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3 things we learned about the Ravens

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PITTSBURGH — Justin Tucker stood at the podium, faced the media and cracked a joke while cradling the game ball under his right arm.

“You probably don’t want to hear some kicker stand up here and give a detailed explanation about a kick,” the Baltimore Ravens kicker said Thursday night. “I’m sure you’d rather hear about guys throwing touchdowns passes or catches.”

Not on this night. The pinpoint kicking of Turner and the scattershot performance of his Pittsburgh Steelers counterpart, Josh Scobee, made a big difference.

Tucker’s third field goal of the game, a 52-yarder with 5:08 remaining in overtime, gave the Ravens their first win of the season, 23-20 over the Steelers.

The Ravens drove 32 yards in eight plays for the field goal. The winning march came after the Steelers drove to the Baltimore 33-yard line on their second possession of overtime but eschewed a game-winning field goal attempt by Scobee on fourth-and-1. Scobee missed two field-goal tries in the last 2:24 of the fourth quarter from 49 and 41 yards.

Quarterback Michael Vick threw incomplete to give the ball back to the Ravens (1-3), who erased a 13-point, second-half deficit and avoided the first 0-4 start in franchise history.

“In this league, most games come down to three points,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We have a great kicker.”

Scobee, acquired in a trade just before the start of the season after spending the first 11 years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, said he felt awful about his performance.

“I feel like I let the team down, and it’s not something that I ever want to remember doing,” Scobee said. “It’s a bad feeling. It was a hard-fought game on both sides. I wish I had been able to come through, but it just wasn’t my night.”

Ravens running back Justin Forsett rushed for 150 yards on 27 carries. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 20 of 33 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

What we learned about the Ravens:

1. Justin Forsett may not be on the downslope after all. The running back rushed for 150 yards on 27 attempts, an average of 5.6 yards a carry, after averaging just 3.2 yards an attempt in the first three games while totaling 124 yards on 39 carries. Though Forsett ran for a career-high 1,266 yards last season, it was easy to wonder if he was beginning to fade with his 30th birthday approaching Oct. 14.

2. Jimmy Smith might be worth the four-year, $40 million contract Baltimore gave him just before the start of the season. The Ravens feel Smith could turn into a lockdown cornerback, and perhaps Thursday was the night it happened. Smith helped limit Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to five catches and 42 yards, ending his NFL record streaks of 35 consecutive games with at least five receptions and 50 yards and 14 straight games with at least seven catches. Of course, the Ravens were facing backup quarterback Michael Vick rather than injured regular Ben Roethlisberger.

3. Kamar Aiken gained the trust of quarterback Joe Flacco. The wide receiver caught five passes for 77 yards — both team highs — and hauled in a 15-yard touchdown. Last week in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Aiken was targeted only once and did not catch a pass. He had six receptions for 88 yards this season prior to Thursday.

Etc.

–WR Steve Smith Sr. left Thursday night’s 23-20 overtime victory at Pittsburgh in the third quarter with a lower back contusion and did not return. He was limited to four catches and 24 yards after having a combined 23 receptions for 336 in the previous two games, amassing at least 150 yards in each game. He also had five receptions for 101 yards last season when the Ravens won at Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

–WR Kamar Aiken had a solid game in WR Steve Smith Sr.’s stead, catching five passes for a game-high 77 yards. Aiken did not a catch a pass last Sunday in a loss to Cincinnati and was targeted only once in that game.

–QB Joe Flacco didn’t have his best game but still raised his career record against the Steelers to 7-3. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown with one interception. In the previous two games, Flacco threw for a combined 746 yards and four scores, though the Ravens lost both times.

–RB Justin Forsett easily enjoyed his best game of the season as he rushed for 150 yards on 27 carries. The eight-year veteran ran for a career-high 1,266 yards last season but was limited to 124 yards on 39 carries in the first three games this season.

–LB Daryl Smith led the Baltimore defense with nine solo tackles, four assists and one sack. He had 11 solos and no sacks in the first three games this season.


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