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Ravens lead Steelers 13-10 after 3 quarters

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Ravens lead Steelers 13-10 after 3 quarters

PITTSBURGH (AP) Jacoby Jones had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown and Justin Tucker made two of his three field-goal attempts to give the Baltimore Ravens a 13-10 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers after three quarters of their AFC North showdown Sunday night.

Jones had a touchdown return for the second consecutive week; he ran back a kickoff in a win over Oakland. Jones, who also had a kickoff return for a score against Dallas last month, has four career touchdowns on punt returns.

In addition to the special teams score, Baltimore's defense set up field goals by Tucker of 26 and 39 yards off of Pittsburgh turnovers. Mike Wallace fumbled in the first quarter and backup quarterback Byron Leftwich threw an interception in the third quarter.

Leftwich had a 31-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the game. Making his first NFL start in more than three years because of shoulder and rib injuries to Ben Roethlisberger, Leftwich was 11 for 24 for 153 yards at the end of the third quarter.

Not known for his scrambling ability, the 250-pound former first-round pick took the second official snap of the game and scrambled out of the pocket, turned the corner, got a block, split two defensive backs at the right sideline and made it to the end zone for his 10th career touchdown rushing and first since 2008.

The play was a career-best run for Leftwich and the longest touchdown run of the season for Pittsburgh.

The Steelers' Shaun Suisham kicked a 22-yard field goal during the final minute of the third quarter.

Tucker missed a 41-yard try less than a minute into the second quarter.

The Steelers (6-3) have Rashard Mendenhall in their lineup for the third time this season and he had seven carries for 25 yards at the end of the third quarter. Backup Isaac Redman was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Jonathan Dwyer has 42 rushing yards on 10 carries.

Both teams were struggling on third downs - Pittsburgh converted three of 12 opportunities through three quarters and the Ravens were 3 for 11.

The Steelers have won four consecutive times to pull to within a game of their rivals. The teams will play again in two weeks in Baltimore.

Joe Flacco was 18 for 29 for 153 yards and Ray Rice had 15 carries for 28 yards through three quarters for Baltimore (7-2).

Roethlisberger was knocked out of last Monday's overtime win over the Kansas City, allowing Leftwich to make his first start with the Steelers over four seasons. It is Leftwich's first NFL start since September 2009 with Tampa Bay. He hasn't won a game he started in more than six years.

The Steelers have lost to the Ravens each of the past four times they played them without Roethlisberger.

The Ravens are missing three defensive starters of their own: linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb.

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Bearded look back for Weddle, and will stay if Ravens keep winning

Bearded look back for Weddle, and will stay if Ravens keep winning

For Ravens safety Eric Weddle, the beard is back.

Weddle was sporting his signature full beard on the first day of training camp, much different than the closely-trimmed look he had in March after signing with the Ravens.

As soon as Weddle cut his beard last winter, he said he regretted it. Now he has recommitted to the beard he has worn most of his nine-year NFL career.

“It’s feeling good,” Weddle said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m just letting it grow. It’s a lot more full this time around, which is nice. I haven’t been wearing a chin strap for the last three months. It’s coming in even. We’ll see where it goes. I might be sporadic and just cut it or I might let it go.”

RELATED: DAY 1 TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS

The Ravens are more interested in how Weddle plays than how he looks. But since minicamps, the three-time Pro Bowl player has been making a strong impression as the new leader of the secondary.

“He looks good back there, he does,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “It does seem seamless, with an “A”. He looks like he knows what he is doing, like he has been playing for a long time, and he is a really smart football player. I would say he is as advertised that way, and it is good for us.”

Ravens fans should be hoping Weddle’s beard is even longer by December.

“If we’re winning, it’s going to there and be full,” Weddle said.

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Five observations from Day 1 of Ravens training camp

Five observations from Day 1 of Ravens training camp

OWINGS MILLS – Here are five observations from Day 1 of Ravens’ training camp:

1. Joe Flacco didn’t look like someone who had not practiced since November.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with Flacco’s arm. Early in drills, he effortlessly floated a long pass to rookie Chris Moore on a ball that traveled at least 55 yards in the air. Secondly, Flacco moved well wearing a brace on his surgically-repaired left knee, moving out of the pocket several times without any sign of favoring the injury. It remains to be seen if Flacco feels discomfort after several days of practice, and of course, he is not taking any hits. But this was a good first step.

“It felt really good to be out there,” Flacco said in quotes provided by the team. “I wasn’t as efficient as I’d like to be, but I felt comfortable. I just need to throw it a little better and complete some more passes.”

2. Veteran tight end Ben Watson didn’t have the greatest practice.

The usually sure-handed Watson dropped two passes early. Maybe Watson was nervous in his first practice with Flacco, or maybe he was adjusting to the pace of Flacco’s throws. But Watson will be looking to bounce back quickly, competing for playing time at tight end with Crockett Gillmore, Dennis Pitta, and Maxx Williams.

3. The starter at inside linebacker could be rookie Kamalei Correa.

While Correa is taking reps both outside and inside, the Ravens are searching for a starter at inside linebacker next to C.J. Mosley. If Correa wins the starting job, it means the Ravens’ top two picks, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and Correa, could be starters from Week 1.

4. Pitta looks like Pitta, running patterns and making catches.

Fans still love Pitta, and he received a huge ovation whenever he made a catch. Pitta’s attempt to come back from his second major hip injury is a feel-good story and people are rooting for him.  However, a major test for Pitta will come Saturday when the Ravens put on pads for the first time.

5. John Urschel could be the starter at left guard, but he is also taking reps at center.

Urschel is the favorite to replace Kelechi Osemele as the starting left guard. However, Urschel’s best position may be center. If anything happens to starting center Jeremy Zuttah, the Ravens could shift Urschel to center and play either Ryan Jensen or rookie Alex Lewis at left guard.

RELATED: STANLEY'S ROOKIE SHOW PERFORMANCE WAS ONE FOR THE AGES

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Ronnie Stanley sings 'Ignition Remix' in chicken suit for his teammates

Ronnie Stanley sings 'Ignition Remix' in chicken suit for his teammates

OWINGS MILLS - When the Ravens drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley, he never expected to sing in front of teammates wearing a chicken suit.

Welcome to the Ravens, and to the traditional rookie talent contest. Stanley led off this year’s draft class as the first-round pick, and apparently, he was a hit. The chicken suit was courtesy of wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., who purchased it for Stanley.

Where exactly do you find a chicken suit that fits somebody 6-foot-6, 320 pounds? But Smith found one. If you are a smart rookie, you don’t say no to Steve Smith. That left Stanley with no choice but to perform wearing the suit.

Stanley chose the R. Kelly song “Ignition Remix” for his selection.

“I knew it was crowd pleaser,” Stanley said after Thursday’s practice. “I know every word to the song. That was the song I picked, so I was practicing all throughout this break that we had.”

Under the circumstances, Stanley felt he did well.

 “I actually didn’t know about the chicken suit until yesterday,” Stanley said. “I did what I had to do. I knew since I was going first, I had to set the tone. That was the first time I sang in a chicken suit.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was impressed.

“He did a great job and we had fun,” Harbaugh said. “It’s nice when your first-round pick, kind of the leader of the rookie class, is able to step up and make a statement about that. I can fit in, so to speak.”

No word on if Stanley plans to go on tour after the season.

RELATED: A FEW RAVENS RUNNING BACKS ARE DINGED UP