Ravens clobber Steelers

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (R) dives into the end zone for a touchdown in front of...

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (R) dives into the end zone for a touchdown in front of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons on September 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Joe Giza)

Mike Rutsey, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 PM ET

BALTIMORE - This one was over almost before it started.

And it wasn’t like everybody in the press box didn’t get a proper warning.

A few minutes before game time, a middle-aged Baltimore fan came walking up the stairs in front of the press box windows wearing a white T-shirt with a graphic of a long-haired stoner and the words emblazed in large black lettering — ‘Jesus Hates the Steelers’.

Turns out he did, at least this day.

In a game that will become lore in these parts for decades, the Baltimore Ravens ran roughshod over a hapless looking Pittsburgh team and pounded the daylights out of them 35-7.

The score doesn’t come close to representing how sharp the Ravens were and how utterly pathetic the Steelers.

It was difficult to decide just who had the more embarrassing afternoon, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger or their entire defensive unit.

The final score represented the worst beat down that Baltimore has laid on the Steelers in their history. Previously the biggest thumping by the Ravens was a 31-7 rout on Dec. 24 of 2006.

On the day the Steelers committed seven turnovers to none by the Ravens. It was a team record for Baltimore and a personal nightmare for Roethlisberger, who threw three interceptions and committed two of the fumbles.

The Steelers have dominated of late having won six of the previous eight meetings while Roethlisberger was on a personal 7-0 streak against them, including the playoff victory last January that launched them into the AFC championship game.

“I hate the word satisfying,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said of the victory, his first against Roethlisberger. “It’s a great victory. The whole thing about ghosts, demons, monkeys on your back — that’s not real to us.

“Every game is a new game and Ray (Lewis) said it at halftime. We have not been here before, with the lead (21-7) going into the third quarter (the exact scenario of last year’s playoff game) against this football team because this is a new football team. This is the 2011 Baltimore Ravens. This is who we are and now we’re going to find out what this football team is going to be about going forward.”

The Steelers came into the game with history and a lot of swagger on their side.

They won the coin toss and in a dismissive gesture decided to kick off and put their vaunted defence on the team.

It was a statement move by the Steelers and the Ravens countered with one of their own.

On the first play running back Ray Rice broke up the left side for 36 yards to put the ball on the Pittsburgh 30.

Rice carried again for three yards and on the next play, then quarterback Joe Flacco threw a perfect strike to wide receiver Anquan Boldin streaking up the left side for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead just 1:32 into the game.

On the second Steelers possession, the Ravens put the hammer down as on first-and-10 at the Steelers 44, Roethlisberger was back to pass but was sacked by linebacker Terrell Suggs, causing a fumble, one recovered by giant defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the Pittsburgh 37. It was a trend that would continue.

Four plays later, Rice would go off for a touchdown and the rout was on.

The Ravens would go on to dominate every aspect of the game. Defensively they were outstanding as linebacker Terrell Suggs had three sacks and forced two fumbles. Tackle Haloti Ngata tipped a pass that was intercepted, caused one fumble and recovered two. Veteran safety Ed Reed, meanwhile, had two of the interceptions for his 13th career multi-interception game.

Flacco finished the day 17-for-29 for 224 yards and three touchdowns while Rice would gain 107 yards on 19 carries and have the one TD.

Roethlisberger, meanwhile, was 22-for-41 for 280 yards, one TD and the three picks.

“It was just one of those days,” Big Ben said with a shrug.

Other Steelers were stunned, including coach Mike Tomlin.

“That’s pretty easy to assess, we got handled in all three phases today,” he said of the loss. “Obviously we have a lot of work to do.

“We didn’t stop those guys enough. We didn’t turn around enough ball carriers. We didn’t create turnovers. We never found our rhythm. When that happens versus a good team, you’re going to get beat the way we got beat today.”

Steelers defensive tackle Casey Hampton summed their play up best.

“The way they beat us is embarrassing,” he said. “They just came out and executed. They outplayed us and really handed it to us.

“Since I have been here, nobody has beaten us like that on both sides of the ball for the entire game.”

The Ravens, while revelling in the victory, wanted to stress it was just one game.

“It was a great team victory,” Boldin said. “This is a game we’ve been waiting for since last season. We left last season with a bitter taste in our mouths and that was a motivation for us.

“You still have to give them credit. They’re the AFC North champions and until we dethrone them they still are, so we’ll see until then.”


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