Instant analysis of the Ravens' 22-20 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers

November 29, 2013|The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore Sun staff members give their thoughts on the Ravens' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 13 of the NFL season.

Jeff Zrebiec, reporter: Did you expect anything less from a Ravens-Steelers game? If the Ravens do indeed go on to make a playoff run, they'll likely look back on this game as the impetus of it. Again, the victory was not without its flaws. The Ravens struggled to finish drives and the pass rush was ineffective. Michael Oher may have played the worst game of his career. But when you don't turn the ball over on offense and when your kicker seems incapable of missing, then you have a little bit margin of error. The Ravens used every bit of that margin tonight, yet still came out with a win that puts new life into their season.

Mike Preston, columnist: This was a big win for a team that has struggled in close games all season. It might eventually become the turning point for the Ravens if they go on a run.

Matt Vensel, reporter: The Ravens are in prime position in the race for the final wild-card spot in the AFC after barely holding on against the Steelers. It was a game in which they were just barely good enough to win in pretty much all phases, with the exception being special teams. The offense moved the ball with ease but struggled in the red zone. The defense played great for three quarters but allowed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives as the Steelers pulled within two points. But the Ravens were able to hold on when Ben Roethlisberger's two-point conversion hit the turf. Crazy game, and I'm willing to wager that America was sufficiently entertained.

Aaron Wilson, reporter: The Ravens managed to pull out a nail-biting victory that was something of an instant classic with so many strange plays and strong performances. With five field goals from Justin Tucker, a defense that bent but didn't break against a masterful performance by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and an offense that generated enough big plays with Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith, the Ravens held on for a dramatic 22-20 win that keeps them right in the hunt for the sixth and final AFC playoff berth. The Ravens have climbed to 6-6 and avoided being swept by the Steelers for the first time since the 2008 season.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: So, how else did you think it would end? If the Ravens and Steelers didn't take it down to the last few seconds, it wouldn't be the Ravens and Steelers. Not surprisingly, the game was decided by the talented leg of Justin Tucker, who has kicked nine field goals in the last five days, but the Ravens moved the ball consistently throughout the game and made enough big plays to hold on at the end.

Childs Walker, reporter: The first half will be largely forgotten given the incredible tension at the end, but the Ravens played extremely clean football early, and that gave them just enough cushion to survive a gut-churning win. This is the most flawed team of the Harbaugh-Flacco era, but the Ravens deserve significant credit for scratching out enough solutions to put themselves in the thick of the playoff race.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: Lucky doesn’t being to describe this victory. Field goals instead of touchdowns won’t cut it going forward, especially when the defense can’t get to the quarterback. It always seems like the Ravens are in control, but the defense can’t seal the deal. It’s a win and it means the Ravens will be relevant for a little longer, but this was by no means a dominant win.

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