BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Ravens had just beaten their bitter rivals in record-breaking fashion, and some of the players felt inclined to put some perspective on their 35-7 manhandling of the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although their overwhelming victory Sunday provided a bit of payback for January’s playoff loss, coach John Harbaugh and his players have turned their attention toward this season.
And Baltimore could not have possibility started it any better.
Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes, Haloti Ngata led an inspired defense that forced a team-record seven turnovers, and the Ravens rolled to their most lopsided victory in a hotly contested series that began in 1996.
“The whole thing about ghosts, demons, monkeys on your back – that’s not real to us,” Harbaugh said. “This is the 2011 Baltimore Ravens.”
Ray Rice ran for 107 yards and scored twice for the Ravens, who bolted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never let up. It was a rematch of a second-round playoff game in which the Steelers rallied to beat Baltimore 31-24.
That day, the Ravens let a 21-7 halftime lead evaporate with three turnovers in the third quarter. This time, the Ravens got three takeaways in the third quarter to turn a 21-7 advantage into a rout.
Ben Roethlisberger had won seven straight starts against the Ravens, but in this one he was 22 for 41 for 280 yards and three interceptions.
The defeat ended Pittsburgh’s eight-game winning streak in season openers.
“We got beat into submission,” said Steelers linebacker James Farrior.
Bal—Boldin 27 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick), 13:28.
Bal—Rice 1 run (Cundiff kick), 1:49.
Pit—Sanders 11 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 10:23.
Bal—Rice 11 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick), 1:48.
Bal—Dickson 18 pass from Flacco (Koch run), 14:39.
Bal—FG Cundiff 29, 2:50.
Bal—FG Cundiff 30, 1:56.
|Total Net Yards||312||385|
|Time of Possession||27:29||32:31|
RUSHING—Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 12-45, Redman 3-12, Roethlisberger 1-9. Baltimore, Rice 19-107, R.Williams 12-63.
PASSING—Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 22-41-3-280. Baltimore, Flacco 17-29-0-224.
RECEIVING—Pittsburgh, Wallace 8-107, Ward 5-67, Miller 3-42, Moore 2-30, Sanders 2-20, A.Brown 2-14. Baltimore, Dickson 5-59, Boldin 4-74, Rice 4-42, Pitta 2-45, R.Williams 1-4, Leach 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.