Just like that, the Ravens ended a sad four-game slide with a 21-14 win over their Steel City rivals yesterday. The victory put the Ravens back on top of their division, a surprising place for a team that, until less than 24 hours ago, hadn’t won a game in more than a month.
If you turned on the game any time before the middle of the fourth quarter, you would have seen the Steelers with a big donut on their side of the scoreboard. Sturdy defense helped the Ravens fend them off for most of the game, building a 21-0 lead that included a blocked Steelers punt that Ravens wide receiver Chris Moore (on special teams) returned for a touchdown.
— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2016
In the final nine minutes, Pittsburgh put up 14 points, including a scramble-run touchdown by ever-resilient Big Ben. But despite those late lapses, the Ravens proved to be unwelcoming hosts for the quarterback’s first game back after having meniscus surgery last month.
Joe Flacco started out in familiar poor form from previous weeks, throwing an interception on the team’s second offensive drive. However, he followed it with a slant toss to receiver and former Steeler Mike Wallace, who ran the length of the field and set a franchise record for longest touchdown reception in regular-season history. Not bad. The team also benefitted from an offensive lineup boosted by key players returning from injury, including wide receiver Steve Smith and lineman Terrell Suggs.
Many were happy to see the Ravens turn the ship around after dropping four games straight to the Raiders, Redskins, Giants and Jets. But in snapping the bad streak, the team has surprisingly come out on top of the AFC North. They’re technically tied with the Steelers, who are also now 4-4, but they take the top spot with tiebreaker win from yesterday.
They owe their good positioning to a strong start of the season in which they won three games in a row against some not-so-strong opponents. Luckily, one of those wins was against a still-winless Cleveland Browns squad. They’re now an awful 0-9 after getting beaten down by the Cowboys yesterday.
The Ravens play the Browns again this Thursday, which should give them a solid chance to cement their good standing and put some distance between them and their losing streak. It’d be foolish to think the Ravens’ problems have suddenly disappeared, but wins are wins and they’re in a good position while they try to fix those issues.