PITTSBURGH — Terrell Suggs didn’t want to hear about how the Baltimore Ravens were still right in the thick of the AFC North race or about how they still had nine games remaining and a bye week to make corrections.
After watching the defense he leads let Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger drive down the field in the final two minutes and set up Shaun Suisham’s 42-yard field goal as time expired, Suggs wasn’t in the mood to mince words.
He used the words “sick” and “disgusting” to describe Sunday’s 19-16 loss the Steelers before an announced 62,295 at Heinz Field, and he acknowledged he’s very concerned with what has become of the Ravens’ season.
“We know what we have to fix — special teams, offensively, defensively,” Suggs said. “We have a state of emergency now. We can’t let [any] more of these games go by. We have to have these games.”
The Ravens trudged out of Heinz Field and into the bye week at 3-4, the latest they have had a losing record in Coach John Harbaugh’s six-season tenure. It also represents the first time a defending Super Bowl champion has had a losing record through seven games since the 2006 Steelers.
Their third loss in four games dropped the Ravens two games behind Cincinnati in the AFC North and only one game ahead of last-place Pittsburgh (2-4).
“I still have a lot of confidence,” Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco said. “It’s going to be a dogfight just like it always is in this division. . . . We still have a lot of games to go.”
After struggling to finish off drives all day, Flacco finally got his team in the end zone, hitting tight end Dallas Clark for a one-yard touchdown that tied the game at 16 with 1 minute 58 seconds to play. The scoring drive took 16 plays and covered 83 yards in just more than eight minutes, but it didn’t keep Roethlisberger off the field long enough.
The trouble started when place kicker Justin Tucker was unable to get a touchback despite kicking off from the 40 because of a Steelers penalty. Emmanuel Sanders scooped up a bouncing ball, benefited from the Ravens losing containment on the outside and stepped out at the Pittsburgh 37, giving the Steelers great field position with 1:45 on the clock.
An illegal contact penalty on Lardarius Webb and two Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown completions — one for 13 yards and the other for 11 — set up Suisham for the game winner. He drilled it, improving to 4 for 4 for the game and 14 for 14 on the season.
“That was exciting,” said Roethlisberger, who finished 17 for 23 for 160 yards and a touchdown on a three-yard shovel pass to tight end Heath Miller that started the scoring. “To get the ball tied with two timeouts, you just have confidence. I told the line and I told the guys, ‘Let’s go win it,’ and we did.”
Baltimore did just enough to lose, falling in similar fashion as in its previous defeat, a 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers. In that game, the Ravens fell behind early, didn’t get going offensively until they were significantly behind and then couldn’t get a late defensive stop.
“Every time I line up, I expect to win,” Suggs said. “There’s no doubt about it. Like I said, they just made one more play on us. This is sick. This is disgusting.
“It’s time for all of us to take a good look at ourselves.”
When they do, the Ravens — who next play Cleveland on Nov. 3 — will see some common themes. They are committing too many penalties as they added nine more for 67 yards to their résumé. Strong-side linebacker Elvis Dumervil was flagged for two 15-yard penalties on one possession, prolonging the Steelers’ drive long enough for Suisham to kick a 28-yard field goal that gave the home team a 13-6 lead late in the third quarter.
For the third time in the past four games, Baltimore struggled to stop the run, allowing the Steelers to gain 141 rushing yards on 29 carries. Rookie Le’Veon Bell had 93 of those yards and consistently allowed the Steelers to keep possession.
Despite making some adjustments this week with the blocking schemes, the Ravens still didn’t gain much traction with their running game, rushing for 82 yards on 26 carries. Ray Rice showed nice burst at times, but he finished with just 45 yards on 15 carries and four catches for 27 yards.