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

said Monday.

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

things done.”

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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