Ravens lead Steelers 3-0 after 1st quarter
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Billy Cundiff hit an 18-yard field goal after Baltimore couldn't get into the end zone on three plays from the 1-yard line, and the Ravens held a 3-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a key AFC North game Sunday night.
Baltimore took the opening kickoff and held the ball for 14 plays and 6:50, getting a first-and-goal at the 1 after a pass interference call on William Gay in the end zone.
But Ryan Clark nearly intercepted Joe Flacco's pass on the ensuing play, and Ray Rice was stuffed running up the middle on the next two plays.
Rice had taken the first play from scrimmage 76 yards into the end zone, but the play was called back for a holding penalty on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Flacco was 6 for 10 for 88 yards, and Rice had 20 yards rushing on eight carries for Baltimore, which converted five of its first six third-down conversions.
The Ravens drove to the Pittsburgh 22 late in the first quarter, but Cundiff missed a 40-yard field goal wide left.
Pittsburgh went three-and-out on its first possession against the Ravens' defense, ranked No. 1 in the NFL — just ahead of the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger was 2 for 3 for 47 for the Steelers, who had run six offensive plays.
The Steelers have won four consecutive games and are 6-1 since a 35-7 blowout loss at Baltimore in the season opener.
Before that game, Pittsburgh had beaten its division rival six of the previous eight meetings — including in playoff games following the 2008 and '10 seasons. That includes five of the past six played at Heinz Field, although the Ravens did win here in the regular season last year.
The previous meeting was the Ravens' most lopsided victory in the 15-year series between the teams. In that game, Baltimore sacked Roethlisberger four times and forced seven turnovers.
Pittsburgh, though, has just two turnovers during its four-game winning streak.
Flacco had three touchdown passes in the September meeting against the Steelers, but has only five since.
Pittsburgh welcomed back former All-Pro linebacker James Harrison, who had missed the past four games since sustaining a broken orbital bone in a loss at Houston. But former Pro Bowl linebackers James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley are not active for the Steelers due to injury.
Also inactive for the Steelers were nose tackle Chris Hoke and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, but veteran receiver Hines Ward returned after missing last week's 25-17 win over New England due to an ankle injury.
The winner of the game will be tied for first place with Cincinnati (6-2).
This is the fifth consecutive season these two teams have played a prime-time game.