By Mike Ashcraft
The Steelers (2-1) look to shake off a setback at Chicago as they travel to Baltimore (2-1) to battle archrival Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday (Oct. 1) in a critical early season showdown in the AFC North. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. The contest will be televised by CBS Sports, with Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Evan Washburn on the call. The game will also be broadcast on 102.5 WDVE-FM and the Steelers Radio Network, with Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley calling the action.
There is no bigger rivalry in the AFC North — and maybe even the entire NFL. Pittsburgh holds a slim 22-20 lead in the all-time series with the Ravens, which dates back to 1996 when the original Cleveland Browns franchise relocated to Baltimore. Pittsburgh is just 9-12 against the Ravens in Baltimore, with the last trip to Charm City resulting in a 21-14 setback on Nov. 6, 2016.
The rivalry reached another level on Dec. 25, 2016. A Christmas Day matchup at Heinz Field that decided the AFC North Division title. With Baltimore holding a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers scored two quick touchdowns to take a 24-20 lead. Running back Le’Veon Bell scored on a seven-yard run, then quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Bell on a seven-yard touchdown pass. The Ravens answered back and took a 27-24 lead with 1:18 left when fullback Kyle Juszczyk scored on a 10-yard run. Roethlisberger then engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a dramatic four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown, with Brown stretching the ball across the goal line for the victory and the division crown.
NOTABLE FRANCHISE CONNECTION
Baltimore wide receiver Mike Wallace was drafted by Pittsburgh with the 84th overall pick in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Wallace spent his first four years in the NFL with the Steelers, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2009. He then departed via free agency, playing two years for the Miami Dolphins and another with the Minnesota Vikings before signing with Baltimore last year. In his first game against the Steelers as a Raven, Wallace scored on a 95-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to help Baltimore beats Pittsburgh in week 9. In the Christmas Day rematch in Pittsburgh, though, the Steelers held Wallace to just four catches for 21 yards.
Passing Yards — Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger, 340, 11/2/2014; Ravens: Jeff Blake, 336, 12/29/2002
Rushing Yards — Steelers: Jerome Bettis, 137, 10/5/1997; Ravens: Justin Forsett, 150, 10/1/2015
Receiving Yards — Steelers: Plaxico Burress, 164, 12/16/2001; Ravens: Quadry Ismail, 258, 12/12/1999