Steelers – 23 Ravens – 20
On Sunday the Ravens weren’t able to handle a 37 year old QB and weren’t able to lock up the division crown. Steelers back-up QB Charlie Batch had a throwback game and out-performed Joe Flacco on the Ravens home turf. This Steelers win ended the Ravens 16 game home winning streak (other outlets claim a 15-game streak. They are not counting last year’s home playoff win against the Texans). This game also kept the Steelers hanging on to the AFC’s final playoff spot.
Sunday was the first time that I can remember during the Raven’s home dominance where an opposing QB outperformed Joe Flacco. Not only did Batch outperform Flacco, he did so when it mattered most — the fourth quarter. In the 4th Batch lead a touchdown drive that tied the game at the 7:24 mark in the 4th, and then led the game winning march down the field that lead to the winning field goal as time expired.
Even though this was a tough divisional loss, the Ravens are still in good shape headed down the home stretch of the season. They sit at 9-3 and control their own playoff destiny. It just looks like Ravens fans will have to wait until the next Baltimore/Pittsburgh match-up to break out these shirts.
What the Ravens did to lose the game
Big Ben was out and Charlie Batch started for the Steelers again. Unfortunately for the Ravens, they were not able to force the Steelers into another eight turnover game again. Baltimore did force three turnovers though, and scored touchdowns following two of them, but the Steelers were able to dominate the 4th quarter and win the game. Baltimore was not able to get near as much pressure on Batch as they would have liked. The Ravens managed only 2 sacks and 6 QB hits and that allowed Batch to have a 25 for 36, 276 yard, one touchdown performance that outshined Flacco.
The Steelers defense had another stout performance against the Ravens on Sunday. They forced some key turnovers, especially the fumble of Flacco in the 4th. Pittsburgh only allowed Baltimore 288 yards of offense and forced them to a 3rd down conversion percentage of 27%. The Steelers also kept the Ravens out of the red zone a majority of the game by only allowing them one trip inside the 20.
Joe Flacco and the passing attack had a rough day as well against the Steelers. Flacco was only able to manage 188 yards and went 16 for 34. For a QB that was averaging over a 100 QB rating at home this year, Flacco easily had his worst home performance of the season yesterday.
Key Match-up Review
This week’s match-up was Charlie Batch versus the Ravens D. This match-up was a toss-up entering the 4th quarter until Batch led two scoring drives that sealed the deal for the Steelers. Batch won the match-up and in turn, the Steelers won the game.
Fantasy Sleeper of the Game Review
This week I stated the fantasy sleeper of the game would be Plaxico Burress. I hope you guys didn’t listen to me. A healthy Antonio Brown returned for the Steelers which meant Burress was not targeted once. Burress did not register any fantasy points which was quite the surprise to me.
The Steelers defied all odds on Sunday and beat the Ravens in Baltimore which as Batch stated, “…nobody outside of our locker room thought that we could do..” I predicted a Ravens victory to the tune of 27-10, but the Steelers shocked us all and won 23-20.
This Sunday the Ravens travel across the belt way and face the Washington Redskins. Even after this week’s loss, Baltimore can still punch their ticket to the playoffs next week against the Washington Redskins. The Ravens can clinch the AFC North crown with a win AND a loss by both the Steelers and the Bengals. They can clinch a playoff birth with a victory or tie over the Skins, and either the Steelers or Bengals lose.