Amid ongoing off-the-field drama that is sending shockwaves through not only their team, but through the very top of the NFL chain of command, the Baltimore Ravens pulled out an easy win over their AFC North rivals The Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday night.
With their clear 26-6 victory over the Steelers, the Ravens made it clear that, on the field at least, the Ray Rice drama is behind them. Ravens coach John Harbaugh told USA Today that the problems facing the team off the field are making his team even stronger.
“If you’re made of the right thing, I think adversity can bring you together. And our guys are made of the right stuff.”
Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith talked a little more about how the Ray Rice situation is affecting the team.
“It was just so tough with all the media that surrounded up this week. I mean, they were everywhere. In the parking lot, in the locker room … and then you go home to your wife or your girlfriend and then you have to take questions from them. … We focused. We knew we had our backs against the wall.”
The Ravens were dominant from almost the beginning. After Pittsburgh threatened to score on the first drive of the game, then lost the ball on the 15-yard line, the tone was set. Ravens quarterback Joey Flacco, who went 21-for-29 with 166 yards and two touchdowns on the evening, led the team into the end zone. From there, the Ravens kept the Steelers in their rear-view mirror for the rest of the game.
The Steelers, for their part, almost made it easy for the Ravens. They gave away three turnovers, gave up two sacks, and had nine penalties for 75 yards, according to NFL.com. According to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, they beat themselves.
“It was one thing here and one thing there. I don’t know if we can point to any one thing right now. They’re a good defense. Don’t get me wrong. But we beat ourselves.”
Next week would have been Ray Rice’s first chance to play had his initial two-game suspension held. However, now that Rice’s season – and possibly career – is over, according to this Inquisitr report, the Ravens will take on the Cleveland Browns without him. The Steelers will face the Carolina Panters.
[Image courtesy of: Russell Street Report]