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Steelers Highs & lows

September 12, 2011
By Buck Frank ( , The Altoona Mirror

BALTIMORE - The following are the highlights and lowlights from the Steelers' 35-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 season opener on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium:

Play of the game: Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata hit Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, jarring the ball loose, and recovered the fumble on the first offensive play of the second half. The Ravens scored on the next play to take a 29-7 advantage.

Offensive player of the game: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco played a flawless game, completing 17-of-29 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

Article Photos

Mirror photos by J.D. Cavrich
Baltimore running back Ray Rice escapes would-be tackler Ryan Clark.

Defensive player of the game: In addition to the forced fumble and recovery, Ngata tipped a pass that was intercepted by teammate Ray Lewis and also recovered another fumble.

Most telling statistic: The Steelers had seven turnovers to the Ravens' none.

Hidden statistic: The 35 points were the most the Ravens have ever scored in a game against the Steelers.

Best pass: Flacco placed the ball perfectly over Steelers cornerback Bryant McFadden for a 27-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin in the first quarter.

Worst pass: The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger had Heath Miller open in the end zone in the third quarter but didn't put much zip on the ball, and it was intercepted by Ed Reed.

Best run: Baltimore's Ray Rice ignited the Ravens' offense with a 36-yard burst on the first offensive play of the game.

Best catch: On the touchdown reception, Boldin didn't allow McFadden to disrupt his concentration.

Dropped pass: Steelers receiver Antonio Brown failed to snag a third-and-11 pass near the sideline in the second quarter when the score was 14-7.

Best block: Baltimore offensive tackle Jah Reid cleared a huge hole for holder Sam Koch to run through for a two-point conversion in the third quarter.

Missed block: No Steelers offensive lineman put a hand on linebacker Terrell Suggs on a first-quarter sack in which Suggs forced Roethlisberger to fumble.

Best tackle: One of the few highlights for the Steelers was James Harrison stopping Rice on a fourth-and-1 carry at the Steelers' 6-yard line in the third quarter.

Best hit: Ngata leveled Pittsburgh offensive tackle Jonathan Scott after his tip of Roethlisberger's pass was intercepted by Lewis.

Best coverage: Baltimore young cornerback Cary Williams knocked away a pass to the Steelers' Mike Wallace on third down on the Steelers' first possession of the game.

Worst coverage: Rice found a wide-open area in the Steelers' defense in the second quarter and picked up 25 yards on a reception to the Pittsburgh 15-yard line.

Best kick: Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda booted a 57-yarder with a lot of hang time in the second quarter.

Best return: Brown took a kickoff back from 9 yards into the end zone out to the 32 for a 41-yard pickup in the first quarter.

Best decision: The Ravens utilized their tight ends in the passing game to open up the field.

Worst decision: The Steelers' entire game plan.

Best effort: Rice is the only player to rush for at least 100 yards against the Steelers in the last 51 games, and he's now done it twice. He had 107 yards rushing and 42 receiving.

Unsung heroes: Baltimore tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta combined for more than 100 yards receiving and a score.

Replays: An official review took back a Rice touchdown in the first quarter and placed the ball on the 1-yard line. He then scored a few plays later. In the fourth quarter, Ravens coach John Harbaugh successfully had a call that the Steelers' Mewelde Moore was down by contact changed to a fumble and recovery by the Ravens.

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