Baltimore shined in prime-time once again and improved to 8-2 on the season taking a two game lead in the AFC North standings.  The Ravens have played in prime-time four games this season and remain undefeated when the bright lights are on. Sunday night’s game was much closer than expected, as the Ravens escaped Pittsburgh with a 13-10 victory over the Steelers.

The Ravens struggled to move the ball on offense against the league’s number one defense , but their defense and special teams made up for it Sunday night. The Ravens forced three turnovers on defense and were able to score on a Jacoby Jones punt return, which was enough to give the advantage to the Ravens and help them come away with a victory.

Pittsburgh out-gained the Ravens by 111 yards but turnovers and a special team lapse did them in. The Steelers fall to 6-4 with the loss on Sunday night and will meet up again with the Ravens in two weeks when they play in Baltimore. Harbaugh put it best when describing their upcoming games in two weeks stating, “”It’s like halftime. It’s like we won the first half and the second half is coming up.”

 

What the Ravens did to win the game

I noted in the preview that the Ravens needed to get after Byron Leftwich and they did just that. The Ravens sacked Leftwich three times, picked him off once, and were constantly sending him to the ground. By the end of the game Leftwich was slow getting up off the turf after getting beat up by the Ravens defense all game.

The Baltimore defense yet again gave up over 100 yards on the ground, but even though they gave up a 31 yard TD run to Leftwich on the opening drive, they were able to keep the Steelers offense out of the end zone the rest of the game. On offense, the Ravens running game wasn’t able to gain any steam and Ray Rice only garnered 40 yards on 20 carries.

Even though the Ravens were out-gained on the ground and in total offense, their turnovers came at timely parts of the game and at timely positions on the field. The first fumble the Ravens forced was turned into three points. The Ravens interception was turned into three points and the last fumble the Ravens recovered was on the final play of the game that sealed the Steelers fate. It was an ugly game throughout, but a win is a win and the Ravens woke up Monday sitting at 8-2.

 

Key Match-up

This week’s key match-up was the Ravens rushing D versus the Steeler’s running game. The Steelers won this match-up but it was not enough to pull out the victory. The Steelers gained 134 rushing yards against the Ravens D but were only able to get into the end-zone once, which was a 31 yard run by Leftwich on the opening drive. Luckily for the Ravens, they shut down the passing game and made some great plays on special teams to seal the victory.

 

Fantasy Sleeper(s) of the Game Review

This week I picked Jacoby Jones as the fantasy sleeper of the game. Even though he was a non-factor in the passing game, Jones came through in the special teams game for the second week in a row. This week Jones returned a punt for a touchdown late in the first half that ended up giving the Ravens the lead for good. While he only accounted for 6 fantasy points for his touchdown return, he sure left his stamp on the game and aided the Ravens victory.

 

Prediction Review

With Big Ben being out I was expecting this to be more of a one-sided affair. The Steelers hung tough all game and kept this much closer than my 27-10 prediction. Both teams played stout defense throughout with the Ravens coming out victorious with a 13-10 win.

 

What’s Next

This Sunday the Ravens travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers. The Chargers have lost two straight and will be looking to turn their losing ways around against the Ravens. Baltimore is looking to extend their AFC North lead and will kick off at 4:05 pm on Sunday.

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