This was a good old fashion butt whopping by the Baltimore Ravens. Heading into this season, the defending AFC Champion Steelers heard about how their defense was too old and their offensive line was terrible. The Ravens didn't just prove those critics right, they made them look like Einsteins.
Ray Rice ran for 107 yards on just 19 carries and scored 2 touchdowns in part of the Raven's biggest blowout in the franchise's history against the Steelers. While the Steelers defense was dominated up and down the field, the offense had just as many turnovers as points. Ben Roethlisberger threw three picks of which two were thrown right at Ravens free safety Ed Reed. Every time the Steelers seemed to move the ball down field, a turnover would kill the drive and all hope of making a dramatic comeback.
Down 21-7 to start the second half, the Steelers looked to create another dramatic come from behind win as they did in last year's divisional playoff round. This time, it was not going to happen. Pittsburgh fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Baltimore quickly capitalized when Flacco's playaction burned Polamalu as he threw to a wide open Ed Dickson for an 18 yard touchdown. John Harbaugh decided to run a fake extra point which led to an easy two point conversion. The following play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger's pass was tipped by Haloti Ngata and intercepted by Ray Lewis. The Steelers D held Baltimore to a field goal, but the offense never recovered.
Adding salt to the wound, was the physical dominance of the Ravens over the Steelers. In Tomlin's five seasons as Pittsburgh's head coach, this was the worst physical beating the Steelers had experienced. Hines Ward was blind sided by Jarret Johnson on a broken screen play that eventually led to Reed's second interception. Rashard Mendenhall was blasted by Ngata on a play in which it seemed Roethlisberger and Maurkice Pouncey were crossed up on the snap cadence. The Steelers weren't just beaten, they were bludgeoned in every aspect of the game and downright intimidated.
Still, we can take a few positives out of this game. Other than James Harrison's knee, which did not look serious, the Steelers somehow managed to come out of this game healthy. Next week, they face the Seattle Seahawks at home. The Seahawks lost to the 49ers today and should be an easy win for the black and gold. However, the Steelers need to come out hitting on all cylinders. If the defense plays half as bad as they did in week one, there should be cause for concern. Usually, week two of the NFL season is not too important, but the Steelers need to show whether they are contenders or pretenders to make another run at a championship.
If this game did anything, it showed the window of opportunity is starting to close. The defensive line was constantly blown off the ball by a Ravens offensive line that hadn't been practicing together for more than a month. They looked weak. They looked…old.