Baltimore – The Pittsburgh Steelers roared from behind to remain the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, outlasting their scorned rivals to escape with a feel-good victory that solidified their grip on first place in the AFC North.
What better way to spend a rainy day in Baltimore?
Ben Roethlisberger threw two second-half touchdowns, and the Steelers beat error-prone Lamar Jackson and the Ravens 28-24 Sunday to match the best start in franchise history.
Pittsburgh (7-0) trailed by 10 points at halftime before rallying behind Roethlisberger, a crafty 38-year-old who missed most of last year with an elbow injury. After completing only four passes for 24 yards in the first half, Big Ben finished 21-for-32 for 182 yards.
He was much more happy with the result than his numbers.
"Nothing about this game was pretty from an offensive perspective until the end and we looked at the scoreboard," Roethlisberger said.
Jackson threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles, miscues that helped Pittsburgh stay within striking distance until its offense finally got on track.
"The turnovers, I feel, is the reason we lost the game," Jackson said. "I put that on me.”
Beyond losing ground in the division, Baltimore lost All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the season with a severe ankle injury. The mishap occurred in the first quarter after he was accidentally undercut by Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt.
"That's a tough loss," coach John Harbaugh said. "I feel bad for Ronnie."
The Steelers led 28-24 when the Ravens (5-2) faced a fourth-and-3 at the Pittsburgh 8 with 2 minutes left. Jackson ran a quarterback draw and lost the ball while being stopped short.
Baltimore got the ball back and moved to the Pittsburgh 23 before Jackson's pass in the end zone was broken up on the final play.
The only other time the Steelers started 7-0, in 1978, they went on to win their third Super Bowl in five years.
They aren't talking about a championship yet, but the players feel pretty good about where they stand at this point.
"We’re happy to win," Watt said. "We don’t care if it’s good, bad or ugly, as long as it’s a win right now."
The Steelers took full advantage of Jackson's mistakes. Robert Spillane took an interception back 33 yards for a score to end Baltimore's first possession; Jackson lost a fumble inside the Pittsburgh 5; and Alex Highsmith set up a Steelers touchdown by picking off a pass on Baltimore's initial offensive play of the second half.
Jackson went 13-for-28 for 208 yards and two interceptions, the most he's had in a regular-season game since throwing three against Pittsburgh in October 2019.
After Highsmith's pick, Roethlisberger threw an 18-yard TD pass to Eric Ebron. The Steelers then went ahead 21-17 on a 1-yard touchdown run by James Conner.
Baltimore had scored in every quarter this season before being blanked in the third period.
The Ravens regained the lead with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown with 11:52 to go, but Roethlisberger answered with an 80-yard drive capped by an 8-yard TD pass to rookie Chase Claypool.
"That’s the Ben Roethlisberger I came here for,” said Ebron, who left the Colts to come to Pittsburgh.
The game carried the intensity expected when longtime division rivals clash in a showdown for first place. There were hard hits, late hits and head butts, the latter occurring when Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters popped Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson during a confrontation away from the play.
That brought players from both teams near the Baltimore sideline. Late in that fray, Ravens linebacker Matthew Judon was ejected for making contact with an official. It appeared as if the slap to the arm occurred while Judon was trying to break free from the grasp of an assistant coach.
"I would never intentionally make contact with an official," Judon said.
A heavy rain let up just before the opening kickoff, but the combination of a wet field and two strong defenses resulted in a first quarter with three turnovers — two by Jackson.
Bills 24, Patriots 21
In Orchard Park, New York, backup defensive lineman Justin Zimmer punched the ball out of Cam Newton’s arms and the fumble was recovered by safety Dean Marlowe at the Buffalo 13 with 31 seconds remaining to secure the win.
Zack Moss scored two touchdowns rushing and the AFC East-leading Bills are off to consecutive 6-2 starts for the first time since a six-year run from 1988 to 1993. Buffalo snapped a seven-game skid against the division-rival Patriots, and beat a Bill Belichick-coached New England team for just the sixth time in 41 meetings, going back to 2000.
Dolphins 28, Rams 17
In Miami Gardens, Florida, Tua Tagovailoa threw his first career touchdown pass and then let his teammates take over with a succession of big plays.
The Dolphins stamped themselves as playoff contenders by earning their third consecutive win. They struck for scores 75 seconds apart on Andrew Van Ginkel’s 78-yard fumble return and Jakeem Grant’s team-record 88-yard punt return. They came up with four takeaways in the first half and at halftime led 28-10 despite being outgained 224-54.
The big plays helped Tagovailoa overcome a costly early turnover in his first NFL start. The No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft finished 12 of 22 for 93 yards.
Saints 26, Bears 23 (OT)
In Chicago, Drew Brees threw for two touchdowns to regain the NFL’s all-time lead from Tom Brady, and Wil Lutz nailed a 35-yard field goal in overtime.
The Bears’ Cairo Santos booted a 51-yard field goal at the end of regulation to force the extra period.
Seahawks 37, 49ers 27
In Seattle, Russell Wilson threw four more touchdown passes, two to DK Metcalf. Wilson and Metcalf tormented San Francisco and its banged-up secondary as the top-scoring offense in the league continued to pile up points. The Seahawks (6-1) have scored at least 30 points in six of seven games.
Wilson hit Metcalf on a pair of first-half touchdown passes, but it was a 2½-minute sequence midway through the third quarter when Seattle blew the game open.
Wilson found rookie DeeJay Dallas on a 2-yard TD pass after San Francisco went three-and-out to open the second half for a 20-7 lead. Dante Pettis fumbled the ensuing kickoff on a big hit from Cody Barton. Six plays later, Wilson evaded pressure in the pocket and zipped a 6-yard TD pass to David Moore for a 27-7 lead.
Broncos 31, Chargers 30
In Denver, Drew Lock hit rookie KJ Hamler from 1 yard with no time on the clock and Brandon McManus nailed the extra point to win it. The Broncos (3-4) overcame a 24-3 deficit and rallied after being held to 60 first-half yards, including 2 on the ground.
The Chargers (2-5) appeared primed to end their seven-game AFC West losing streak behind another great performance by rookie Justin Herbert, who joined Deshaun Watson as the only QBs in NFL history with four straight games with three TD passes. But the Chargers became the first team to lose three games they led by 17 or more points in the same season since the Atlanta Falcons did it in 2003.
Vikings 28, Packers 22
Raiders 16, Browns 6
Bengals 31, Titans 20
Chiefs 35, Jets 9
Colts 41, Lions 21
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