The Pittsburgh Steelers did not open the season like a defending AFC champion should. Instead, the Baltimore Ravens taught the Steelers and the rest of the league a lesson about not underestimating the purple and gold this year.
The box score of this game reveals just about everything that anyone needs to know about the outcome. Ben Roethlisberger threw three interceptions, the Steelers only rushed for 66 total yards on the day, and Ravens controlled the ball for a majority of the game clock. Learning those statistics alone would lead most NFL fans to believe that the game finished in favor of Baltimore, but the 35-7 final score is something that will linger for a while.
Baltimore was able to score in all four quarters, and limited the Steelers to just seven points that came mid-way through the second quarter. The Ravens never trailed the game, and when the defense started really disrupting Roethlisberger, it became pretty obvious that this game was going to end in favor of the home team.
Joe Flacco had an amazing debut to the season, finishing with 224 yards on 17-of-29 passing. He threw for three touchdowns on the day, connecting with tight end Ed Dickson, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, and running back Ray Rice with one apiece. Rice would also rush for 107 yards and a touchdown on just 19 carries, spelled by Ricky Williams who also ran for 63 yards on just 12 carries. It seemed that Baltimore could get any play to work, and quite a few problems with the Steelers defense were revealed.
This was a very important win for the Ravens, because it gives the team not just the early lead in the AFC North, but a lead in the head-to-head tie-breaker with Pittsburgh. It seems very likely that the division title will come down to these two teams in December, so winning the head-to-head match-ups will give a huge advantage to one of the teams. Pittsburgh will get a second chance at revenge when the two teams meet up again on November 6 at Heinz Field.
Until that re-match, Baltimore is flying high in the AFC right now, and this win is a great one to get before the two week road trip coming up. Now the Ravens have to head to play the Tennessee Titans and then the St. Louis Rams before returning in October to host the New York Jets. The team could now be 3-0 pretty easily when that grudge match takes place on October 2.