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Steelers lose game, and division lead, to Ravens in Week 9

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The Pittsburgh Steelers did more than just lose their Week 9 game against the Baltimore Ravens, they lost their lead in the AFC North division.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens were both coming off their bye weeks, and also in desperate need of a victory. Pittsburgh came into the game with a two-game losing streak, while Baltimore had dropped four in a row. One of the streaks would end as this AFC North grudge match would decide who would be in sole first place entering Week 10.

The first quarter saw a very timid play calling game by Todd Haley with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returning to the lineup just two weeks after tearing his meniscus, and a Baltimore offense who was imposing his will on the Pittsburgh defense; however, if it weren’t for an Artie Burns interception of Joe Flacco, the Steelers could have been given an uphill battle early in the game.

Nonetheless, the Ravens struck first with a 95-yard catch and run by former Steeler Mike Wallace with just over 1:00 left in the opening frame. Rookie Artie Burns and Mike Mitchell both missed tackles on the play which gave Baltimore a 7-0 lead.

The first half was ugly all the way around for both teams, and if it wasn’t for a two-minute drill which resulted in a 49-yard Justin Tucker, the game could have been just 7-0 at the break. However, the kick gave Baltimore a 10-0 lead.

The story of the first half was penalties. Quite simply, Pittsburgh had more penalties than offensive yardage. They tallied 84 yards on 10 penalties, while only gaining 67 offensive yards. All in the first half.

The second half was more of the same sloppy play in the first half. After exchanging possessions, the Ravens were set up beautifully deep in Pittsburgh territory when a Ben Roethlisberger pass was deflected and intercepted by Timmy Jernigan. The Ravens didn’t move the ball far, but settled for another Tucker field goal to make the score 13-0 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.

While the Steelers desperately needed to make a play, it was Baltimore who provided the play making. In the fourth quarter Jordan Berry’s punt was blocked, and returned for a touchdown. Flacco would hit Steve Smith Sr. for the two-point conversion to make the score 21-0, an insurmountable deficit considering Pittsburgh hadn’t converted a third down the entire game, let alone have a snap in opposing territory.

The Steelers offense was finally able to get on the board when Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 23-yard touchdown on a 4th and 3. Chris Boswell made the extra point to make the score 21-7 with 8:32 left in the game.

Although Pittsburgh would score a late touchdown with a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown run, it proved to be too little to late as the Chris Boswell onside kick was illegally touched and given to Baltimore to make the final score 21-14 Baltimore.

The Steelers fall to 4-4 on the season, and have lost 3 games in a row, while the Ravens advance to 4-4 and ended their 4-game losing streak. Pittsburgh will host the Dallas Cowboys at Heinz Field in Week 10 NFL action.