Makeshift O-line pushes around Ravens

Makeshift O-line pushes around Ravens
December 3, 2012, 7:00 pm
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The pass rush that generated six sacks a week ago went on hiatus vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Third-string quarterback Charlie Batch was sacked twice, though one by Paul Kruger was a coverage sack because Batch had plenty of time but nowhere to go with the ball.

In his 15th season and filling in for Byron Leftwich (ribs), who’d replaced Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder/ribs), Batch punished the Ravens because they weren't able to rattle him the way they did Philip Rivers in a 16-13 win last week at the San Diego Chargers.

Batch completed 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards, his best game since 2001 when he played for the Detroit Lions.  

Batch was able to extend plays with his legs until receivers came open, and the Steelers used a plethora of screen passes to take advantage of an aggressive front that found little success after showing signs of getting better.

In a 13-10 win in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, Baltimore sacked Leftwich three times and only allowed him to complete half of his 38 pass attempts and a 51.1 rating. When pressure was needed in the fourth quarter as Leftwich tried to lead his team back, he was under constant pressure and ended up with cracked ribs.

The Steelers went into the game with a disadvantage, or so it seemed, along its offensive line. Rookie right tackle Kelvin Beachum was making his first start. Drafted as a center, he was the third different player they started at that position in the last eight games because of injuries to Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert.

Maurkice Pouncey was moved from center, where he has been an All-Pro, to left guard. Doug Legursky took over at center.

“They just did a great job of blocking us up front. Sometimes they had max protection, and sometimes they didn’t,” Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata said. “We just didn’t do a great job of converting. I think we were playing a little bit more (to defend) the run game and they did a great job of mixing it up.”

Tackle Terrence Cody didn’t see his team getting off the ball well. They lost the battle at the line of scrimmage on the snap.

“They were picking up blitzes and all that stuff. At the end of the day we got to execute more. We got to wrap up and get the guys down,” Cody said. “We had to get off blocks and rush the passer. We weren’t doing that every play.”