Baltimore Beats Pittsburgh: 3 Things We Learned
The Ravens lived to play another day. Behind a stout pass rush and two touchdowns from their leader, Joe Flacco, Baltimore won the battle and the war in Pittsburgh, beating the Steelers in a playoff game on the road.
Could the win, plus the team beating a higher seed in the playoffs be a precursor to things to come and another Super Bowl run for John Harbaugh’s team?
Flacco hit Torrey Smith for an 11-yard score in the third quarter and found Crockett Gillmore with a 21-yard pass in the fourth one play after Terrell Suggs picked off Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens won in Pittsburgh for the first time in the postseason. 30-17.
Here is what we learned from the win for the Ravens.
NO ESCAPING THE PASS RUSH
Baltimore (11-6) sacked Roethlisberger five times and kept the NFL's second-ranked offense off-balance. Roethlisberger passed for 334 yards, but the Steelers (11-6) settled for field goals while the Ravens kept scoring touchdowns against their AFC North rival.
BELL WAS MISSED
Le'Veon Bell had 854 receiving yards this year, most in the league by a running back and one of only three above 500 this year. Bell's 854 receiving yards are the most by a running back in a season since Oakland's Charlie Garner in 2002 (941).
Since the Steelers benched (and then cut) LeGarrette Blount in Week 11, Le'Veon Bell has accounted for
95 percent of the team's rush yards, by far the most of any running back on a playoff team in that span.
In Bell's career, the Steelers offense has added 6.4 expected points per game to the team's scoring margin when Bell was active. The Steelers offense cost the team 11.8 expected points per game in the 1st 3 weeks of 2013 (while Bell was out with a Lisfranc injury).
Joe Flacco's seven road playoff wins are the most by a quarterback since the 1970 merger. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 259 yards and the two scores. The Ravens gained a measure of revenge after the Steelers knocked them out of the postseason in 2008 and 2010 at Heinz Field.