Ravens - Steelers: 5 reasons for the outcome

1. In a dominating 20-7 win Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers ran roughshod over the Baltimore Ravens to manufacture their 13th consecutive win of the season and cripple the visitors' playoff hopes. Jerome Bettis rushed for 117 yards on 27 carries, joining Priest Holmes, Curtis Martin and Corey Dillon as the only runners to surpass the century mark against the Ravens' defense this season.

In a 14-play, 71-yard drive to open the second half, Pittsburgh ran the football 12 times in a row all the way down to the Baltimore

2. Rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger then lofted a play-action pass to tight end Jerame Tuman for a 17-7 advantage. This will-killing drive took 8:34 off the clock and essentially demoralized the Ravens for the remainder of the contest. The Ravens allowed 183 rushing yards on 42 carries, an average of 4.4 per carry.

Inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Ed Hartwell led Baltimore with 13 and 12 tackles, respectively, but much of their output was achieved way too far downfield as fullback Dan Krieder, center Jeff Hartings and offensive guard Alan Faneca consistently reached the second level to wall off their path to run to the football. It was a thorough, bone-shaking whipping. Needing to win to keep alive their prospects for the sixth playoff spot, Baltimore collapsed and lost its fourth game in its last five.

2. Baltimore continually tried to work the perimeter of the Steelers' defense with powerhouse runner Jamal Lewis rather than run directly inside at inside linebackers James Farrior and Larry Foote. Lewis was limited to a disappointing 26 yards on 14 carries, an average of 1.9 per attempt. Afterward, Lewis said he felt as if the inside linebackers and interior linemen had been given a day off rather than following the smash-mouth, direct approach that the Steelers offense used to such great effect.

This was a rough year for Lewis, who rushed for a league-high 2,066 yards last season and has gained only 839 with one remaining game on the schedule. He missed two games due to a sprained ankle and another two for a suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy.

3. Roethlisberger was never sacked or hurried really, although he eventually left the game with a rib injury on a Terrell Suggs hit that drew a roughing the passer penalty. Other than the soreness, not much went wrong for the leading candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 221 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 125.1 passer rating. The first-round draft pick from Miami (Ohio) also capitalized on the separation Plaxico Burress created behind cornerback Gary Baxter for a 36-yard touchdown toss on the Steelers' first drive.

Burress finished with three catches for 97 yards. The Ravens were hardly his kryptonite, much the opposite, in fact. Suggs' bravado didn't work.

4. Quarterback Kyle Boller was never sacked, but was usually under duress. He also stared down his primary read, throwing one interception to linebacker Joey Porter. He could have had a few more if the Steelers had better hands. He completed 18 of 32 passes for 177 yards, no scores and a 59.0 quarterback rating.

5. Veteran kicker Matt Stover had a rare miss, his third of the season in the third quarter. His 44-yard attempt sailed wide right with Baltimore attempting to cut a 17-7 Pittsburgh lead down to one touchdown.

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