Eric Weddle walked into the interview room in full uniform.

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Eric Weddle walked into the interview room in full uniform.

Postby linchao » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:03 am

Then the Baltimore Ravens well-bearded safety did a little dance and made a proclamation.“I told you ,” Weddle said. “These ain’t the same Ravens.”After two years and two painful near misses, he might be right. Baltimore can win in Pittsburgh again, fueling confidence the Ravens can win anywhere.The proof came in a cruelly efficient 26-14 victory over their AFC North rivals on Sunday night that looked an awful lot like how it used to look when Baltimore had it going earlier in head coach John Harbaugh’s tenure.Joe Flacco threw for a 363 yards and a pair of scores. Justin Tucker kicked four second-half field goals. Baltimore’s defense did the rest, keeping Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown under wraps over the final 30 minutes as the Ravens (3-1) ended a three-game losing streak to the Steelers (1-2-1).“You can’t become a true Raven until you win in Pittsburgh,” Weddle said. “I’ve officially become a Raven. What a great team win.”Pittsburgh managed just 47 yards in the second half, sputtering in a place the Steelers have so often soared. Not this time. Not on a night they converted just 2 of 12 third downs and didn’t take a snap in Baltimore territory after halftime.“I just didn’t make enough plays, point blank,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ll take ownership on this game. Squarely on me.”Two years ago, the Ravens fell on Brown’s “Immaculate Extension” on Christmas night. Last winter, Baltimore scored 38 at Heinz Field … and got beat on a field goal in the final minute. Those memories have been hard to shake.“I think it was all in the back of our heads,” Weddle said. “The way we’ve lost here has not been fun.”Maybe that’s what made this one a little sweeter than most. Even Harbaugh admitted this wasn’t just another opponent and this wasn’t just another victory, answering loudly “yes it does” when asked if there was a different vibe this time around.The Steelers (1-2-1) came in having won nine straight Sunday night appearances. Baltimore brought Pittsburgh’s run to an abrupt end. Roethlisberger finished 27 of 47 for 274 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Steelers. Brown caught five passes for 62 yards, including his second touchdown pass in as many weeks.Yet Pittsburgh couldn’t generate anything in the second half. The Steelers mustered three first downs after the break and there was no balance to be found. Pittsburgh ran the ball 11 times for 19 yards, the absence of All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell 鈥?who has yet to sign his franchise tender 鈥?growing more acute by the week.Harbaugh awarded one of the game balls to the defense. Defensive coordinator Don Martindale accepted after putting together a plan that Weddle said had the Ravens a step ahead.It certainly looked that way. While Pittsburgh floundered, Flacco put together a string of clock-consuming possessions that ended with field goals by the ever reliable Tucker as Baltimore proved its strong start was no fluke.Harbaugh called Flacco’s play “phenomenal.” Flacco isn’t quite ready to go that far. If anything, he was angry the two teams were tied at the half after Baltimore let an early 14-point lead get away.“I really felt like we could have had 28 , 30, 35 points out there at halftime,” Flacco said. “These guys and the way these games have been … especially the last couple years, you don’t want to leave points out there.”The Steelers came in hoping the defense was slowly starting to find itself after forcing four turnovers last Monday night in Tampa during a victory Pittsburgh believed would resuscitate its season.Not quite.Flacco wasted little time helping Baltimore race to a 14-0 advantage. He found John Brown open on a 33-yard touchdown pass on Baltimore’s opening possession. Brown was double covered when Flacco let the ball go. By the time Brown chased it down in the end zone, both Steelers were two steps behind him and the Ravens were in front.Three snaps later Baltimore had the ball back thanks to a strip by safety Tony Jefferson. It took the Ravens just four plays to go up two touchdowns, when Flacco flipped the ball in the flat to a wide-open Collins. The score marked the 13th straight red-zone trip by Baltimore that ended with a Ravens touchdown, the longest streak to start a season in NFL history.Baltimore’s 14th red-zone trip ended up far differently and briefly swung momentum. The Ravens had the ball at the Pittsburgh 2 with a chance to move ahead three scores when Steelers free safety Sean Davis ripped the ball from Collins and Pittsburgh rookie strong safety Terrell Edmunds recovered.Pittsburgh put together a lengthy drive that resulted in a Chris Boswell field goal to get within 14-6. The Steelers tied it with 2:50 left in the first half on a pretty 26-yard back-shoulder throw by Roethlisberger to Brown in the end zone and the ensuing 2-point conversion grab by Conner.Baltimore, however, kept coming as Pittsburgh crumbled.<div class=”stanzacal” data-width=”100%” data-height=”250px” ></div> <script src=”https://dff2h0hbfv6w4.cloudfront.net/scripts/embed-stanzacal-v1.js” type=”text/javascript”></script> Joe Flacco knows it’s easy to point to his increasingly gaudy stats or the rainbows he’s uncorking with ease as proof that he’s truly back.The Baltimore Ravens quarterback doesn’t quite see it that way.Sure, he feels great. Yet he believes the credit for his team’s hot start should go to the 10 guys on the field with him every play. They’re the ones doing the hard work. Flinging the ball all over the place as he did in a 26-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night is the easy part.“It’s not like today was the toughest Pittsburgh Steeler games I’ve ever played,” Flacco said. “I’ve played really, really tough football games against these guys and probably thrown for 150 (yards) but I take pride in some of those games because I battled really, really hard.”The battle was easier this time around for Flacco thanks to a redesigned offense that focuses on creativity and diversity. Flacco completed 28 passes to 11 different players while finishing with 363 yards passing and two scores as the Ravens (3-1) created some early separation between themselves and the Steelers (1-2-1).“The way our guys battled up front today and the way our guys on the outside got open, it didn’t have to be one of those (typical Steeler) games,” Flacco said. “I was able to stand back there with confidence and not too many guys around me, and that helps.”The 33-year-old Flacco stressed , “I’m not throwing the ball any different, we’re a better offense.”One that can attack defenses in a variety of ways. Flacco opened the scoring with a beautiful 33-yard strike to John Brown on Baltimore’s first possession and added a 3-yard flip to running back Alex Collins later in the quarter. He wasn’t quite as explosive, but perhaps even more effective in the second half while putting together four extended drives that ate up the clock and kept Pittsburgh’s potent offense off the field.Ravens head coach John Harbaugh gave offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg an “A-plus” on game planning,“We want to be creative, we want to keep people off balance but yet be physical with what we are doing,” Harbaugh said.Baltimore was able to do all three while ending a three-game losing streak to the Steelers, who find themselves tied with Cleveland for last in the division a quarter of the way into the season.“We don’t like where we are, but we accept it,” Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said. “We understand that this is our doing. We just got to keep working.”STEELERS SPUTTERPittsburgh’s leaky defense has taken plenty of heat during the team’s sluggish start. Yet the offense looked ordinary for stretches and downright overmatched in the second half. The Steelers managed just 47 yards and three first downs after halftime.“I don’t think I’m on the same page as anybody right now,” Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after completing 27 of 47 passes for 274 yards with a touchdown and an interception. “I’m not playing well enough. I need to play better.”He’s hardly the only one. The Steelers did nothing on the ground. Pittsburgh ran for 19 yards on 11 carries.“We were not able to find enough traction tonight,” Tomlin said.FLAG DAYThe Steelers entered the game as, by far, the most penalized team in the NFL. For the first time all season, the opponents drew more attention from officials. Baltimore was called for seven penalties for 50 yards while Pittsburgh was flagged five times for 40 yards.INJURIESSteelers: Lost wide receiver and special teams ace Darrius Heyward-Bey to an ankle injury in the first half. Safety Nat Behre exited with a pectoral injury in the second half.UP NEXTRavens: visit Cleveland to play Baker Mayfield and the Browns (1-2-1). Baltimore has won five straight in the series.Steelers: Welcome Atlanta (1-3) to Heinz Field.

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