Ravens - Steelers: 5 reasons for the win

1. Between establishing a physical tempo on the ground during a sterling opening drive and an aggressive defensive approach, the Baltimore Ravens manufactured a 30-13 victory Sunday that erased quite a few question marks about the defending AFC North champions.

It was the Ravens' sixth win in 17 games against Pittsburgh. Seven Jamal Lewis runs on a 90-yard drive he capped with a 3-yard score gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead. Three turnovers, including two interceptions of rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after starter Tommy Maddox was knocked out of the game by a fierce Baltimore pass rush, led to 14 points.

Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister returned a Roethlisberger interception 51 yards for a touchdown. While Lewis and Chester Taylor combined for 138 yards and two touchdowns, the defense sacked Pittsburgh quarterbacks four times and them to a combined 68.1 passer rating. Maddox dropped to 3-2 all-time against the Ravens leaving with a 4-for-13, 67-yard performance and an injured elbow.

2. Second-year quarterback Kyle Boller threw no interceptions, playing one of his cleanest football games ever. While he only passed for 98 yards with no touchdowns, he was efficient and didn't fumble.

He made a few solid throws and had a flea-flicker touchdown pass to Randy Hymes called back due to Kevin Johnson's penalty. He also rushed for 34 yards on eight carries and was only sacked twice. He lived up to the Trent Dilfer standard: don't lose the game.

3. The Ravens' run defense was stout, holding the Steelers to 93 yards on 25 carries with no scores. Inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Ed Hartwell combined for 14 tackles as replacement nose guard Maake Kemoeatu held up against the Pittsburgh trap play.

4. Outside linebackers Adalius Thomas and Terrell Suggs made a definite impact. Suggs had a sack and returned a fumble forced by cornerback Gary Baxter 24 yards to the Steelers' 1-yard line to set up a Lewis score and a 20-0 advantage. Thomas had an interception and three pass deflections.

5. The Ravens' average field position for 13 drives was their own 38. They overcame six unsportsmanlike penalties, including two for Deion Sanders and Ed Reed taking off their helmets, for a total of 10 penalties for 123 yards.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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