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Ravens-Steelers instant analysis

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Ravens-Steelers instant analysis

Steelers 23, Ravens 20

M&T Bank Stadium

The streak is over.

The first time these teams played two weeks ago, the Ravens were just better. Sunday, it was the Steelers, led by third-string quarterback Charlie Batch who outplayed Joe Flacco and led his team on a 12-play, 61-yard drive to end the game on a 42-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.

Flacco had his worst game of the season at home, going 16-for-34 for 188 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. But it was his fourth-quarter fumble that allowed the Steelers to tie the score at 20 on Batch’s 7-yard pass to Heath Miller.

The Ravens’ NFL-long home winning streak ends at 15 regular season games.

Baltimore won 13-10 at Heinz Field two weeks ago in the Steelers’ first game without Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder/ribs).

Batch, who had three interceptions in last week’s 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns, went 25-for-36 for 276 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

The Ravens appeared on their way to an easy victory when 13-3 late in the second quarter wen Flacco hit Anquan Boldin for 31 yards on a back shoulder thrown and then 28 yards on the next play for a touchdown.

That was Boldin’s second TD catch of the season, and first since Week 1.

Flacco’s overall play, however, was poor. He broke a tackle by Jason Worilds, spins out and tossed up a prayer to Dennis Pitta that was intercepted by Ryan Clark. Pitta was covered by three Steelers.

The Ravens’ offense opened with six consecutive pass plays on a drive that stalled before midfield, a sign of what was to come.

Player of the game: RB Ray Rice had 12 carries for 78 yards and a TD. It was his 32nd of his career, which moved him to second all-time for the franchise and surpassed Willis McGahee.

Turning point: Seemingly in control with a 20-13 lead after Ed Reed’s end-zone interception of Batch, Flacco dropped back and held the ball too long. That led to a sack by James Harrison as Flacco fumbled and Ziggy Hood recovered. Four plays later, Batch connected with Miller with 7:24 left in the game.

Bailed out: On 3rd and 3 from the Ravens’ 23, Chykie Brown released Mike Wallace, mistakenly thinking he had help over the top. Fortunately for Brown, Batch overthrew a wide-open Wallace in the end zone. Instead, the Steelers settled for another field goal to go in trailing 13-6 at halftime. Brown was used in the nickel package because veteran Chris Johnson (hamstring) was inactive.

Wrecking ball: FB Vonta Leach planted NT Casey Hampton, who weighs 325 pounds on a run block that sprung Rice. On top of that, he had his best offensive day of the season with 4 catches for 40 yards. 

Tough yards: Last week, the Ravens converted 12 of 24 third downs despite having to go 10 yards four times, 7 twice, 8, 9, 15, 16 and 20. They avoided that Sunday, but failed on 3rd and 2, 5, 3 and 4 in the first half alone.

Nowhere to run: Dwyer took over as the No. 1 back, supplanting Rashard Mendenhall to third string, but didn’t get much done. Along with Isaac Redman, that trio was held to 93 yards on 24 carries the first time these teams met. Sunday wasn’t much different as Dwyer and Redman were held to 25 carries for 92 yards.

Tip drill: LB Albert McClellan tipped Drew Butler’s punt in the second quarter to give the Ravens possession near midfield. Eight plays later, Justin Tucker kicked a 23-yard filed goal for a 6-3 lead for Baltimore. DT Terrence Cody tipped a pass from Batch to start the third quarter.

Streak continues: LB Paul Kruger continued his sack streak, getting one for the fourth consecutive game. The fourth-year player dropped Batch for a 3-yard loss on 3rd and 4 in the second quarter. That put Kruger at 6.5 for the season, surpassing his previous high of 5.5 from 2011. DE Arthur Johnson also had a sack for a 3-yard loss. It was his second consecutive game with one after getting two in San Diego a week ago.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”

Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.

2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.


Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern. 

Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt. 

But that's not how RG3 views it. 

"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be." 

And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.

"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great." 

It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.

Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.