One of the Ravens’ most important qualities they had on display Sunday was their ability to bend without breaking.
It has become the calling card on both sides of the ball, as all three aspects of the game contributed to the huge victory.
The offense did struggle mightily, as they were outgained by 111 yards by the Steelers. Joe Flacco had a brutal day as he had his third-lowest passing day on the season, and threw zero touchdowns for the second time this season.
Ray Rice had a paltry two yards per carry, as he was bottled up for 40 yards on the ground. Rice has now rushed for less than 43 yards in three of the last four games. He was habitually stopped when the Ravens needed him the most, as it was another disappointing game on the ground.
The defense played decent overall, but was gashed for big plays throughout the game. A Corey Graham interception bailed out the defense on a Steelers’ drive that was penetrating Baltimore territory. The Steelers inability to get in the end zone ultimately was their downfall as they moved the ball much better than the Ravens, but they had only two drives materialize into points.
The Jacoby Jones 63-yard punt return was the biggest play of the game, as it gave the Ravens a very undeserving lead, but to their credit, they never relinquished that lead.
Yes, the Jones return was huge, but the way both sides of the ball bent without breaking was the true underlying factor in the win.
Despite the aforementioned poor day from the offense, they did not hurt the team like the Steelers’ offense hurt their team’s chance. Baltimore turned the ball over zero times, while the Steelers turned it over three times.
Likewise, Pittsburgh statistically outplayed the Ravens defense, but again they made the plays when they needed to. When Pittsburgh was moving the ball, especially late, the Ravens made the big sack or big hit.
Whether it was a timely sack by Paul Kruger, Haloti Ngata or James Ihedigbo, or a ball-jarring hit from Graham or Bernard Pollard, the Ravens epitomized the concept of bending without breaking.
Unfortunately, that concept will again be put to the test this week as the Ravens make the long trip to take on the San Diego Chargers without Ed Reed, as he will miss the game due to a suspension.
Reed was suspended after his third helmet-to-helmet hit of his career, after he was flagged for hitting the Steelers’ Emmanuel Sanders in the head.
Reed’s ball-hawking skills will be missed against the mistake-prone Philip Rivers, as that would be a match-up that would appear to favor the Ravens.
So again, the Ravens will have to show off their best quality, as they don’t want to have a letdown after such a big win.
At this point in the season, it would be tough to bet against the Ravens’ ability to bounce back from adversity, as it is becoming a theme for the season.