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Steelers romp Ravens on strength of Big Ben's six TDs

Ben Roethlisberger became the first quarterback in history to throw six touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 43-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. Our takeaways:

  1. A scorching Roethlisberger has more touchdowns over the last two games (12) than the first seven (10) combined. This matchup turned in the second quarter, as the Steelers converted two Ravens turnovers into touchdowns. They went from down 7-0 to up 22-10 in an eight-minute span, proving for the third consecutive week that the quick-strike offense has the capability to run away with the game by capitalizing on opponents' mistakes. With Antonio Brown playing better than any wide receiver in the league, this aerial attack is as dangerous as any. At 6-3, the Steelers are in the driver's seat for a playoff spot.
  1. James Harrison has found the Fountain of Youth. After recording two sacks on Andrew Luck last week, he was the best defensive player on the field Sunday night, adding a couple of more sacks. Jarvis Jones is eligible to return from injured reserve-designated for return in Week 12, but he might not get his starting job back.
  1. It wasn't all positive for Dick LeBeau's defense. Troy Polamalu and first-round linebacker Ryan Shazier exited with knee and ankle injuries, respectively. Neither player returned, an ominous sign for their Week 10 status versus the Jets.
  1. Two weeks ago, we believed the Ravens were the class of the AFC North. Now they are in last place. This team goes as Joe Flacco goes. If he doesn't find consistency, John Harbaugh's squad will get lost in the mix of a half-dozen AFC wild-card contenders.
  1. Rookie Martavis Bryant, who played in the shadow of Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins at Clemson, has caught five touchdowns in his first three games, tying former Pittsburgh tight end Eric Green's NFL record dating back to 1980. The Steelers have averaged 41.3 points per game since adding Bryant to the wide-receiver rotation in Week 7. Over that three-game span, Roethlisberger is 88-of-119 passing (73.9 percent) for 1,127 yards (9.47 yards per attempt), 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Credit general manager Kevin Colbert for finding talented wide receivers in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.
  1. The Ravens sorely missed cornerback Jimmy Smith, who is out with a sprained foot. He was enjoying a Pro Bowl-caliber season. Even with safety Will Hill forcing his way into the starting lineup, this secondary was no match for the Steelers' receivers.
  1. Antonio Brown reclaimed the NFL lead in receiving yards with 996 and is running away with the receptions (74) lead. He's on pace for 132 catches, 1,771 yards and 14 touchdowns. With Bryant, Markus Wheaton and Le'Veon Bell in the mix, defenses can't devote their resources to stopping any one option.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from an action-packed Week 9. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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