PITTSBURGH — Joe Flacco threw a pair of early touchdown passes, Justin Tucker kicked four second-half field goals and the Baltimore Ravens pulled away from the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-14 on Sunday night.
Flacco completed 28 of 42 passes for 363 yards and TD passes to John Brown and Alex Collins as the Ravens (3-1) ended a three-game losing streak to their AFC North rivals. Tucker accounted for all the scoring after halftime as Baltimore ended Pittsburgh’s long run of success on Sunday nights.
The Steelers (1-2-1) came in having won nine straight Sunday night appearances, a streak that included a pair of victories over the Ravens. Baltimore brought Pittsburgh’s run to an abrupt end by shutting down Pittsburgh in the second half.
Ben Roethlisberger finished 27 of 47 for 274 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Steelers. Antonio Brown caught five passes for 62 yards, including his second touchdown pass in as many weeks.
Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense, however, sputtered after erasing an early 14-point deficit. The Steelers managed just 47 yards in the second half and converted 2 of 12 third downs.
The Ravens were only too happy to play keep-away after the break. Flacco put together a string of clock-consuming possessions that ended with field goals by the ever reliable Tucker as Baltimore proved its strong start was no fluke.
The Steelers came in hoping the defense was slowly starting to find itself after forcing four turnovers last Monday night in Tampa during a victory Pittsburgh believed would resuscitate its season.
Flacco wasted little time helping Baltimore build a quick 14-point lead. He found Brown open on a 33-yard touchdown pass on Baltimore’s opening possession. Brown was double covered when Flacco let the ball go. By the time Brown chased it down in the end zone, both Steelers were two steps behind him and the Ravens were in front.
Three snaps later Baltimore had the ball back thanks to a strip by safety Tony Jefferson. It took the Ravens just four plays to go up two touchdowns, when Flacco flipped the ball in the flat to a wide-open Collins. The score marked the 13th straight red-zone trip by Baltimore that ended with a Ravens touchdown, the longest streak to start a season in NFL history.
Baltimore’s 14th red-zone trip ended up far differently and briefly swung momentum. The Ravens had the ball at the Pittsburgh 2 with a chance to move ahead three scores when Steelers free safety Sean Davis ripped the ball from Collins and Pittsburgh rookie strong safety Terrell Edmunds recovered.
Pittsburgh put together a lengthy drive that resulted in a Chris Boswell field goal to get within 14-6. The Steelers tied it with 2:50 left in the first half on a pretty 26-yard back-shoulder throw by Roethlisberger to Brown in the end zone and the ensuing 2-point conversion grab by Conner.
Baltimore, however, kept coming and Pittsburgh’s offense sputtered.
Ravens: Visit Tennessee next Sunday. The Titans beat Baltimore 23-20 last season in Nashville.
Steelers: Host Atlanta next Sunday. Pittsburgh has won its last two meetings against the Falcons.