At the housewarming party for their new stadium, the Baltimore Ravens handed out gifts.
Kordell Stewart scored the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first touchdown after Baltimore botched a punt with a bad snap, and the Ravens made several other mistakes that contributed to a 20-13 loss in the first game at their $223-million stadium before 68,847.
Matt Stover missed three field goals--twice because of bad snaps by Harper Le Bel--receivers dropped several passes and guard Wally Williams twice jumped offside in third-and-short situations.
These things overshadowed the Ravens’ statistical domination--they outgained the Steelers, 376-271--and minimized a defensive effort that limited Jerome Bettis to 41 yards in 23 carries.
“Too many mistakes against a caliber of team like that and you’ll never win. Never,” Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis said.
Raven quarterback Jim Harbaugh left the game for good midway in the second quarter after suffering a broken ring finger on his right hand. The injury apparently occurred when he hit the ground after being hit by Carnell Lake.
Harbaugh is questionable for the Ravens’ next game against the New York Jets.
Backup Eric Zeier threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Lewis with 2:48 left to bring Baltimore to 20-13. But a 68-yard punt by Josh Miller left the Ravens at their four with 27 seconds left.
“We certainly didn’t play up to some standards offensively, but I thought we played pretty good defensively,” said Steeler Coach Bill Cowher. “The bottom line in this business is finding a way to win, and we were able to do that.”