit and their chances to be successful this season after Thursday night’s contest.

3) Will the Ravens take advantage of the Bengals’ offensive line?

This is the number one key to the game on Thursday night. The Bengals’ offensive line is not quite as poor as the Bill offensive line, but it is certainly close.

The Bengals line up former Bill Cordy Glenn at left tackle, Clint Boling at left guard, rookie Billy Price at center, Christian Westerman at right guard, and Jake Fisher at right tackle. The Ravens recorded six sacks last weekend. Their ability to disrupt Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense is the key to success on Thursday night.

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Look for Marlon Humphrey to draw the tough assignment on A.J. Green. Image Credit: Getty Images

While the Ravens do boast a deep secondary, the absence of Jimmy Smith could be felt in this game if the Ravens end up having Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey, and company out on an island with A.J. Green, John Ross, and Tyler Boyd. Green is a known “Ravens killer” and is one of the top receivers in the NFL. Ross is the second-year speedster out of Washington who disappointed in his first full season but has 4.4 40 speed. And I’d rather not discuss Boyd’s career highlight. (See 4th and 12)

Last season, the Ravens’ defense tallied five turnovers and five sacks in Cincinnati against Dalton and company last season in a season-opening 20-0 shutout win but they struggled in the season-ending 31-27 crushing defeat at M&T Bank Stadium. In that contest, Dalton was only sacked once and the Ravens only forced one turnover.

Look for this unit to dictate the play early and for this to be the indicator of who comes out on top on Thursday night.

Prediction: Ravens 28 Bengals 27

I think the Ravens’ pass rush will win the battle up front but Cincinnati is too talented to shut down completely. Flacco and the offense will do just enough on the other side of the ball to help the Ravens take sole possession of the AFC North lead.

The Details:

  • When: Thursday, September 13, 8:20 pm
  • Where: Paul Brown Stadium Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Radio: 98 Rock/WBAL 1090 AM
  • TV: NFL Network
  • Commentary: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

Image Credit: Press Box