The Baltimore Ravens set a franchise record with seven turnovers and Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns, leading the Ravens to a 35-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon.
The 28 point win was the largest victory against the Steelers in Ravens team history. Baltimore physically pounded Pittsburgh on both sides of the ball and were off to the races from the first play of the game.
On the first snap from play, Ray Rice started things off with a 36 yard run off tackle and the run set the tone for the game and Joe Flacco capped off the opening drive with a 27 yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin who beat Bryant McFadden deep, giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead. Baltimore needed just 3-plays to go 66 yards and Baltimore never looked back.
Defensively, Pittsburgh had no answers for Flacco who moved the ball at will through the air and on the ground. Flacco threw touchdowns of 27 yards to Bolden and 11 yards to Rice for two first-half touchdown throws as Baltimore held a 21-7 lead at the half.
A momentum change was in the second quarter when the Steelers cut the Ravens lead to 14-7 on an 11-yard Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders at 10:23 in the quarter. The Ravens came right back with a 12 play – 82 yard touchdown drive, that was highlighted by the Ravens making four third down conversions on the drive.
The 21-7 Ravens lead was the same score at the first half of last years divisional playoff round but the Steelers didn’t have the look of the same team that was going to mount a thrilling comeback and that’s how things played off.
On the first play from scrimmage to open the second half, Haloti Ngata flattened Rashard Mendenhall on a missed assignment from Doug Legursky, causing a fumble and it was a devastating play to open the half as Joe Flacco made the Steelers pay, hitting tight end Ed Dickson for an 18 yard touchdown pass, giving the Ravens a 29-7 lead just 12 seconds into the third quarter.
Overall, Flacco was 17 of 29 for 224 yards with 3 touchdowns and had a 117.6 QB rating.
Pittsburgh was a nightmare offensively in the second half and had turnovers on their first three possessions, including two Roethlisberger interceptions.
Roethlisberger (22/41, 208 Yards, 1 TD – 3 INT) threw 3 INT’s in the game, passing for 1 touchdown and 280 yards. Most of Roethlisberger’s yardage came in the second half when the game was long over.
Ray Rice exploited the Steelers continuously, rushing for 107 yards on 19 carries and 1 score, while also making his mark in the receiving game, hauling in 4 receptions for 42 yards, including an 11 yard touchdown touchdown pass in the second quarter. It was Rice second career 100 yard game against the Steelers. Rice created several mismatches against the Steelers linebacker corps.
Ed Reed who led the NFL with 8 interceptions last season, intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice and should have had three.
LB Terrell Suggs had 3 sacks in the game. He has 8.5 sacks in his last four games vs Pittsburgh.
Steelers WR Mike Wallace set a career high in receptions with 8 for 107 yards.
LB James Harrison who was manhandled by Ravens LT Bryant McKinnie in the first half, was diagnosed with a knee contusion.
The Steelers are home to Seattle in week 2.