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PITTSBURGH — Youth is being served in the Baltimore Ravensâ€™ vertical passing game. For the second consecutive game, rookie wide receiver Demetrius Williams caught a touchdown pass. Meanwhile, second-year starter Mark Clayton generated the fifth 100-yard receiving performance of his career as he caught his fifth touchdown of the season in a 31-7 victory Sunday over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
Clayton, a first-round draft pick last season from the University of Oklahoma, caught a game-high seven passes for 108 yards. It marked the continuation of his development, pushing his season totals to 65 catches and 913 yards with one game remaining.
â€œMy strides are a direct result of us as a whole,â€ Clayton said. â€œNot only does our executing and being efficient and being successful build the confidence of me, but each other.
â€œYou see it from the beginning of the season until now that weâ€™ve grown up. We still have some growing up to do, which is awesome.â€
Clayton caught a 35-yard touchdown pass behind Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu, who was also burned by Williams on a 25-yard score. This performance came one week after Williams caught a career-long 77-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Boller in a win over the Cleveland Browns.
â€œIâ€™m feeling real good that I can be involved in the offense and everybody can count on me and make me accountable,â€ Williams said. â€œPlus, weâ€™re winning so itâ€™s a great feeling.â€
NOT RUBBING IT IN: Although the Ravens effectively ended the defending Super Bowl champion Steeelersâ€™ playoff hopes, they said that wasnâ€™t one of their top priorities. â€œThe satisfaction is what we’re trying to accomplish, it’s not about ending the Steelers’ season," cornerback Chris McAlister said.
RUDE AWAKENING: Even though heâ€™s been in the NFL for a decade, defensive end Trevor Pryce wasnâ€™t quite prepared for just how despised the Ravens are in Pittsburgh. â€œThese people just donâ€™t like us,â€ Pryce said. â€œOh my God, I heard some of the foulest [expletive] I have every heard in my life.â€
NOT IT: The Ravens’ defense inexplicably called a timeout with 11 seconds left in the first half as Pittsburgh was scrambling to call a play, setting up Ben Roethlisbergerâ€™s 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller. â€œYou got to ask the guy who called the timeout,â€ Ravens coach Brian Billick said. â€œIt was one of our defensive players, sorry.â€
FLAGGED: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness prior to the Steelersâ€™ lone touchdown. â€œA guy pushed me in the back,â€ Suggs said. â€œI retaliated and they always catch the second guy. I always know that. I let my emotions get the best of me.â€
Added linebacker Bart Scott: â€œWe have to keep our composure. Theyâ€™re going to take cheap shots. How do we answer that? We take it out on Willie Parker or whoever dares touch the ball next time.
â€œIf he wants to take a cheap shot on us, the next guy that touches the ball is going to pay for it. If you have a problem with a guy, come talk to us. Weâ€™ll hold him up and weâ€™ll take care of it.â€
TRAINING ROOM: A Ravens team spokesman said the team suffered no new injuries.
INACTIVES: The Ravens deactivated offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (toe), cornerbacks Jamaine Winborne and David Pittman, running back P.J. Daniels, fullback Nick Luchey, defensive tackle Atiyyah Ellison and wide receivers Devard Darling and Clarence Moore. The Ravens had just three wide receivers activated for the game.
Pittsburgh scratches included offensive tackle Max Starks (knee surgery), safeties Ryan Clark (groin) and Andre Lott (ankle), linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, center Marvin Philip, guard Chris Kemoeatu and wide receiver Lee Mays. Former Raven Brian St. Pierre was designated the third (emergency) quarterback.
QUICK HITS: McNair is now 10-4 against Pittsburgh. … Baltimore has won eight of its past nine games. … The Steelers were 2-of-14 on third downs, with both conversions coming on penalties, and are 3-of-26 against Baltimore this season. … Six of the last eight Super Bowl winners held a first-round bye. … McNair had thrown 163 consecutive passes without an interception. … The Ravens have allowed 57 points in their last six games. … Baltimore finished 5-1 in the division for their best mark since the 2000 season when they won the Super Bowl. â€¦ This boosts the Ravensâ€™ winning streak to three games over Pittsburgh, the longest in franchise history.
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland