Then and now

The Steelers' offense had its worst performance of the season in the first meeting with the Ravens, and the Steelers haven't forgotten.

Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner thinks they can use that to their advantage in Sunday's rematch in Baltimore, for what it's worth.

"I know it because you see it in their eyes," Fichtner said. "Just that alone isn't going to make a difference in the game. It's still going to boil down to assignments, proper technique, fundamentals and details, details of every little thing that potentially could happen in this game that you're prepared for.

"I believe when we have our opportunities, the expectation is we'll take advantage of them and be successful."

That wasn't the case on Sept. 30 at Heinz Field.

The Ravens held the Steelers to season-low totals in points (14), first downs (14), third-down conversions (2-for-12, 17 percent), total net yards (284), net rushing yards (19), touchdowns (one) and time of possession (24:57, including 8:29 in the second half) in what became a 26-14 drubbing.

The Steelers got what they had earned, what they deserved, Fichtner maintained.

The Steelers prepare for the week 9 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

"Our details were lacking in that game across the board," he said. "I'd start with myself. I'd start with our staff offensively. And I don't think there would be a player that would say they felt like they had their best game. When we had a chance to look back through it we were pretty critical of what we did and didn't do and it was a pretty good eye-opener.

"We were on edge a lot in protection. We didn't throw the ball extremely well. We didn't catch and carry and control the ball vey well. We probably didn't hit holes well enough. I know the wide receiver group probably got out-physicaled in our run game and in pass releases."

Fichtner was likewise critical of his play-calling.

"Probably didn't stick to giving (running back) James (Conner) more opportunities and probably went a little too quickly to 'just throw the ball,'" he said.

The good news is the Steelers are in a better place these days.

They've gone over 400 yards in total offense in consecutive games, averaged 34 points a game over their last three and have won three in a row.

And Conner is the reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Week and the newly christened AFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. He's rushed for 367 yards, averaged 5.7 yards per carry and run for six touchdowns since getting stuffed by Baltimore in September.

They'll have all of that to throw at the Ravens' No.1 defense (293.8 yards per game) and No. 1 scoring defense (17.1 points per game) this time.

"Knock on wood we're pretty healthy," Fichtner said. "We had a really spirited practice today, (quarterback) Ben (Roethlisberger) is fresh, so yeah, I feel really good."

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