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Ravens Insider: Instant analysis from Ravens’ 17-10 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers in regular-season finale


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Here’s what The Baltimore Sun sports staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 17-10 loss to the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers in Saturday’s Week 18 game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Childs Walker: The Ravens will quickly put this loss, which cost them nothing, in the rearview. They prudently rested many key players and seemingly escaped without a catastrophic injury, though safety Geno Stone did limp off with a knee injury in the second half. Now, it’s on to the real business. After a thundering early touchdown drive by the Steelers, the Ravens’ defense, going without its two best players in Kyle Hamilton and Roquan Smith, answered with a proud performance. The dam did not break until Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson got behind a debilitated secondary for a 71-yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. The Ravens’ offense, with Tyler Huntley starting in place of Lamar Jackson, struggled to hold up its end in the swirling wind and drenching rain. Isaiah Likely continues to impress; the second-year tight end caught a rain-slicked ball in traffic and powered through two tacklers for his fifth touchdown in the past five games.

Mike Preston: The Ravens got beat by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but what did you expect? The Ravens didn’t play quarterback Lamar Jackson, middle linebacker Roquan Smith and safety Kyle Hamilton, among others. The Steelers were also in the playoff hunt while the Ravens sealed the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage last week in a big win over the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens played hard and were in the game most of the time, but Pittsburgh had a stronger running game, more intensity and a sense of urgency. Regardless of the outcome, Pittsburgh won’t go far in the postseason and the Ravens have a good chance of playing in the Super Bowl. The Steelers have a lot of porblems and a quarterback in Mason Rudolph who has no presence. The Ravens played the entire season to earn the right to rest players and get a bye at the end of the season, and it turned out that way. It was nothing gained, nothing lost for the Ravens.

Hayes Gardner: It was wet, it was sloppy and, at least for the Ravens, it was meaningless. Despite a loss to their biggest rival — in an unappetizing game featuring 13 punts and eight total fumbles — the AFC North champions left M&T Bank Stadium the same way they entered it: as the No. 1 seed in the conference.

C.J. Doon: You have to take this result with a huge grain of salt considering the driving rain and how many key players the Ravens rested, but it’s at least a little concerning, right? Not having the presumptive NFL Most Valuable Player at quarterback would hurt any offense, but the Ravens could only muster 3.9 yards per play. The defense once again struggled against the run and gave up a 71-yard touchdown pass when starting safety Marcus Williams made a poor break on the ball over the middle (after he dropped an easy interception in the first quarter). Running back Gus Edwards, who is supposed to be the Ravens’ closer, fumbled in the fourth quarter and gave the Steelers the chance to salt the game away. Linebacker Patrick Queen and running back Justice Hill might have been banged up, and safety Geno Stone exited with a knee injury. If you’re looking for bright spots, rookie Trenton Simpson looks like a worthy successor to Queen, who probably priced himself out of Baltimore with a Pro Bowl season. There’s no reason to panic, but for fans out there looking to see a well-oiled machine heading into the postseason, Saturday was a disappointment. In two weeks, we’ll see if the Ravens are better prepared to defend home field than they were 2019.

Tim Schwartz: Can I just say … who cares? This game was meaningless from Baltimore’s perspective and should have been. Risking injury to beat the Steelers wouldn’t have been a good idea, and it wasn’t as if this game decided Pittsburgh’s fate anyway. The only thing that mattered in this one was avoiding any serious injuries, and assuming linebacker Patrick Queen is OK, mission accomplished. Time to focus on the divisional round and chasing a ring.

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