Ravens flatten Steelers to advance in playoffs

Sun Jan 4, 2015 1:11am EST
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(Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens used an unrelenting pass rush to shut down the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers offense and advanced in the NFL playoffs with a 30-17 AFC wildcard victory on Saturday.

Joe Flacco passed for 259 yards and two second-half touchdowns with no interceptions to set up a clash with the top-seeded New England Patriots next Saturday in the divisional round.

"We've got a good football team and I think we're getting better every time we take the field," said Flacco, MVP of Baltimore's 2012 Super Bowl triumph, after the win in Pittsburgh.

Baltimore, who only made the playoffs after San Diego lost on the last day of the regular season, registered five sacks of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and hurried him into numerous mistakes.

It was the first playoff win for the Ravens over AFC North foes Pittsburgh after three losses.

"This is a very special victory for us, because of who it comes against -- our most respected rival," said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, joined on the sideline by brother Jim, who has left the 49ers to coach the University of Michigan.

"Five sacks against the number two offense in the league.

Our pass rush did a great job."

Despite the heavy pressure, two-time Super Bowl winner Roethlisberger brought the Steelers close early in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a fumble by Justin Forsett with a six-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant to make it 20-15.   Continued...

Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore (80) scores a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports