Despite loss, Ravens still in control in AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens remain poised to reach the postseason as
AFC North champions – just like last year – in spite of their
disappointing and unexpected loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baltimore (9-3) could have clinched a playoff berth and
eliminated the Steelers from the division race with a victory on
Sunday. Instead, the Ravens had their 15-game home winning streak
snapped with a 23-20 defeat.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs left in the fourth quarter
after hurting his upper right arm and could miss this Sunday’s game
against Washington. After sitting out the first six weeks of the
season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, Suggs has 19 tackles
and two sacks in six games.
Suggs’ arm injury ”needs to be evaluated as far as possibly
coming back and playing this week or not,” coach John Harbaugh
Harbaugh doesn’t believe it’s a long-term injury.
”I think we are encouraged that it may not be,” he said.
”We’ll just have to see.”
The loss to Pittsburgh dropped the Ravens into a three-way tie
with New England and Denver for the second-best record in the AFC
behind Houston (11-1). Baltimore leads Pittsburgh (7-5) and
Cincinnati (7-5) by two games in the AFC North with four to
”We still are on course,” Harbaugh said. ”We have an
opportunity to accomplish our first and foremost objective – I
wouldn’t say the most important objective, but the first objective
on the agenda – which is to win the division. That’s something that
we need to do. We need to get to 11 (wins) to do that. That hasn’t
changed. And the idea of the high seed in the playoffs is still in
front of us, too. So we’re going to be working hard to get those
The loss to Pittsburgh hurt, but the pain was lessened by the
fact that the Ravens remain in control of the AFC North.
”Obviously, there’s a little bit of comfort in that,” said
quarterback Joe Flacco, who was sacked three times, lost a fumble
and threw an interception.
Many of the things that Baltimore did right this season didn’t
happen on Sunday. The Ravens had a difficult time putting pressure
on third-string quarterback Charlie Batch, converted only three of
11 third-down plays and, worst of all, blew a 20-13 fourth-quarter
lead. Baltimore was 48-7 under Harbaugh when entering the fourth
quarter with a lead, including 7-0 this year.
”We really lost the fourth quarter,” Harbaugh said. ”That was
the difference in the game. … We got ahead but didn’t stay
Pittsburgh had the ball for 12 minutes, 14 seconds in the fourth
quarter and limited the Ravens to one first down. So, it wasn’t
difficult for Harbaugh to explain why this game was different than
the 11 that preceded it.
”We got some stops in other games and got some first downs in
some other games,” he said. ”We converted some third downs in
some other games and didn’t do that in this game. That’s the
biggest thing. We needed to get something going and we weren’t able
to do it.”
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said, ”It’s just disappointing
that we lost. I think we all felt that we could win this game, and
we just didn’t finish it at the end.”
The remainder of the schedule is not easy. After Sunday’s game
against the Redskins, Baltimore hosts Denver and the defending
Super Bowl champion New York Giants before concluding the regular
season at Cincinnati.
”I know what this team is all about. A loss doesn’t change who
we are,” wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. ”We’ll still go out,
we’ll win the AFC North and be a force to be reckoned with in the
Especially if they’re playing at home, where the Ravens are 16-0
(including playoffs) since falling to Pittsburgh in December
”We’re disappointed about having our first loss at home in two
years,” Harbaugh said. ”That’s tough. That’s not something that
you want to see happen. We were proud of that streak. It will be
our job to start a new streak. That will be our goal going
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