The Ravens need a win tonight as much as they did Sunday in order to gain some measure of control over their postseason chances.
And early on, they’re playing like they know it.
Baltimore forced a three-and-out on the Steelers’ first possession of the night with Haolti Ngata swallowing Le’Veon Bell for no gain and Lardarius Webb tackling the running back for a two-yard loss on the first two plays.
Then the offense took over, using another deep pass from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith to set up the first score of the game, a 7-yard touchdown pass to Smith that made it 7-0 Ravens with 9:18 to go in the first quarter.
Three plays before the dart to Smith in the end zone, Flacco found him deep with a beautifully placed 54-yard pass that gave the Ravens first-and-goal at the 1. Baltimore was pushed backward when Flacco took a sack for a six-yard loss. But the Ravens didn’t settle for the field goal this time.
Flacco went 4-for-5 for 74 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive, which took eight plays and 3:06 to go 71 yards. Smith had three catches for 65 yards.
Update: Justin Tucker’s 43-yard field goal with 3:01 to go in the first half has increased Baltimore’s lead to 10-0.
The kick was set up by a significant miscue by the Steelers. With a chance to cut the Ravens’ lead to four on a 50-yard field goal attempt, Pittsburgh botched it, seeming to mess up kicker Shaun Suisham’s timing. Suisham ended up losing 12 yards running the ball, and the Ravens took over at their own 44.
Baltimore moved 31 yards in nine plays with 26 yards of that coming on cornerback Ike Taylor’s defensive pass interference penalty.
Tucker now has made 23 straight field goals and the Ravens have outgained the Steelers 129-89. Baltimore has forced three punts in four possessions with the fourth resulting in the botched field goal.