Flacco's late fumble against Steelers could cost Ravens homefield in the playoffs

By Dan Parzych

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It took until the 2:51 mark in the fourth quarter before the Pittsburgh Steelers took their first lead of the night against the Baltimore Ravens—and they wouldn’t look back. With the 13-10 win, the Steelers moved back into sole possession of first place thanks to a late fumble by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.

On a 2nd and 5 from the Baltimore 43, Flacco dropped back and was immediately sacked by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Flacco fumbled while trying to get a quick pass out, but it wasn’t enough as the ball bounced backwards and was recovered by L. Woodley—who returned it all the way down to the Baltimore 9. Three plays later, Ben Roethlisberger threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman to give the Steelers a three-point lead.

It’s amazing how quickly the tables can turn in a football game. For most of the game, the Ravens appear to be on their way to 9-3 with a commanding lead in the AFC North over the Steelers—especially since a win Sunday night would have been a season sweep.

Instead, they find themselves one-game back of Pittsburgh in the division as Flacco failed to get Baltimore into field goal range to try and setup a game-tying field goal. Flacco drove the Ravens all the way down to the Steelers’ 31-yard line, but his pass to Ed Dickson on a 4th and 2 was thrown too low.

So much was on the line for the Ravens tonight when it comes to the AFC North. A win over Pittsburgh and Baltimore is sitting on top of the division with control over whether or not they receive a bye the first week of the playoffs.

Now, the Ravens sit in the No. 6 spot and will need some help from some other teams over the next four weeks if they have any chance of re-claiming the division lead. Not to mention Pittsburgh has an advantage over Baltimore at the moment since their division record (3-1) could play a factor in a tiebreaker at the end of the season.

One momentum-changing play made a difference in the outcome between these two AFC North rivals—and to think how everything would be different if the Ravens had just picked up Polamalu’s blitz on that fumble by Flacco.

Dan Parzych is the Lead NFL Content Editor for RantSports.com/NFL,  where he writes and edits NFL content for RantSports.com.

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