Ravens’ defense falls apart in 4th quarter against Steelers
PITTSBURGH (AP) — It was a familiar feeling for Terrell Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, in dramatic fashion, clinched the AFC North title for the second consecutive season at home against their rivals. This time, Chris Boswell kicked a 46-yard field goal with 42 seconds to play for a 39-38 comeback win against the Ravens on Sunday night.
The result was similar to a prime-time game played last Christmas when Antonio Brown’s game-winning touchdown with nine seconds left carried the Steelers to victory.
“This one hurts,” Suggs said. “We lose to them the same way we did last year. ... We’ve got to get over it.”
Baltimore has won four of the last six games in Pittsburgh, but the lone losses have come in the last two years. The Steelers, who have won eight straight since a 3-2 start, clinched their third AFC North championship in four years.
Meanwhile, the Ravens (7-6), still in the thick of the AFC playoff race, entered playing their best football of the season. They were riding a three-game winning streak and had won four of five. They scored a season-high 44 points a week earlier and put up 38 more on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough against Ben Roethlisberger, Brown and the Steelers.
“We like for it to be on us instead of the offense, and defensively we feel like we let the offense down,” Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey said.
Baltimore led 38-36 when Pittsburgh started its final possession on its own 17-yard line with 2:25 to play. Suggs and safety Tony Jefferson combined for a sack on first down, but Pittsburgh later converted a third-and-13 when Roethlisberger found tight end Jesse James for 16 yards.
Roethlisberger later connected with Brown for 34 yards, eventually setting up Boswell’s winning kick for the emotional Steelers, playing in honor of injured teammate Ryan Shazier, who sustained a serious spinal cord injury last week at Cincinnati.
Brown finished with 11 receptions for 213 yards, while Roethlisberger was 44 of 66 for 506 yards with touchdown passes to Le’Veon Bell and Roosevelt Nix.
″(Roethlisberger) won the Super Bowl two times and played in three, so he’s definitely a premier quarterback,” Suggs said. “We’ve got to be better.”
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco went 20 of 35 for 269 yards with touchdown tosses to Chris Moore and Patrick Ricard, along with an interception. Alex Collins rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, and Javorius Allen also scored twice for the Ravens, who are vying for their seventh playoff berth in 10 seasons.
“We just have to swallow this one, let it go and wait for the next three games,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “We’re still in it. We just have to make sure that we handle our business so we can try to get back ultimately for the playoffs.”
The Steelers accumulated 144 yards of total offense and scored a pair of touchdowns on their first two series, racing to an early 14-0 lead. But the Ravens recovered, outscoring Pittsburgh 31-6 — including 17-0 in the third quarter to build a 31-20 lead heading into the fourth.
The Steelers didn’t punt once in the first half, but their first three drives of the second half totaled 21 yards and all ended with punts.
“We know that you can never take your foot off the gas when you’re playing this team,” Baltimore safety Eric Weddle said. “We played outstanding in the third quarter, and then they just get on these runs that we can’t dig ourselves out of. You can’t do that against any team, let alone one of the best quarterbacks to ever do it.”
Roethlisberger led the Steelers to points on their last four possessions.
“We just didn’t execute in the fourth quarter,” Suggs said. “This team is built to finish in the fourth quarter. We can’t let it put a damper on our season.”
This story has been corrected with time left on the winning field goal.