|Date of game: 9/11/2014
Recap: Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh
Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Ravens channeled their emotions during a turbulent week off the field into a dominant one on it, as they crushed the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-6, on Thursday night.
Joe Flacco threw a pair of touchdown passes to Owen Daniels, Justin Tucker kicked four field goals and Baltimore forced three turnovers in putting the focus back on football if but for a few hours.
The blowout win came three days after disturbing new video footage was released showing franchise running back Ray Rice punching his now-wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
Rice had been already been suspended two games for the incident, but the graphic nature of the video led to his outright release and an indefinite suspension by the NFL.
The controversy will continue to dominate the headlines in the coming weeks, both in the way the situation was handled by the league and Rice's playing future, but the Ravens (1-1) did not appear fazed by the frenzy.
Flacco played mistake-free and threw 71 of his 166 yards to Steve Smith, Sr., while Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett combined for 152 rushing yards to help Baltimore rebound from a season-opening loss to the Bengals.
"It's a big win for the city. This is always such a huge game against the Steelers," said Flacco. "On a short week after a loss, we had to come out and play well to put that behind us."
Pittsburgh (1-1) recorded seven first downs in the second half -- four coming in its final drive with the outcome already decided.
Ben Roethlisberger completed just 22-of-37 passes for 217 yards with an interception and was held without a touchdown pass for the first time since the final game of the 2011 season.
"It was a disappointing effort for us. A lot of self-inflicted wounds are going to prevent you from being in football games like that," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
A promising Steelers drive off the opening kickoff was thwarted when Justin Brown caught a short pass over the middle and fumbled.
The Ravens recovered at their own 15 and marched down the field themselves, and they found their way into the end zone. A fourth-down sneak by Flacco moved the chains, and a pass interference penalty on Cortez Allen set Baltimore up inside the 5.
A play-action fake freed up Daniels in the back of the end zone, and Flacco found the backup tight end for a 2-yard TD.
Field goals were traded in the second quarter, with Tucker hitting a 30-yarder and Shaun Suisham getting the Steelers on the board from 25 yards out with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Pittsburgh punted in Ravens territory just before halftime and had another drive stall early in the third quarter, eventually settling for a 43-yard field goal from Suisham.
Baltimore's tight end tandem of Dennis Pitta and Daniels carried the Ravens back down the field. Pitta's 24-yard catch moved them across midfield, and Daniels capped a three-catch drive with another TD off a play-action fake. Prior to the score, Mike Mitchell was whistled for an unnecessary roughness penalty on a hit to Smith at the goal line, placing the ball on the 1.
Tucker tacked on kicks from 23 and 22 yards out around a Heath Miller fumble early in the fourth, then added a 20-yarder to cap the scoring.
Haloti Ngata's diving interception on a tipped pass put the finishing touches on the rout.Game Notes
Tucker moved past Jamal Lewis and into third place on the Ravens' all-time
scoring list with 290 points ... Ravens punter Sam Koch set the franchise
record for most consecutive games played with 130, breaking a tie with Jarret
Johnson ... Flacco improved to 12-1 at home in September ... Roethlisberger
had a string of 30 straight games with a touchdown pass come to an end ...
Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell gained 107 yards from scrimmage after amassing 197
in a Week 1 win over the Browns, while teammate Antonio Brown had a game-high
seven catches for 90 yards ... Ten of the previous 12 games between these
division foes were decided by three points or fewer.