Baltimore wins at Pittsburgh; The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Baltimore Ravens moved to 8-2 on the season, leaving Heinz Field with a 13-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the win over their AFC North rivals, the Ravens now have a 2 game advantage within the division.

The game could have been termed the ‘injured bowl’, with all of the injured players out for both sides. Like seemingly always, the players that were on the field played a strong, physical game worthy of the rivalry. Nothing comes easy in this series, and a win should always be celebrated.

The Good:

1) Jacoby Jones started the Ravens off in good position, with a quality KR out past the 30.

2) The 2nd Pittsburgh offensive series went better for the Ravens, with Wallace fumbling after catching a pass over the middle. Chris Johnson helped jar the ball loose, and Reed scooped the ball up, returning it to the Pittsburgh 12. Tucker would convert a short FG, making it a 7-3 game.

3) Despite broken coverage which allowed a 25 yard gain from Sanders to start Pittsburgh’s 3rd series, the Ravens defense had a good series overall. On 2nd down, Williams provided strong press coverage the line. On 3rd down, Kruger exploded off the line for the sack.

4) Kruger made a difference on Pittsburgh’s 4th series as well, getting 3rd down pressure and causing the punt.

5) That Pittsburgh punt was followed by a great block from Considine, and Jones’ returning the punt to the house. His 63 yard TD return gave the Ravens the 10-7 lead.

6) On the Steelers 5th series of the 1st Quarter, Ngata had a good play in run coverage. For the 3rd consecutive series, Kruger beat his defender (this time Mike Adams) on 3rd down.

7) Rice had a 31 yard reception on the Ravens 4th series, taking Baltimore into Pittsburgh territory. As the series moved into the 2nd Quarter, the Ravens faced 2nd and 1, which Rice picked up. Osemele had a good block. That set up 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 19. While the drive stalled, the 46 yards gained on the series set up a Tucker FG attempt from a reasonable distance (41 yards).

8) The Steelers were forced to punt on their first series of the 2nd Quarter, the 4th consecutive series resulting in a punt for them.

9) During the Ravens first full series of the 2nd Quarter, the Ravens picked up 3rd and 4 on a check down to Rice. That was Baltimore’s first 3rd down conversion after 5 previous opportunities.

10) Great job from the Baltimore D-line, particularly Kemoeatu and Jones making a 3rd and 1 stop on Pittsburgh’s 2nd drive of the 2nd Quarter. Pittsburgh would punt for the 5th consecutive series.

11) Baltimore’s 2nd series of the 2nd Quarter began with a 7 yard gain to Boldin. On 2nd and short, Rice gained the 1st down, running down hill with great blocks from the right side. On 3rd and 10, Boldin moved the chains, with a spin move that gained additional yards after the catch. He made the grab short of the 1st down marker, and spun out of a would be tackle.

12) Ellerbe made several quality plays on Pittsburgh’s last series of the 1st half.

13) Pittsburgh had advanced into Ravens territory on their first series of the 2nd half, when Leftwich was picked off by Graham. Graham returned the ball 20 yards to the Ravens 38.

14) I liked that right after the Graham interception, Flacco attacked down the field a bit, finding Boldin for 23 yards. That grab took the Ravens to the Pittsburgh 39. On 2nd and 6 from the 35, Oher gave Flacco time, and Flacco was able to find Rice. Rice made a great cut, and gained 8 yards for another Ravens 1st down. On that 1st down, Dickson picked up 6 more. Tucker would kick home a 39 yard FG, giving the Ravens the 13-7 lead.

15) Good kickoff coverage from the Ravens following their 3rd Quarter FG, had Pittsburgh beginning their drive from their own 16. Ihedigbo made the tackle.

16) On Pittsburgh’s 2nd series of the 3rd Quarter, Leftwich attempted to go the end zone from the Baltimore 11 yard line. Graham made a nice play on the ball, preventing a Steelers score. The Ravens would also stand up on 3rd and 2, forcing a FG attempt. That 22 yarder from Suisham made it 13-10 Baltimore. Another good Red Zone series for the Ravens defense.

17) Continuing to show his versatility, Upshaw was used in coverage down the field on Pittsburgh’s 1st drive of the 4th Quarter. On 3rd and 9, the Ravens brought the blitz, and Ngata brought Leftwich to the ground. Pittsbugh would punt, giving Baltimore the back with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, and the 3 point lead. (13-10.)

18) The Steelers 2nd series of the 4th Quarter started from their 25. Leftwich found Cotchery outside for 11 yards to begin the drive. That was followed by a 7 yard Dwyer run. Dwyer would gain a 1st down on 2nd and 4, with another 5 yards. Most of the yards coming after contact. A Heath Miller catch took the ball to the Ravens 42. At that point, the Ravens defense put the brakes on the Pittsburgh offense. Suggs made a good play on 1st down. On 3rd and long, Ihedigbo came unblocked and delivered a sack on Leftwich. Pittsburgh had to again punt, and the Ravens took over from their 13 with the 3 point lead, and 4+ minutes remaining.

19) Despite the lack of production running the ball, I think the Ravens coaching staff made the right decision continuing to give Rice carries. On 2nd and 3 from the Ravens 20, Rice gained 4 yards and a Ravens 1st down with just over 3 minutes remaining in the game. This was a very important play. On 3rd and 7 from the Baltimore 43, the Steelers committed a 5 yard penalty. This set up 3rd and 2, coming out of the 2 minute warning.

20) Graham had another quality play on Pittsburgh’s last drive. Pollard came up with a big stick on Cotchery, on a play where it looked like Cotchery would gain significant yardage.

The Bad:

1) Baltimore’s first drive ended with a 3 and out, when Flacco threw to Pitta short of the 1st down marker on 3rd and 7.

2) The Ravens 2nd offensive series started deep in Pittsburgh territory (the Steelers 12 yard line), after Reed’s recovered fumble. Starting there, you wanted to see the offense cash in, and tie the game. Settling for a FG was a disappointment.

3) On the Steelers 3rd series, Leftwich quickly found Sanders over the middle of the field against an empty zone. The 25 yard gain took Pittsburgh out to their own 45.

4) Aided by an off-sides penalty on Harrison, Baltimore had 2nd and 5 on their 3rd offensive series. Rice gained 2 yards on 2nd down, but Flacco was not able to convert his pass attempt on 3rd and 3. Earlier in the series, Torrey Smith got a step on Taylor but the pass was short and almost picked.

5) Pitta was knocked out of the game early with a concussion.

6) Early in the 2nd Quarter, Tucker missed his 2nd FG of the year, kicking into the open end of Heinz Field. The 41 yard kick was not an ‘automatic’, but certainly points you wanted. After reaching the Steelers 19 yard line on a 1st and 10, the Ravens offense stalled resulting in the FG attempt.

7) With Pitta out of the game, Bajema picked up an offensive holding call on Baltimore’s 1st full series of the 2nd Quarter.

8) The Ravens were forced to punt after not picking up 3rd and 7 on their 2nd drive of the 2nd Quarter. On that 3rd down, Heyward drove Osemele back into Flacco. This gave the Steelers back the ball with 1:23 left in the 1st half.

9) Rice started the 2nd half off with an 8 yard gain. On 2nd down he gained a yard and a half. On 3rd and inches, he was stood up. Rice and the offensive line needed to move the chains there.

10) On 3rd and 2, Sanders and the Steelers gained 37 yards on their first series of the 2nd half. Miscommunication in the Ravens Secondary there, as Pittsburgh advanced to the Ravens 40 yard line.

11) The Ravens 2nd series of the 3rd Quarter, had Baltimore reach the Pittsburgh 21 on 2nd and 4. Ultimately, the Ravens would settle for another Tucker FG attempt.

12) Pittsburgh had a lot of success running between their tackles on their 2nd series of the 3rd Quarter. Following a big hit from Pollard on 1st down, Dwyer picked up 15 yards on 2nd and 14. He gained 18 more yards on the next two plays, and Mendenhall and Batch teamed for another 12. This moved the ball out to the Baltimore 43, when Reed picked up a unnecessary roughness penalty for his hit on Sanders. This moved the ball to the Ravens 11 yard line. Baltimore would stand up on 3rd and 2, and force a short FG attempt.

13) The Ravens were forced to punt in the 1st minute of the 4th Quarter, when Flacco was sacked on 3rd and 8.

14) On Pittsburgh’s first series of the 4th Quarter, Kruger was not able to wrap up Leftwich on 3rd and 8. Leftwich was able to dump the ball off to Dwyer. On the Coach’s Challenge, Pittsburgh picked up the 1st down.

15) Baltimore’s first full series of the 4th Quarter would result in a punt, when the Ravens could not pick up 3rd and 2.

16) Coming out of the 2 minute warning, the Ravens were not able to pick up 3rd and 2. It seemed to be a situation which called for a run. Baltimore would punt back to the Steelers, giving Pittsburgh back the ball with just over 1 minute remaining.

The Ugly:

1) As predicted just about everywhere this week, Pittsburgh started the game throwing down the field and challenging Cary Williams deep. The Steelers gained 42 yards on the pass interference call. Two plays later, Leftwich scampered 31 yards for a TD, as the Ravens missed multiple opportunities to tackle (particularly Pollard who went for a larger hit and missed). 43 seconds into the game, the Ravens trailed 7-0.

2) Clark took T. Smith out of the game. On some plays, there was additional coverage on Smith underneath, but often times Clark just won the 1×1 battle.

Notes:
Baltimore had just 200 yards of offense.
The Ravens were 3 of 14 on 3rd down. Pittsburgh was 5 of 17.
Pittsburgh ran for over 130 yards.
Flacco completed 62.5% of his passes (20 of 32).
Boldin had 8 grabs for 79 yards.

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About the author


Chris Stoner   

Majority Owner

Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, ESPN 1300, FOX 1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. You can find Stoner on Twitter @BmoreSportsLife, and you can reach him via email at Chris.Stoner@baltimoresportsandlife.com.


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