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Steelers Down Ravens 26-9

October 1, 2017
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Steelers Down Ravens 26-9

The Steelers didn’t miss the typical rivalry tension that was absent for much of Sunday’s 26-9 victory at M&T Bank Stadium.

The 1 p.m. kickoff with the Ravens belonged to Pittsburgh from the opening drive, which lasted nearly the entire first quarter and set the tone for a game Baltimore was in only briefly.

For about a quarter, coming out of halftime, the Ravens scraped to within 10 points of a Steelers team is still far from its late-2016 best. Yet where Pittsburgh wasn’t dominant, it did control the game.

The Steelers’ pass rush – finally at full strength for the first time this season – left Joe Flacco flustered through the game’s most critical moments. Steelers-Ravens never produced more chaos than the Steelers lateraling a short Justin Tucker field goal at the end of the first half.

When Flacco coughed up interceptions on consecutive drives to Ryan Shazier and Mike Hilton, respectively, Pittsburgh’s ensuing 26-9 victory felt like a formality.

MVP – Le’Veon Bell

It wasn’t that Bell ran the ball for 144 yards from 35 carries and two touchdowns or that he snagged four catches for 42 yards, but that he delivered his first full performance since returning to the team in Week 1. Bell broke tackles, he extended plays and his patience could not be confused for slowness Sunday. Because on a day when the other stars of the Steelers offense struggled, Bell did the opposite.

Most important play

With 11:13 left in the game, the Steelers nursing a 10-point lead and no momentum to speak of, Shazier trailed Ben Watson out from the middle of the field off to the left and grabbed the pass Joe Flacco left behind his tight end.

Shazier’s snag took Pittsburgh from nursing a shaky two-possession lead to playing in a stadium where Ravens were heading toward the aisles, then exits.

His volleyball set tip to Mike Hilton for the game-sealing pick with 5:37 remaining drained the venue.

Good – Spreading the wealth

As in Ben Roethlisberger hitting three receivers for at least three catches, keeping the Ravens defense honest and freeing up Le’Veon Bell on the ground and through the air.

Bad – The Steelers defense

It’s still giving up large chunks of rushing yards, particularly off-tackle. This isn’t sustainable against top teams. And not to move the goal posts, but the Ravens don’t seem to be one.

The number – 8

NFL teams with three wins, including the Steelers at time of writing.

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