It wasn’t pretty, but the Ravens held off the Steelers for a 21-14 win on Sunday to end a four-game losing streak – the longest in the John Harbaugh era – and claim a share of first place in the AFC North.
It was a mixed day for the offense.
The Ravens turned in the longest regular-season play from scrimmage in Ravens history, but even after a bye week, they continued to display many of the same problems that have plagued this team all season.
It’s time to hand the offense its report cards:
Joe Flacco led Mike Wallace on a beautiful slant that Wallace parlayed into a 95-yard touchdown pass, but other than that, it was another uneven performance for Flacco.
He finished 18-for-30 for 241 yards – which means he totaled 146 yards on all throws other than that one to Wallace. And this was against the league's 26th-ranked pass defense.
Flacco threw one interception, a terrible, back-foot floater across his body that was badly underthrown toward Dennis Pitta. It’s the kind of throw he’s made too often this season.
RUNNING BACK: D
The Ravens tried to establish the run, and things looked promising when the Ravens' first four offensive snaps included three runs for 19 yards.
But over the rest of the game, they totaled 31 yards on 26 carries. Terrance West ran 15 times for 21 yards and fumbled deep in Ravens territory, though Kamar Aiken recovered to avoid disaster.
Kenneth Dixon (9-13) has not shown the burst he showed in camp prior to his knee injury. The longest run of the day (14 yards) belonged to Flacco.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D
Things were supposed to improve with the starting line back intact, remember?
The Ravens totaled 50 rushing yards – 1.7 yards a carry – and Joe Flacco was sacked three times.
left tackle Ronnie Stanley had a rough afternoon in his first action in five games. He was flagged for four penalties – three of them holding – and he was beaten by James Harrison on a strip-sack that was alertly recovered by Marshal Yanda.
TIGHT END: D
The tight ends were not very involved, with Dennis Pitta making two catches for 14 yards and Darren Waller making his first two catches of the season for 17 yards. They were each targeted just three times. A healthy Pitta needs to be a bigger part of this offense.
James Hurst ended up playing 13 snaps as a defacto No. 3 blocking tight end with Crockett Gillmore sidelined.
WIDE RECEIVER: B
This just in: Mike Wallace can still blow by people. Wallace turned a slant into a 95-yard touchdown – the longest play from scrimmage in Ravens regular-season history – and finished with four catches for 124 yards.
Steve Smith (4-47) provided an emotional boost with his return from ankle injury and he again showed that at age 37, he can still stiff-arm opponents into next week.
Breshad Perriman finished with three catches for 33 yards, and Kamar Aiken had one catch for 9 yards and a first down. Why haven’t the Ravens used Aiken more as a chain-moving, possession receiver?