Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 19-16 Loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker analyzes the Ravens after their Week 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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1. The Ravens don't have a signature strength with which to punish vulnerable opponents
It would be easy to look at the score and say this was another Ravens-Steelers rivalry classic. In reality, we saw two middling teams, neither of which played well when the game was there for the taking.
If you had to list the Ravens' greatest strength, what would you say?
Probably the pass rush, right? Well, the Ravens did sack Ben Roethlisberger three times on Sunday. But when the Steelers got the ball with the score tied and less than two minutes left, the Ravens put little heat on their longtime nemesis as he completed three passes to move his team into easy field goal range.
This isn't a criticism of the rush, which has been excellent overall. It's just not stifling enough to compensate for the Ravens' myriad weaknesses.
How about on offense?
The Ravens have played better as a pass-first team, and Joe Flacco had a pretty good game in Pittsburgh. He hooked up with Torrey Smith on a 41-yard pass to set up a fourth-quarter field goal. And then he went 9-for-10 on the touchdown drive that tied the game. If he hadn't underthrown Jacoby Jones in the end zone on the first drive of the second half, he just might have pulled out the win.
But that's the thing; the Ravens' passing game isn't good enough to carry them week after week. Durable and fearless as he is, Flacco hasn't been able to gun his way through games at the level of Peyton Manning or Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers.
Again, that's not a knock. It's just that if the passing game is a Ravens' strength, it's not enough of one.
A team that was truly great in some area would likely have beaten the Steelers on Sunday. The Ravens aren't, and they didn't.