The last time the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Baltimore Ravens, these were two very different teams. The Steelers only came out of their first two games with half a game’s worth of wins, recording a tie and a loss, while the Ravens had gone 2-1 and would be 4-2 before losing their past two games, and three of their last four.
The Steelers, meanwhile, have won their past three games, usually in blowout fashion, but there was also a game-winning drive snuck in between. So it’s no surprise that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is singing a different tune than when he last was in Pittsburgh.
Flacco had a career game (in games against the Steelers) last time out and made remarks afterward that gave the impression that he didn’t think the defense put up much of a fight, saying that he has faced much tougher Steelers defenses in the past.
But Pittsburgh has played much better football, offensively and defensively, since then while the Ravens have regressed on both sides of the ball as well. Baltimore is sitting at 4-4, in third place in the AFC North, when they were previously tied for the division lead.
“I think these guys are really playing well. They’re playing fast”, he said of the defense this past week. “I think when you turn on the tape, you see a lot of speed, you see them pushing the pocket a little bit, getting after the quarterback, doing some more things to let those guys really go and play fast and aggressive”.
The Steelers have held their past two opponents to under 300 total yards, which has become an accomplishment leaguewide in a season that is weekly shattering offensive records in terms of yardage, scoring, and probably just about everything else as well.
“I think they’ve looked good in the short time since we’ve played them”, Flacco added. “They’re a good football team for a reason. If there are little things here and there that they need to get better at, they do a good job cleaning things up and getting after it”.
The Ravens can stand to do some cleaning up defensively. Outside of a stunning aberration in which they held the Tennessee Titans to 106 yards of total offense and zero points, the have allowed three of their past four opponents to put up over 300 yards (once over 400), and they have given up 60 points over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, the offense went from averaging almost 31 points per game through the first quarter of the season to just 18.5 over the past four games, with 23 points being their high water mark since scoring 26 against the Steelers back in Week Four.
I guess that’s what humble pie tastes like.