Jamal Lewis rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns and Chester
Taylor added a career-high 76 yards on the ground to lead Baltimore
to a 30-13 victory Sunday.
Eager to atone for a season-opening 20-3 loss in Cleveland, the
defending AFC North champions dominated the team they consider
their biggest rival.
"Anytime you can bounce back from a game like we had last week
and win like this, it's huge," Ravens receiver Kevin Johnson said.
"We are going to get where we need to go."
The destination is the Super Bowl, a trek that would have been
more imposing if Baltimore (1-1) lost to Pittsburgh (1-1).
"They're probably our biggest and only rival at this point.
Always have been," cornerback Chris McAlister said. "It's good to
walk away with a victory."
Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox went 4-for-13 for 67 yards
before being forced out in the third quarter with an elbow injury.
He was replaced by first-round draft pick Ben Roethlisberger, who
threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Antwaan Randle El and
But those scores came after the Steelers had fallen into a 20-0
hole, and the rookie's second interception was returned 51 yards
for a touchdown by McAlister with 2:56 remaining.
"I'd say I got my feet wet, but I got my whole leg wet,"
Roethlisberger said. "It's tough, you come out and your first game
is against probably one of, if not the best, defense in the NFL."
Roethlisberger went 12-for-20 for 176 yards. His favorite target
was Ward, who finished with six catches for 151 yards.
"I'm not Tommy Maddox. Can't be Tommy Maddox," Roethlisberger
said. "I'm just going to do the best that I can."
Baltimore's Kyle Boller was just 10-for-18 for 98 yards, but he
did not commit a turnover and ran for 37 yards on five carries. He
directed a 90-yard drive after the opening kickoff to give the
Ravens a lead they would never surrender.
"They came out and set the tempo and we never responded,"
Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher said.
Baltimore went up 20-0 immediately after the play that forced
Maddox from the game. Maddox fumbled after being hit by Gary Baxter
and Terrell Suggs took the loose ball to the 1, setting up a TD run
by Lewis with 11:59 left in the third quarter.
Cowher expects Maddox to be sidelined at least for another week.
"Ben's our guy right now," he said. "He's got an opportunity
to play next week. He's going to make more throws and we're going
to make more plays."
Playing in his second game since ending a three-year retirement,
Baltimore defensive back Deion Sanders left late in the first half
with a hamstring injury and did not return. The injury apparently
occurred when he was covering Plaxico Burress on the final play
before the two-minute warning.
Sanders was a step behind Burress on the long pass, which fell
Sanders participated in eight plays, seven of them as a nickel
back. He returned a punt for 23 yards, but was penalized 15 yards
for removing his helmet on the field during an impromptu
"It wasn't me celebrating," Sanders insisted. "To be honest
with you, that head thing came down over my eyes the last 10 yards
... my instinct was to get this thing off of my eyes."
The Ravens also lost tight end Todd Heap to an ankle injury in
the first half. After he twisted his right ankle, Heap was knocked
over by Pittsburgh's Joey Porter on a play in which Boller spiked
the ball and did not return.
The Ravens got into the end zone for the first time this season
with an 11-play opening drive that included just one pass. Lewis
accounted for 36 yards rushing, including a 3-yard scoring run,
Taylor ran for 36 yards and Boller picked up 17 yards after being
flushed from the pocket on a second-and-19.
"To punch it in like that was huge," Ravens coach Brian
Baltimore made it 10-0 early in the second quarter. Late in the
half, Ravens rookie B.J. Sams returned a punt 36 yards to the
Pittsburgh 22, setting up a 27-yard field goal by Matt Stover for a
13-0 halftime lead.
The Falcons' six-man draft class addresses areas of need, but at pass rush the team has a lot of work to do.
Myles Jack saw time all over the field at UCLA, but the Jaguars plan to keep their second-round pick at linebacker until he's comfortable and healthy.
By adding a potential Pro Bowler in Laremy Tunsil along with several likely starters, the Dolphins are a better team already.
Charles Tapper initially wanted to be a basketball player, but the Dallas Cowboys' fourth-round pick realized that football was his ticket to success.
The Ravens had one of their strongest NFL drafts in years, but it wasn't perfect.
With their primary focus on improving the offensive line, the Colts knew they couldn't have it all.