Baltimore Ravens: Rewriting the Script on Sunday Night
We’ve Seen This Before
On Sunday night, the Baltimore Ravens traveled up to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers in a matchup that everyone expected to be close and tense. This rivalry has produced many such close games over the years. However, when the Ravens went up 14-3 and had the ball at the 1-yard line, it looked like the game was going to get out of control very quickly.
However, that was not how this game was destined to go. Alex Collins fumbled the ball, the Steelers recovered, and the crisis was averted. One long drive later, and the score was 14-6. The momentum continued, as the Steelers managed to get another stop the next drive and then went on the attack. On one of Big Ben’s signature scrambling plays, the Steelers brought the game to within 2. Moments later, a converted 2-point conversion had the game tied after it seemed all but lost.
This is a movie Baltimore Ravens fans have seen all too many times before. Comebacks in Heinz field are the norm for the rivalry these days. Fans were upset, but most of all they were frustrated that it seemed to be happening all over again.
The Script Has Changed
After a quick drive to finish the second quarter killed a bit of the momentum, the Baltimore Ravens came out in the second half ready to play. Most notably, the offense managed to stay on the field and quiet the crowd with several crucial third-down conversions off Flacco’s arm. Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and multiple tight ends each made plays in the passing game. The defense, able to finally get some rest, stiffened up and forced the Steelers into third and long situations repeatedly. While they weren’t perfect, they stopped the offense when they had to. Ultimately, the Ravens outscored the Steelers 12-0 in the second half en route to a 26-14 victory. However, that margin doesn’t quite do the game justice. Outside of a weak second quarter, the Ravens dominated their rivals last night.
If there is any sign that the Baltimore Ravens improved in the offseason, Sunday night is as clear as it gets. The team on Sunday night looked, unlike the squad Ravens fans have watched for the last three years. The offense was capable, explosive, and reliable. Flacco took shots down the field to John Brown early and often. The line gave him great protection to do so. The defense made plays when it needed to, instead of being good until it was most important to be great. Marlon Humphrey, for the most part, handled Antonio Brown well. If these improvements are signs of things to come, there’s a lot to be excited about in Baltimore. The Ravens look different right now. Most importantly, they look good.
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