Last Sunday, the Ravens defeated the rival Steelers in Pittsburgh, 17-14. The two teams are now tied atop the AFC North with matching 3-1 records. The Steelers struck first, when Rashard Mendenhall went in for a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. In the second, Willis McGahee rolled nine yards into the end zone to tie up the game. The Ravens took a 10-7 lead into the half after Billy Cundiff sunk a 33-yard field goal. After a scoreless third quarter, the Steelers took the lead with seven minutes left when Mendenhall scored again, this time from 7 yards out. The Ravens tried to respond, but were denied at the goal line after an unsuccessful fourth and goal. But the Ravens defense gave Flacco's offense one more chance at the win, forcing a three and out. Then, it took Flacco four plays to get the Ravens the win. He was 4/4 with 40 yards passing on the winning drive. The winning score was with :36 seconds left in the game, an 18 yard touchdown throw to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, his first touchdown grab as a Raven. Ray Lewis picked off a Charlie Batch pass on their next drive to seal up a sweet Ravens victory.
Player of the Game: Ravens DT Haloti Ngata-8 tackles, sack
Next week, the Ravens will host the 2-2 Denver Broncos. These teams met in Baltimore last year, with the Ravens destroying the Broncos, 30-7. The Broncos running game is the worst in the NFL this year. But their passing game is more than making up for it. Kyle Orton is the NFL's leading passer in this young season. That is no surprise, seeing that the Broncos throw 50 times each week. But they will absolutely not be able to do that this week against this Ravens defense. The Broncos offense needs to understand that they cannot be one-dimensional this week. They need to balance out the run and the pass, or else the Ravens will just drop back and it will be a long day for Orton. The Broncos ability or inability to balance out their offense can change the tide of the game this week. I have the Ravens improving to 4-1 with a 24-13 win.
Key Matchups for Broncos at Ravens
Ravens DT Haloti Ngata vs. Broncos LT Ryan Clady Edge: Ngata
Ravens S Dawan Landry vs. Broncos QB Kyle Orton Edge: Landry
Ravens WR Anquan Boldin vs. Broncos CB Champ Bailey Edge: Boldin
Ravens RT Marshal Yanda vs. Broncos DE Justin Bannan Edge: Bannan
T Jared Gaither-Back-OUT
LB Tavares Gooden-Shoulder-OUT
LB Paul Kruger-Knee-OUT
WR Donte Stallworth-Foot-OUT
RB Spencer Larsen-Ankle-OUT
RB Knowshon Moreno-Hamstring-OUT
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report, see ya next week!