PITTSBURGH (AP) – A lot of scenarios ran through Terrell Suggs’ head when the Baltimore linebacker prepared to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Having Ben Roethlisberger throw six touchdown passes was not among them. The Pittsburgh quarterback put up half-a-dozen scores the week before against Indianapolis. No way he was going to do it again, right? That never happens.
Never, at least, until now.
Roethlisberger set an NFL record for touchdown passes in consecutive games, hanging six more on the Ravens in a testy but surprisingly easy 43-23 victory Sunday night.
Roethlisberger broke the record for touchdown passes in consecutive games of 11 set by Tom Flores for Oakland in the AFL in 1963 and matched by New England’s Tom Brady in 2007.
“You could have never sold me that during the week, even though he did it last week,” Suggs said. “But he had a hell of a game, and that’s a reflection on us all. You have to stop him in some certain situations.”
Baltimore (5-4) didn’t really come close.
Bolstered by a pregame pep talk from Hall of Fame defensive lineman Joe Greene, whose No. 75 was retired at halftime, and a throwback performance from 36-year-old linebacker James Harrison, the Steelers (6-3) ended a pivotal three-game homestand with arguably their most complete victory of a suddenly promising season.
Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a score. Rookie Martavis Bryant hauled in two scoring receptions and has five touchdowns in three games after spending the first six weeks of the season on the inactive list.
“Everybody has to wait for their opportunity,” Bryant said. “It’s just when the opportunity presents itself whether you take advantage of it or not.”
Joe Flacco passed for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but was sacked four times as the Ravens were undone by a sloppy second quarter. A fumble by Lorenzo Taliaferro and an ill-advised throw by Flacco helped start a 22-point Pittsburgh run to end the first half.
“We set them up with two scoring situations,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “When you put guys in that part of the field, they are going to have a chance to make some big plays.”
Roethlisberger’s numbers weren’t the only thing eye-popping as Pittsburgh topped 30 points for a third straight game for only the fourth time in franchise history. Some other takeaways in a rare blowout in a series where dramatic finishes are the norm:
PEP TALK: The Steelers received a welcome pregame boost from Greene.
“He talked about Steeler football, coming in and whipping somebody’s butt,” Pittsburgh cornerback Brice McCain said.
ROUGHING IT: The teams combined for 17 penalties for 175 yards, including a handful of personal fouls. Suggs drew a flag for diving at Pittsburgh running back LeGarrette Blount’s knees in the second quarter, with teammate Elvis Dumervil getting his own personal fouls minutes later for slapping Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell.
“I think it was traditional Ravens-Steelers,” Suggs said. “Sometimes, you just play football, but sometimes things get a little excessive.”
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Yes, that really was Harrison sacking Flacco twice and spending most of the game in the Baltimore backfield. Heady territory for a guy that was retired two months ago. Harrison now has four sacks in his last two games, or more than he had all of last season while playing in Cincinnati.
“I am old and slow,” Harrison said. “I got God doing most of the work.”
LONG ROAD: The Ravens find themselves in last place in the AFC North with two losses to first-place Cincinnati and one to the Steelers.
“We don’t control our own destiny now, so we have to go out there and get a win the next time out,” Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “We need one and have to get it.”
OUCH: The Steelers lost safety Troy Polamalu with a sprained left knee in the second quarter. Polamalu hobbled off the field quickly and returned for one play before heading to the locker room. Pittsburgh rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier left in the second quarter with a right ankle injury.
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