AFC North

Steelers Hold Off Ravens 20-19

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to hold off the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon 20-19. In a AFC North Classic the game was low-scoring, slow moving, and came down to the wire. Baltimore still sit atop the AFC North at 8-4, while the Steelers keep hope alive for their season at 6-5-1.

The Offense

The game was well managed offensively by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger found his name in the media this week after reports of him allegedly confiding in others that it could be his last year in a Steeler uniform.

Roethlisberger was 21-31 for 236 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That stat line is exactly what fans, and the Steelers, want to see from Ben. While he is passed the point of winning games with his arm, his mind is what can still bring home the W.

Ben led the team on a 11-play drive that went 69 yards and ended in a touchdown to Wide Receiver Dionte Johnson. The Steelers converted on a 2-pt attempt which gave them a 20-13 lead. Johnson had a big day with 8 catches for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Najee Harris had a solid game on the ground and really came into form on the team’s last few possessions. In total he had 21 carries for 71 yards and 5 catches for 36 yards. The Steeler’s final two possessions totaled 21 plays and over 9 minutes of game time. Milking the clock away and keeping the ball out of Lamar Jackson’s hands was a key to the Steelers’ success. Najee had 9 carries for 36 yards on those possessions.

Getting better as the game went along was the theme for the entire offense as the Steelers scored 17 of their 20 point in the fourth quarter.

The Defense

The Steelers defense put on an excellent performance giving up just 19 total points. They had a number of splash plays including a red zone interception on the Ravens’ first drive, and getting to Lamar Jackson for 7 total sacks.

T.J. Watt led the way with 6 tackles, 6 QB Hits and 3.5 sacks. He also had the pressures on Jackson which led to the early interception, and the pressure which led to the game’s final incomplete pass. Watt had just been activated from the COVID list on Saturday.

Minkah Fitzpatrick led the team with 9 total tackles and the first quarter inception on Jackson. Chris Wormley added 2.5 sacks, and Cam Heyward had 1.

The Ravens scored 2 touchdowns on the day. The first came on a 16 play, 99-yard drive that took 10:27 of game time. The drive included 3 third down conversions, and 2 conversions on second and long.

The Steelers’ tackling issued remained constant and were especially obvious on that drive. With middle linebackers Joe Schoebert and Devin Bush not containing check downs, thus giving up Yards After Catch opportunities.

Pittsburgh main issue during their 3 game slide prior to today was their run defense, giving up over 150 rushing yards in each of the last three games. The Ravens are one of the best running teams in the league and average over 150 yards on the ground per contest.

The Steelers held Baltimore to just 107 yards on the ground in this one. Jackson ran for 55, and Running Back Devonta Freeman added 52. New Nose Tackle Montravius Adams was helpful in this regard. After signing him off of the Saints practice squad just this week, Adams started and did a good job filling different run fits.

Special Teams

Special Teams did what you want for the most part in this one. Ray-Ray McCloud took care of the ball on returns and didn’t let the ball hit the ground. The kickoff unit allowed one big return for 35 yards which only resulted in a field goal.

Punter Presley Harvin III had a beautiful boot in the first quarter which went 64 yards and went out of bounds at the 1-yard line.

Kicker Chris Bowell went 2/2 on field goals from 53 and 43 yards, but was 0/1 on extra points.

In Conclusion

Have I even mentioned the game ended on a failed 2-pt attempt by Baltimore? The Ravens answered back with a well-executed 2-minute drill and scored a touchdown. Down 20-19 Head Coach John Harbaugh elected to go for two and win instead of kicking the extra point for overtime. As one of the most aggressive coaches in the league it’s not much of a surprise, but considering a close division game it is kind of a surprise. In the end, the Steelers were able to hold them off.

Overall it was a well executed game for the Steelers, and followed the game script they should look to replicate. The Steelers won the turnover battle, got chunk plays when they were there, and were able to mitigate the opposing team’s run game.

Now at 6-5-1 they remain in the playoff hunt. They’ll look to remain there Thursday night in a game against the Vikings.

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  1. Pingback: Steelers Lose to Vikings 36-28 - Championship Sports Media

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