Ravens hold edge in defensive battle with Steelers (Ravens win 13-10)

The Ravens take a 10-7 lead into halftime of a relatively quiet, but typically physical meeting with their greatest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Ravens were outgained 144-136 in the opening half, outdoing the Steelers through the air but struggling on the ground.

Quarterback Joe Flacco is 15-for-22 for 116 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Tailback Ray Rice has run for just 13 yards, however.

After Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich led the team to a quick start, running for a 31-yard touchdown on the third snap of the game, the Pittsburgh offense went cold.

He is just 7-for-17 for 85 yards so far.

The Ravens also lead the time of possession, converting three more first downs and holding the ball for three more minutes than the Steelers. That difference might be even bigger had Jacoby Jones not returned a punt for a touchdown, keeping the offense on the sidelines after giving the Ravens the lead.

Update: Much like last weekend, the Ravens have been an opportunistic bunch against the Steelers.

Corey Graham intercepted Leftwich in the third quarter, and the Ravens translated that into three more points and a 13-7 lead on Justin Tucker’s second field goal of the night, a 39-yarder.

So, six points have been set up by turnovers and the other seven came on a punt return.

Update II: Shaun Suisham’s 22-yard field goal in the third quarter cut the margin to 13-10 and now the Ravens need to hold on for just three minutes in the contest.

A win would give them a two-game lead in the AFC North and a third straight win against Pittsburgh.

Update III: Corey Graham and Bernard Pollard made massive hits to disrupt passes during the Steelers’ last-minute possession, allowing the Ravens to hold on for a 13-10 win.

Baltimore has now won three consecutive games to improve to 8-2 and take a two-game lead in the division.

The Ravens have also taken the last three meetings between fierce AFC North rivals, including their last two games at Heinz Field, where no other visitor has won in between.