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article imageNFL: Ravens force 7 turnovers in 35-7 win over Steelers

By Austin Tyler     Sep 11, 2011 in Sports
Baltimore - Usually when the Ravens and the Steelers face off it is a defensive battle, but Sunday’s game was one-sided on offense and defense. The Ravens took it to the Steelers in a Week 1 kickoff that led to a lopsided victory for Baltimore.
The Baltimore Ravens hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers, and had their offense going as they picked apart last year’s best defense. The Ravens had some good pieces return from last year and add some new pieces to really get their offense going which lead them to a 35-7 victory over the Steelers.
Baltimore got the ball first to open the game, and did not take anytime scoring as they went 66 yards and scored a touchdown in just 1:32. Ray Rice (19 carries, 107 yards, 1 TD) had the first play of the game, and it was a big one that was a 37-yard run. The third play was a 27-yard strike to Aquan Boldin (4 receptions, 74 yards, 1 TD) from Joe Flacco (17/29, 224 yards, 3 TD’s) that gave the Ravens an early 7-0 lead.
The Ravens defense showed up on the Steelers first possession as they locked them down only allowing them to move the ball 15 yards in 5 plays. The Steelers were forced to punt and the Ravens took over again. They were not able to duplicate their success as they also were forced to punt the ball away after moving it 62-yards.
Ben Roethlisberger (22/41, 280 yards, 1 TD, 3 Int’s) brought the Steelers back out for their next drive, and continued to struggle as they only were able to move the ball 17-yards. Terrell Suggs made a big play for the Ravens as he sacked Roethlisberger and forced him to fumble. Suggs force the fumble and recovered it giving the Ravens back the ball and stopping a Steelers chance to score.
Flacco took advantage of the shorten field and hit tight end Dennis Pitta (2 receptions, 45 yards) on a 29-yard pass. Rice then took the ball in from 8-yards out for a touchdown that reviewed and overturned. The ball was placed on the one-yard line and Rice ran it in to give the Ravens a 14-0 lead.
The Steelers took the ball on the ensuing kickoff and moved the ball 73-yards on 10 plays. Rashard Mendenhall (12 carries, 45 yards) did the bulk of the work for the Steelers as opened the drive with a 23-yard run. He then gained a few more yards before Roethlisberger hit Emanuel Sanders (2 receptions, 20 yards, 1 TD) for an 11-yard touchdown pitch and catch. Sanders touchdown put the Steelers back in the game 14-7
Both teams punted on their next possessions as their defenses seemed to get in a grove. The grove did not last long as the Ravens came back and moved the ball 95-yards on 12 plays. Flacco and Rice mixed it up with the run and the pass until Flacco capped it off by hitting Rice (4 receptions, 42 yards 1 TD) for a 11-yard touchdown pass. Rice gave the Ravens a 21-7 lead with 1:48 left in the half.
The Steelers went three and out to end the half, and the Ravens ran the ball to run the clock out to go into halftime.
To start the third quarter the Steelers got the ball, but did not have it long as Mendenhall fumbled on the first play of the drive. Mendenhall was hit by Haloti Ngata who forced and recovered the fumble for the Ravens. With good field position, Flacco struck quick as he hit Ed Dickson (5 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD) for a 18-yard touchdown pass.
On the next drive the Steelers turned the ball over on the first play again, but this time it was Roethlisberger throwing an interception. The ageless wonder Ray Lewis picked off Roethlisberger’s pass and it was tipped in the air. The Ravens could not capitalize as Rice was stopped on fourth down by James Harrison which put the Steelers in a tough spot.
The Steelers continued to have trouble with their offense because on their next drive Roethlisberger threw another interception which ticked Head Coach Mike Tomlin off. Ed Reed picked off the Roethlisberger pass and returned in 9-yards on his 55th career interception. Tomlin did not look happy and snatched off his headset in the process while Roethlisberger trotted back to the sideline.
Baltimore mover the ball 53-yards after the interception, but still had to settle for a Billy Cundiff 29-yard field-goal. The Ravens then took a 32-7 lead with 2:50 left in the third quarter. The fourth quarter started off with a Ravens punt, but the Steelers turned it back over with Reed getting his 56th career interception off of a Roethlisberger pass.
The Ravens did not score after the turnover, but had to punt the ball away after 3 plays for negative 3-yards. Roethlisberger took the field again but only to have the Steelers turn the ball over again. This time it was on a fumble where Lewis forced the fumble and Pernell McPhee recovered. The play was ruled a catch and fumble, but was reviewed and overturned giving the Ravens the ball.
Baltimore went three and out on the next drive and punted the ball back to the Steelers. On the next drive the Steelers fumbled again and once again it was Suggs with the hit on Roethlisberger and recovered by Cory Redding for the Ravens. The Ravens struck on the first play when they hit Boldin for a touchdown pass, but it was nullified due to an offensive pass interference call. The Ravens had to settle for another Cundiff field-goal. This time it was a 30-yard field-goal that made it a 35-7 lead and the ball game with just 1:56 left on the clock.
The Steelers will host the Seattle Seahawks next week, and the Baltimore Ravens will be in Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans.
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