Playing three days after running back Ray Rice was released from the team and suspended by the league, the Baltimore Ravens got a pair of touchdown passes from Joe Flacco and rolled past the rival Pittsburgh Steelers 26-6 on Thursday night.
The Ravens (1-1) shrugged off the distraction to bounce back from a season-opening loss at home to division rival Cincinnati.
Bernard Pierce gained 96 yards on 22 carries as part of a ground game that finished with 157 yards. Flacco went 21 for 29 for 166 yards and two TD throws to tight end Owen Daniels, and Justin Tucker kicked four field goals.
Pittsburgh (1-1) managed only two field goals and committed three turnovers — one that halted its opening drive, another that set up a fourth-quarter field goal by Tucker, and an interception by Ben Roethlisberger with 1:51 remaining.
It was only the second time in the last 11 regular-season meetings between the teams that the outcome was decided by more than three points.
Roethlisberger completed 22 of 37 passes for 217 yards. It was the first time since Nov. 26, 2006, that Baltimore held Pittsburgh without a touchdown.
After Tucker kicked a 23-yard field goal for a 20-6 lead, Steelers tight end Heath Miller fumbled on a hit by rookie C.J. Mosley, who took the loose ball to the Pittsburgh 20.
That led to a 22-yarder by Tucker with 11:14 left.
Aided by a roughing the passer call against Courtney Upshaw on the third play of the game, Pittsburgh held the ball for more than eight minutes before Justin Brown fumbled and Baltimore recovered at its own 15.
The Ravens then moved 85 yards in 12 plays with the help of two Pittsburgh penalties, the last a 23-yard pass interference call against Cortez Allen that set up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Daniels.
Pierce and Justin Forsett combined for 32 yards on Baltimore’s next series, which ended in a field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Pittsburgh finally broke through with 2:50 left in the half, getting a field goal to cap an 11-play, 73-yard drive.
It was 10-6 before Flacco connected with Daniels on a 1-yard touchdown pass to cap an 80-yard drive highlighted by Flacco’s 24-yard completion to tight end Dennis Pitta. (Photo: Nick Wass/Associated Press)
Browns comeback falls short in 30-27 loss to Steelers
The journeyman who held off the Heisman Trophy winner to grab the starting quarterback job in Cleveland lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-27 on Sunday, but he might have won over a few of his critics in the process.
Brian Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns roared back from a 24-point halftime deficit to tie the game at 27 before the Pittsburgh Steelers survived on Shaun Suisham’s 41-yard field goal at the final gun.
While first-year coach Mike Pettine said simply “we failed,” he also didn’t panic after watching Hoyer and Cleveland’s depleted offense stumble in the first half. Instead, he ordered the offense to push the tempo. Hoyer and backup running backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell responded with 20 minutes of brilliance as the Browns scored four times to draw even.
Quarterback, however, might not be one of them. Pettine answered flatly “no” when pressed on whether he considered going to Manziel to start the second half.
What the Browns could use though, is a way to beat Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers star passed for 365 yards and a score and hit Markus Wheaton twice during the final drive to bring Suisham within range to win it.
There never is when Roethlisberger faces Cleveland. Pittsburgh is 18-1 against the Browns with Roethlisberger under center.
Still on a day when the Steelers rolled up 490 yards they needed every last second of the clock to avoid losing their fourth straight season opener.
Something the Browns have been trying — and failing — to do for most of the last 15 years. They drafted Manziel with hopes of reviving the franchise. Though Manziel’s day is coming, but Hoyer nearly started a legend of his own on a day that began with what looked like another episode of “Same Old Browns.”
The lowlight came in the middle of the second quarter when Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown raced up field with a punt return. When the Pro Bowler came upon Cleveland punter Spencer Lanning, Brown tried to leap over Lanning only to end up smacking Lanning in the facemask with his cleat.
The play drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on Brown — perhaps the first ever by a punt returner — and comic laughter from the sun-splashed crowd delighting in what appeared to be just another mauling in a series full of them.
The Browns somehow pulled themselves up despite playing without wide receiver Josh Gordon (suspension), running back Ben Tate (who left in the second quarter with a knee injury) and tight end Jordan Cameron (who left in the second half with shoulder trouble).
Instead it was Hoyer and a couple of unknowns behind him who led the way. West darted for 100 yards and Crowell scored a pair of touchdowns as the Browns tied the game when Hoyer scrambled left and found Benjamin in the corner of the end zone.
After sometimes frantic play for the game’s first 50 minutes, both teams squandered chances to take control. Cleveland’s last gasp came with a first down its own 20 with 1:53 to go. A sack, an incompletion and an ill-advised screen gave the Steelers the ball back at the Pittsburgh 43 with 47 seconds remaining.
Just enough time, it turns out, for Roethlisberger to complete his 34th game-winning drive. (Photo: Associated Press)
Former Pittsburgh and Cincinnati linebacker James Harrison officially announced his retirement from the NFL Friday afternoon at Steelers headquarters, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Harrison quickly informed those in attendance, “If you’re all looking for tears, you’re not going to get it.”
Harrison said he wanted to come back and finish it where it all started.
He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State in 2002 with the Steelers. He spent the first 10 years of his NFL career with Pittsburgh and appeared in 131 regular season games with 95 starts.
Harrison earned five consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 2007-11 as a Steeler while helping lead the team to two Super Bowl Championships (XL and XLIII) in three title game appearances.
It was a play in Super Bowl XLIII that most remember Harrison for, a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown.
In 2008, Harrison set the Steelers franchise record for most sacks in a single-season with 16.0 and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. His 64.0 sacks rank fourth-most in team history. Harrison was twice named the Steelers team MVP.
Family is what led Harrison to retire a Steeler and finish it off where it started. He was also able to get in one last hit before he left the podium.
“And I’d like to also thank Roger Goodell for being my biggest adversary,” he said. (Photo: Keith Srakocic/Associated Press)
-BALTIMORE RAVENS- DT Levi Brown CB Derek Cox CB Dominique Franks OT Parker Graham DT Derrick Hopkins CB Tramain Jacobs OG Ryan Jensen DT Jamie Meder TE Nathan Overbay DT A.J. Pataiali’i LB D.J. Roberts CB Sammy Seamster OG A.Q. Shipley LB John Simon C Reggie Stephens TE Phillip Supernaw RB Fitzgerald Toussaint QB Keith Wenning
-CINCINNATI BENGALS- OT Dan France WR Cobi Hamilton CB Victor Hampton DT David King WR Colin Lockett S Danieal Manning* DE Dontay Moch DE Sam Montgomery CB Onterio McCalebb C Trevor Robinson DT Devon Still* OT Will Svitek RB James Wilder RB Nikita Whitlock
-CLEVELAND BROWNS- DB Josh Aubrey DL Calvin Barnett WR Nate Burleson* LB Zac Diles* DL Jacobbi McDaniel CB Leon McFadden* OL Reid Fragel OL Garrett Gilkey TE/FB MarQueis Gray OL Donald Hawkins RB Dion Lewis RB Chris Ogbonnaya* TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi OL Alex Parsons OL Abasi Salimu QB Connor Shaw WR Willie Snead DL Justin Staples LB Jamaal Westerman
-PITTSBURGH STEELERS- TE Rob Blanchflower LB Chris Carter TE Bryce Davis DB Isaiah Green RB Josh Harris DL Ethan Hemer RB Stephen Houston QB Brendon Kay LB Howard Jones DL Josh Mauro LB Dan Molls WR Derek Moye DB Dayonne Nunley TE David Paulson DL Roy Philon OL Graham Pocic DB Shaquille Richardson WR Lanear Sampson OL Will Simmons DB Ross Ventrone OL Guy Whimper DL Nick Williams
JAMES HARRISON ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE NFL
Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison has decided to officially retire from the NFL. He made that announcement on his Facebook page.
Harrison met with the Cardinals last week and was scheduled to take a physical with the team on Friday.
"I have made a difficult decision to retire as of today," Harrison wrote. "My love for family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game."
Harrison was an undrafted free agent out of Kent State, but was signed by the Steelers in 2002. He spent two years on their practice squad, and was released three times during that span. He was signed by the Ravens in late 2003 and played in NFL Europe. Baltimore eventually released him and he returned to Pittsburgh prior to the 2004 season. He earned his first NFL start during the ‘04 season, but didn’t become a full-time starter until 2007.
Harrison won Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, and had what is considered one of best plays in Super Bowl history: a 100-yard pick-six against the Cardinals in February 2009.
Harrison was released by the Steelers after the 2013 season, and he signed with the Bengals. After a poor season in Cincinnati – where he only managed to produce two sacks in 15 games – the Bengals released him this offseason.
Harrison ends his 11-year career with 472 tackles, 66 sacks, six interceptions and 22 forced fumbles. (Photo: Getty Images)