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09-12-2011, 01:34 AM
Steelers blown out in Baltimore, 35-7
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Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2011 2:28 pm | Updated: 12:05 am, Mon Sep 12, 2011.
By Mike Bires firstname.lastname@example.org | 0 comments
BALTIMORE -- For openers, the Steelers were dreadful.
They were beaten soundly today by their AFC North Division rivals. They were trounced by the Ravens, 35-7.
"That's pretty easy to access, ladies and gentlemen," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We got handled in all three phases. We accept responsibility for the plays that we made and didn't make."
In their first opening-day loss since the 2002 season, the Steelers commited seven turnovers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles after he was sacked by linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore also lost fumbles.
"We got our tails whipped," wide receiver Hines Ward said.
The Ravens jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring quickley on their first possession and then taking advantage of a Roethlisberger sack and fumble.
Quarterback Joe Flacco threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Anquan Boldin tio make it 7-0. After the Roethlisberger fumble -- courtesy of a hit by blitzing linebacker Terrell Suggs -- running back Ray Rice scored on a 1-yard run to make it 14-0.
The Steelers made it 14-7 in the second quarter on an 11-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
But just before haltime, Flacco threw an 11-yard TD pass to Rice.
At halftime, the Ravens had a 265-to-113 edge in total yards.
Then in the third quarter, the Steelers lost any chance of a comeback by turning the ball over twice.
The Ravens set a a team record by creating seven turnovers.
"It was domination," Suggs said.
Yes, it was.
09-12-2011, 01:37 AM
Steelers Report Card: Game 1 vs. Ravens
Monday, September 12, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
You might have to go back to the Oakland game in 2006 to find a worse performance by Ben Roethlisberger, who threw three interceptions, fumbled twice and was sacked four times Sunday. He did a nice job to keep the play alive on an 11-yard TD to Emmanuel Sanders, but that was about it. In the past three games, counting the postseason, Roethlisberger has thrown seven interceptions.
RUNNING BACKS D
It looked as though it might be a big day for Rashard Mendenhall when he had 48 yards on his first six carries, including a 23-yard run on the only scoring drive. But he had minus-3 yards on his next six carries, one of which was a costly fumble on the first play of the second half. That was one of two fumbles by a running back, the other coming after Mewelde Moore went 22 yards with a swing pass.
WIDE RECEIVERS C
Lots of catches, no big plays. Mike Wallace had his fourth consecutive 100-yard receiving game and eighth in his career, but he could never get behind the defense for a big strike. The longest pass play was a 31-yard catch-and-run by Hines Ward when matched in single coverage against MLB Ray Lewis. Emmanuel Sanders had only two catches, both on the same drive, but one was an 11-yard TD.
OFFENSIVE LINE F
The Steelers' inability to handle DE Terrell Suggs and DT Haloti Ngata continues to be a big problem. Suggs lined all over the field and had three sacks on Roethlisberger. What's more, he also forced two fumbles. The Steelers tried to double-team Ngata, but it just doesn't work. He tipped a Roethlisberger pass that was intercepted by Ray Lewis, forced a fumble and recovered two others.
DEFENSIVE LINE F
It was a disappointing performance for the NFL's best rush defense in 2010, especially against an offensive line that had never played together. The Ravens ran for 170 yards, the most by an opponent since the Ravens had 175 in Week 15 of the 2009 season. The tone was set on the first play when Ray Rice ran 36 yards to set up the first touchdown. Rice finished with 107 yards on 19 carries.
The strength of the defense looked tired, slow and out of position. Someone in the middle got fooled on TE Dennis Pitta's 29-yard catch-and-run to set up the second TD, and Lawrence Timmons failed to stay with Rice on his 6-yard TD catch. QB Joe Flacco was sacked only once and was under very little pressure. And James Harrison isn't sand-bagging, folks; he was fatigued and sucking wind.
DEFENSIVE BACKS F
The Steelers had no answer for Flacco, who completed his first six passes and passed for 162 yards and two TDs in the first half alone. He finished with 224 yards, 3 TDs and a 117.6 passer rating. On the first pass he faced in 2011, CB Bryant McFadden gave up a 27-yard TD to Anquan Boldin. S Troy Polamalu got beat on another. Props to CB Ike Taylor, who held WR Lee Evans without a catch.
SPECIAL TEAMS C-
It's probably the only unit on the team where it's difficult to assign blame, though even special teams were not without fault. Lardarius Webb did have a 37-yard return on the opening kickoff. And the Ravens completely surprised the Steelers with a fake extra-point after their fourth TD. But Daniel Sepulveda averaged 52.8 yards on four punts and Antonio Brown averaged 34.3 yards on three kick returns.
The first mistake was winning the coin toss and deferring, and it just went downhill from there. The defense had no clue in the first half, failing to stop Rice and losing receivers in coverage. The offense committed six of their seven turnovers in the second half, including the first three possessions. "They obviously had a better game plan than we had," said NT Casey Hampton. Indeed.
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09-12-2011, 01:41 AM
Ravens thump Steelers
Seven turnovers, mostly by Roethlisberger, allow Baltimore to exact a little revenge with an overwhelming victory
Monday, September 12, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BALTIMORE -- It has been a long time since the Steelers lost an opener, a long, long time since they were so thoroughly crushed in any game as they were Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens, 35-7 at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens said they waited eight months for this and they burst in a wave of turnovers, points and emotion as they tried to make up for blowing that 14-point lead at Heinz Field in a divisional playoff loss in January.
"It's a great victory," said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, whose euphoria got the better of him while he urged on the crowd while flapping his arms up and down on the sideline in the second half. "The whole thing about ghosts, demons, monkeys on your back -- that's not real to us. It's a football game."
At least one team played one.
The Ravens recovered a franchise-record seven turnovers after the Steelers went through four preseason games without committing one. They intercepted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times and forced him to fumble three times if they count the handoff to Rashard Mendenhall that never
made it there. Mewelde Moore lost the other fumble. Three of the turnovers came inside Baltimore's 20.
That's not all. Ray Rice became the first back to rush for 100 yards against the Steelers since ... Ray Rice. He had 107 yards on 19 carries Sunday, 141 on 30 carries on Dec. 27, 2009.
That's not all. Terrell Suggs had three of Baltimore's four sacks, forcing two Roethlisberger fumbles. Ed Reed intercepted him twice and dropped a third. It was a wonder Roethlisberger earned a passer rating at all (52.9).
That's not all.
"They whupped us," Casey Hampton said. "They didn't beat us, they whupped us. I don't ever remember getting whupped like this since I've been here. It was embarrassing the way we got beat. And it's not that it was the first game. It was the first game for them, too."
The Steelers hadn't lost a first game in the previous eight, and this was their worst beating since Dallas scorched them, 37-7, to start the 1997 season (they reached the AFC championship game by the end of that season, if the Steelers are looking to find any comfort Sunday in their result). As beat-downs to Baltimore go, it matched their two losses to the Ravens in 2006 by a combined 58-7.
"My rookie year we did it twice, so I knew it was possible," Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata said.
And by the time the game was over, the Ravens weren't finished. They kept rubbing it in the Steelers wounds.
"We know it's Week 1," Rice said. "It's not the playoffs, but that playoff taste [from January], now that's over. They beat us in the playoffs, all right. They're not the Super Bowl champs. The reigning champ is the Green Bay Packers, so now it's time. We've got that burden off our shoulders, we're one up on them right now and that's how we have to approach this."
Joe Flacco exorcized some of those ghosts his coach mentioned. He completed 17 of 29, throwing three touchdown passes (to Anquan Boldin, Rice and Ed Dickson) and beat Roethlisberger for the first time in his career.
This one was never really close. Baltimore jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, gave up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Emmanuel Sanders in the second quarter, then ran out to a 21-7 halftime lead. If that sounds familiar, it was the same score in which Baltimore led at Heinz Field in January only to blow it.
They didn't blow it this time. The Steelers would not let them.
"Everybody was saying, 'We've been here before,'" linebacker Ray Lewis said of the atmosphere Sunday at halftime in his locker room. "And I was like, 'We haven't been here before because 2010 is 2010, and 2011 is a whole new year.'"
Any thought of a comeback by the Steelers was squashed on the first two plays of the second half. Ngata blew up a Roethlisberger handoff to Mendenhall and recovered the fumble on the first play. On the second, Rice caught a short little pass in the flat from Flacco and beat linebacker Lawrence Timmons to the left corner of the end zone.
Then Harbaugh rubbed it in by having his holder on the place-kick, Sam Koch, take the snap and run up the middle instead for 2 points and a 29-7 lead.
On the next play, the Steelers turned it over again when Lewis intercepted Roethlisberger's short pass over the middle. Two plays, two turnovers. It set the stage for the entire second half when the Steelers lost the ball on fumbles or interceptions to end six of their first seven series (their eighth ended when the clock mercifully hit 0:00).
There were two highlights for the Steelers worth a quick mention among the rubble, one on offense and one on defense. Mike Wallace led them with eight receptions and 107 yards. Ike Taylor and his broken left thumb covered new Ravens receiver Lee Evans all over the field without allowing a catch.
Oh, and Daniel Sepulveda averaged 52.8 yards on four punts.
"We got whipped in every facet of the game," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said, using a word heard often Sunday in their locker room. "They were the more physical team, the more aggressive team. They were the team more technically sound. They were the better football team."
Ben Roethlisberger is sacked by the Ravens Jarret Johnson in the first half
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09-12-2011, 01:43 AM
Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 1 vs. Ravens
Monday, September 12, 2011
GAME BALL goes to: IKE TAYLOR
On a day in which it was difficult to find any standout performance, Taylor did what he was asked to do -- shut down Baltimore's new deep threat, Lee Evans. Evans did not catch a pass despite being targeted four times by QB Joe Flacco. Taylor was not only playing for the first time since he broke his left thumb in the preseason opener; he was playing with a protective cast on his thumb. His only mistake: A 15-yard penalty for head-butting T Michael Oher after the play in the third quarter, giving the Ravens a first down.
X's AND O's
The Steelers overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit in the 2010 AFC championship game when the Ravens had turnovers on three consecutive possessions to start the second half. This time, trailing 21-7 at halftime, it was the Steelers who had turnovers on the first three possessions of the second half to end any hope of another comeback. Rashard Mendenhall's bobbled handoff and Roethlisberger's two interceptions resulted in 11 points and a 32-7 deficit. "That was big-time," said C Maurkice Pouncey.
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. BOBBLED START: Trailing 21-7 at halftime, RB Rashard Mendenhall fumbled a bobbled handoff from Ben Roethlisberger on the first play from their 24. The Ravens wasted little time capitalizing on the mistake, scoring on an 18-yard pass from QB Joe Flacco to TE Ed Dickson on the next play to make it 29-7. It was the first of six turnovers on seven possessions in the second half. "You can't start like that, not here in Baltimore," said WR Hines Ward.
2. RICE SETS THE TONE: On the first play of the game, RB Ray Rice ran between LB James Harrison and S Troy Polamalu for a 36-yard gain to the Steelers 30, setting up Joe Flacco's 27-yard TD to Anquan Boldin two plays later. "From the first play, they stepped on the gas pedal," said LB James Farrior.
3.REED'S DEEDS: After intercepting him just once in nine previous games, Ravens S Ed Reed had two interceptions against Roethlisberger, each coming inside the red zone in the second half. Reed has 56 career interceptions, most among active players.
4. QUITE A TURNAROUND: After going the entire preseason without a turnover, the Steelers committed seven against the Ravens -- four fumbles and three interceptions by Roethlisberger. "It's humbling and embarrassing to give up seven turnovers," said RT Willie Colon.
5. SUGGS DOES IT AGAIN: Ravens DE Terrell Suggs was his usual one-man wrecking crew, registering three sacks and forcing two fumbles -- none bigger than when he stripped Roethlisberger to set up the second TD. "He's a great player, one of the best," Roethlisberger said. "He's all over the field."
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
That's the number of games the Steelers had gone without allowing a 100-yard rusher, a streak that ended when Rice finished with 107 yards on 19 carries. Rice was the previous player to top 100 yards against them when he ran for 141 yards on 30 carries on Dec. 27, 2009.
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Ravens coach John Harbaugh appeared to be rubbing it in when he ran a fake extra-point after the fourth touchdown. P Sam Koch, the holder, took the snap and ran into the end zone. Then, leading 29-7, Harbaugh eschewed a field goal on fourth-and-1 that would have made it a four-possession game for the Ravens. The decision proved unwise when Rice was stopped for a 1-yard loss by OLB James Harrison. "I don't feel like anything they did was rubbing it in," Farrior said. "You can't stop them, that's your fault."
"They whupped us. They didn't beat us, they whupped us. I don't ever remember getting whupped like this since I've been here. It was embarrassing the way we got beat. And it's not that it was the first game. It was the first game for them, too."
-- Casey Hampton, Steelers nose tackle
NEXT SUNDAY'S OPPONENT
STEELERS VS. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers open their home schedule Sunday against the Seahawks. The teams have met just once since Super Bowl XL in Detroit -- a 21-0 Steelers victory at home in 2007.
Wk.Date Opponent Time TV
1 9/11at BaltimoreL, 35-7
2 9/18vs. Seattle1 p.m. WPGH
3 9/25at Indianapolis8:20 p.m. WPXI
5 10/2at Houston1 p.m. KDKA
4 10/9vs. Tennessee1 p.m. KDKA
6 10/16vs. Jacksonville1 p.m. KDKA
7 10/23at Arizona4:05 p.m. KDKA
8 10/30vs. New England4:15 p.m. KDKA
9 11/6vs. Baltimore8:20 p.m. WPXI
Wk.Date Opponent Time TV
10 11/13at Cincinnati1 p.m. KDKA
12 11/27at Kansas City8:20 p.m. WPXI
13 12/4vs. Cincinnati1 p.m. KDKA
14 12/8vs. Cleveland8:20 p.m. NFL
15 12/19at San Francisco8:30 p.m. ESPN
16 12/24vs. St. Louis1 p.m. WPGH
17 1/1vs Cleveland1 p.m. KDKA
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09-12-2011, 01:46 AM
Steelers Notebook: Scuffles with Ravens may cost Taylor and Polamalu
Monday, September 12, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Officials kicked no one out even though two of them hit the turf while Ravens and Steelers battled after play ended. But some of them can expect the fines to roll in this week.
Take Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. He was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct after he head-butted Ravens tackle Michael Oher.
Or Troy Polamalu, who was involved in pushing and shoving with some Ravens who looked as though they were trying to bring him down around his ankles after a play.
"We got beat up all over the field today, most of the game against our rivals," Polamalu said. "I may have lost it a little bit, which is not a good example, especially to my family and to the fans and children. You know what? That's also part of this game. The truth of it is, we got our butts kicked today."
And, fined by Thursday?
Polamalu's new contract of $36.5 million with a $10.55 million signing bonus means the Steelers have given more money in bonuses to five players since the beginning of August than the entire Pirates payroll for the season.
Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley ($22.5 million), Lawrence Timmons ($10 million), Taylor ($8 million) and Willie Colon ($6 million) received $48 million in bonuses. Those five players signed contracts between four and six years that will pay them $205 million if played out to completion.
Flacco comes up big
If Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heard it once, he heard it hundreds of times: He can't beat Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Flacco thoroughly outplayed Roethlisberger Sunday. He completed 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 117.6 passer rating. Roethlisberger was 22 of 41 for 280 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a 52.9 rating.
"I think he was very much in control of the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Flacco. "I think he had a great understanding of their defense. He was probably a step ahead in terms of making the checks and getting us into the right plays the whole game. I thought he did a great job with that."
Flacco was asked if this performance might silence his many critics. "I don't know, there's always going to be critics. Turn around, 10 weeks down the road, and something might happen and [the criticism] is back again. Who knows? For the time being, maybe, but I doubt it will last long."
Suggs strikes again
Terrell Suggs added three more sacks to his impressive Roethlisberger total, bringing it to 151/2, more than anyone has sacked the Steelers quarterback. That includes the playoffs.
"You're talking about some great sack artists that have been here," Harbaugh said. "Terrell Suggs is a premier player. He's one of the best players in the National Football League."
Roethlisberger concurred, "He's a great player, one of the best. He's all over the field. It's not like you know he's on your left side."
Suggs Sunday became the Ravens' all-time sack leader with 711/2, passing Peter Boulware (70).
Here's a small bit of good news for the Steelers: Coach Mike Tomlin said they escaped with their health. Linebacker James Harrison limped off the field in the second half with a right knee injury that Tomlin called a contusion, and predicted he would be fine.
Foote relieves Farrior
Linebacker James Farrior did not play much in the second quarter, replaced by Larry Foote. Tomlin said that was the plan, to get Foote more playing time.
Reed's impressive numbers
Ed Reed's two interceptions represented the 12th such performance of his brilliant career, and his 56 career picks are the most of any player since Reed entered the league.
Reed needs just 21 more yards on interception returns to break the NFL record set by former Steeler Rod Woodson, which is 1,483 yards.
The Ravens have played 26 consecutive games without allowing a touchdown in the third quarter, the longest such streak in the NFL since 1933.
Sunday's opening game was only the second in the past seven Steelers openers in which Polamalu did not have an interception.
Playing 24 hours after signing a new four-year contract, Polamalu did not deliver one of his better performances, letting tight end Ed Dickson get behind him for an 18-yard touchdown that helped stretch Baltimore's lead to 29-7.
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09-12-2011, 02:02 AM
Steelers turn ball over seven times in embarrassing loss to Baltimore
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 12, 2011
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In a near-empty locker room that had been hushed even when crowded, linebacker James Harrison stumbled upon one of the few positives from the Steelers' 35-7 beating at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The Steelers were so collectively bad, Harrison said, that nobody earned the right to point fingers following their most lopsided loss since Mike Tomlin took over as coach in 2007.
"We're not going to divide on this," Harrison said. "We all own this."
Not that any Steeler wanted to claim the season-opening debacle in which Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco outdueled Ben Roethlisberger and Baltimore's defense dominated.
It got so bad for the Steelers that after one of their seven turnovers -- yes, seven -- Roethlisberger pulled aside inside linebacker James Farrior for an impromptu captains' meeting on the visitors' sidelines at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I just kind of said, 'Hey listen, there's not too much we can do now, let's just keep fighting, stay together as a team, don't let anything come between us.' I know that he'll take care of the defense, and we'll take of care of the offensive guys," said Roethlisberger, who will try to get the Steelers on the winning track Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks visit Heinz Field for a 1 p.m. game. "Coming into this offensively, we probably thought we were better than we were, so it will be good for us to go and check it out."
Of the many mystifying events, Roethlisberger's first three-interception game since November 2008 would be at or near the top of the list. Roethlisberger looked sharp during the preseason and entered yesterday's AFC North game not only 6-0 lifetime against Flacco but also brimming with confidence.
He had thrown 173 consecutive passes without an interception before getting picked off less than a minute into the third quarter.
"I felt more comfortable seeing what was going on out there probably (than ever before) when we've played these guys," Roethlisberger said after completing 22 of 41 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown to go with the three interceptions. "It wasn't like we were out there and I was confused."
The same couldn't be about the Steelers' defense after running back Ray Rice gashed them for 149 total yards and two touchdowns and Flacco made it look easy at times in tossing three touchdown passes.
Rice became the first back to go over 100 yards rushing against the Steelers since he accomplished the feat in December 2009 at Heinz Field.
"They changed up the way they blocked things, but we still have to do a better job than what we did," Harrison said. "We couldn't put out a fire in a rain forest."
The worst loss of the Tomlin era by just about any measure will give the Steelers plenty to ponder this week when the defending AFC champions prepare for the Seahawks.
"This was an old fashioned butt whipping," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "Plain and simple."
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09-12-2011, 02:13 AM
Ravens revel in complete domination of Steelers
By Mark Kaboly, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 12, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 56276.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_756276.html)
BALTIMORE -- Terrell Suggs was the guy who said Friday that the Steelers were "fortunate" to beat the Ravens as often as they have in the past three years.
Suggs had said a few days earlier that he is "sick" of losing to the Steelers, "disgusted" with it and dealing with a "sick feeling in my stomach" when talking about the Steelers.
After the Ravens embarrassed the Steelers, 35-7, on Sunday and handed their rivals their worst loss since 1997, the talk was much different from Suggs ... sort of.
"It was domination," the linebacker said. "You can say 'domination.' ... It was a great day for the city of Baltimore."
The win was the Ravens' most lopsided against the Steelers since the team moved to Baltimore in 1996, but the Ravens' excitement was tempered by recent history.
"That's a heck of a football team," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I guarantee you they will be back."
Harbaugh knows from experience. Baltimore beat the Steelers at Heinz Field in Week 4 last year, then lost at home in Week 13 to surrender the AFC North title. The Ravens lost in the divisional playoff round at Heinz Field a few weeks later -- and, heading into yesterday, had dropped six of eight since 2009, including the AFC Championship Game.
"We realize the big picture," Suggs said. "We have won a lot of games (against the Steelers) but never the big one."
Yesterday's game was definitely the most impressive. The Ravens forced a team record seven turnovers, rushed for 170 yards against a defense that gave up 62 per game last year and hit or sacked Ben Roethlisberger nine times.
"Shocked? Why would (we) be shocked?" linebacker Ray Lewis said. "It's a new year. It's not 2010. It's a new year. It's 2011 with new pieces, new faces."
The Ravens have won only 13 of 34 games against the Steelers since the move to Baltimore, but Suggs said he feels yesterday's decisive victory could propel them to the Super Bowl.
"If we handle our business ... we have a good chance of playing in Indianapolis in February," he said, then paused. "They will be back, and we are going to have to deal with them."
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09-12-2011, 02:18 AM
Steelers' turnover to open second half sealed outcome
By Ralph N. Paulk, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, September 12, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 56279.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_756279.html)
BALTIMORE -- The wheels already were wobbling when Baltimore nose tackle Haloti Ngata stormed through the Steelers' beleaguered offensive line to lay a heavy hit on running back Rashard Mendenhall on the first play of the second half with the Steelers trailing, 21-7.
Ngata jarred the ball loose, then smothered it with all of his 330 pounds at the Steelers' 18.
The Ravens cashed in on one of seven Steelers' turnovers when tight end Ed Dickson pulled in an 18-yard scoring pass from quarterback Joe Flacco on the next snap. That gave Baltimore a commanding 29-7 lead just 12 seconds into the third quarter en route to a 35-7 victory at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Steelers never recovered.
"The play at the beginning of the half where (Ngata) barged through there and got the hit in the backfield, it was just a huge momentum play," said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh.
Ngata's body blow shattered the Steelers' confidence. Suddenly, an expected slugfest between the AFC North rivals ended without drama.
"I think we kind of gave them a knockout hit there, and they knew that they would have to do a lot to catch up," Ngata said. "They just let me go, and I was able to get back there pretty quick."
It was a draw play that blew up when center Maurkice Pouncey snapped the ball too soon. Then, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger bobbled the snap. And before Mendenhall could cradle the ball in his arm, Ngata blew up the play.
"The snap was off, and there was miscommunication up front," Mendenhall said, "and that's why Ngata came free. (Ngata) got there the same time as the handoff. The game was already tough. It just got tougher."
Added Pouncey: "We didn't execute, and they executed their defensive call. We aren't pointing fingers, but we had one of those days."
Before that play and the following score, the Steelers had reason to believe they could rally. They overcame a 21-7 halftime deficit in beating the Ravens in last year's divisional playoff game.
"It's was just tough to come back after that," Mendenhall said. "You want to fight, but when the momentum changes like that, it's tough to fight back."
This time, the pumped-up Ravens parlayed Ngata's hit into a dominating victory. The usually resourceful Steelers couldn't bounce off the ropes.
Ngata's fumble was effective, too, in that it challenged the Steelers to prove their vaunted three-wide offense -- including sprinters Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown -- could erase a deep deficit.
Wallace and Brown were jammed at the line of scrimmage, thus their speed was negated as the Ravens' pressured and hurried Roethlisberger the entire second half.
"This gives us a chance to regroup," said Roethlisberger, who was sacked four times. "I just think it was a bump in the road."
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09-12-2011, 02:23 AM
Ravens not impressed with Steelers' big-money linebackers
By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Monday, September 12, 2011
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The Ravens weren't impressed with the Steelers' high-price linebackers, including Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley, on Sunday.
Baltimore attacked them as if they were rookies, flooding the flat with running backs Ray Rice and Vonta Leach. The Ravens isolated the Steelers linebackers in pass coverage for much of the first half, as defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau searched for a way to counter.
The Ravens threw at Timmons seven times, completing five passes -- including an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to Rice that put the Ravens up, 21-7.
• In one especially painful sequence for the Steelers in the third quarter, Baltimore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tipped a Ben Roethlisberger pass for an interception, leveled Steelers left tackle Jonathan Scott with a block, then rolled up a purple sleeve to flex his biceps while towering over the prone Scott.
"That's just the ego of a man," Scott said. "That's just the kind of person he is."
• The Steelers have been unwitting partners when the Ravens have established benchmarks for defensive excellence twice in the past six years in this rivalry.
The Ravens set a team record yesterday with seven takeaways.
In a 27-0 win over the Steelers in 2006 at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens sacked Roethlisberger nine times, a franchise record.
• Baltimore safety Ed Reed spent much of the afternoon taking deep drops, all but daring Roethlisberger to challenge him.
In the third quarter, Reed baited Roethlisberger into an ill-advised throw to tight end Heath Miller on first-and-10 at the Ravens' 18. Miller was opened for a second, but Reed read the post route to get the second Baltimore interception of the quarter.
Reed intercepted Roethlisberger again early in the fourth quarter, as Roethlisberger overthrew Emmanuel Saunders in the middle of the field to thwart a Steelers' drive inside the red zone.
— Ralph N. Paulk, Dejan Kovacevic and Scott Brown
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09-12-2011, 02:48 AM
Tomlin on loss to Ravens
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Opening Statement: “That’s pretty easy to assess, Ladies and Gentlemen. We got handled in all three phases today. We accept responsibility for the plays that we made and didn’t make. We compliment them at the same time for the way that they performed in all areas. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do. We didn’t stop those guys enough. We didn’t turn around enough ball carriers. We didn’t get off enough on third down. We didn’t create turnovers. We never found rhythm. When that happens versus a good team you’re going to get beat the way we got beat today. We don’t like it, but we accept it, and we’ll respond accordingly. No significant injuries to mention in the game. [LB] James Harrison went off, we’ll call it a knee contusion at this point. Until further review, but it doesn’t appear to be serious. All the others are bumps and bruises that go along with getting dominated the way we got beat today.”
(on LB James Farrior taken out) “We had made a commitment to play [LB] Larry Foote some. Larry had a good preseason. We respect both men. We know that both men are capable of standing in front of our defense to making calls, and we would like to play both men. So we made a commitment early on that both men were going to play, and we stood up to it. Same thing could be said in some other areas; D-line rotations and corner rotations and so forth.”
(on the defense looking slow) “You know, we just didn’t make enough plays. I’m not ready to judge it from a speed standpoint. We didn’t turn around enough ball carriers. We didn’t get off well enough on third down. We didn’t create turnovers. So…Usually speed is a part of that equation but I’m not ready to say that at this juncture.”
(on the Ravens’ unknowns) “I don’t’ think that was a major factor in the game, talking about the unknowns. I just didn’t think that we executed well enough to be competitive and they did.”
(on the start of the third quarter) “They got a couple quick turnovers and short field positions and took advantage of at least one of them. Of course, you can’t shoot yourself in the foot. It’s not hard to figure out. You turn the ball over the way we did today, and you don’t get turnovers, you’re going to get beat up pretty good. And that’s what happened”
(On QB Ben Roethlisberger’s interceptions) “You know, a couple of plays broke down, he’s trying to make something happen, and we’re down. One was tipped. I’m not going to try and make excuses for it. They are what they are, you have video evidence. We didn’t perform well today.”
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