Ravens’ defense comes unglued after strong start against Steelers
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs watched from afar the Steelers’ six touchdowns throws a week ago.
To him, these six were more unbelievable.
For the second time in two weeks, Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdowns in a game Sunday. But these six came in a 43-23 victory over a Baltimore defense that had battered the Steelers quarterback in Week 2.
“You could have never sold me that during the week,” Suggs said. “That’s a reflection on us all.”
The Ravens allowed only 55 rushing yards. But Roethlisberger was 25 of 37 for 340 passing yards with no interceptions, far different than his one-interception, no-touchdown stat line from Week 2 vs. the Ravens. His touchdown throws covered 5, 19, 47, 54, 18 and 33 yards.
“He wasn’t doing anything differently,” Suggs said. “They were just making plays. I guess once you get in that groove, it is what it is. He made some plays. His receivers made some plays for him. And he played a phenomenal game.”
It didn’t start phenomenally.
The Steelers went three-and-out on their first three possessions. The fourth possession stalled when the Ravens sacked Roethlisberger on three consecutive snaps. Facing fourth-and-39 at the 12, they punted for the fourth time.
But after that, this wasn’t the same Ravens defense from Week 2.
In that 26-6 Steelers loss, Baltimore forced two fumbles, Haloti Ngata had an interception, Elvis Dumervil had two sacks and Courtney Upshaw drew a fine for blasting Roethlisberger.
Upshaw earned another roughing-the-passing penalty, but the similarities mostly ended there.
With 5:33 left, defensive end DeAngelo Tyson recovered the only Ravens takeaway, a fumbled snap. But the Steelers already led 36-17.
The Steelers scored quickly Sunday with their first three touchdown drives lasting less than two minutes apiece. The longest of the six scoring drives needed only a little more than four minutes.
The fastest was a five-play, 80-yard drive that took just 51 seconds. The second-quarter possession ended with a 47-yard touchdown catch by Markus Wheaton. On the five others, the Steelers covered 27 yards in 1:56, 30 yards in 1:31, 71 yards in 4:16, 85 yards in 3:38 and 40 yards in 1:07.
The Steelers had only 49 yards in the first quarter, but two second-quarter turnovers put the Ravens in a bind. Both left a short field for Roethlisberger, who scored quickly each time.
“You have to go out there and stop him no matter the situation,” Suggs said. “We didn’t respond well when bad things started happening. We’ve just got to be better.”
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.