The Baltimore Ravens defeated their rival Pittsburgh Steelers 22-20. With the Thanksgiving Day victory, the Ravens improve to 6-6 overall, and are in good position to work their way into the AFC Playoffs with 4 games remaining.
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What did we see?
1) We saw another game worthy of the rivalry. There are times Ravens / Steelers games are not pretty, but the effort and intensity is always there. Yet another game between these teams decided within 3 points or less.
2) The game started about as ideally as possible for the Ravens. Pittsburgh went 3 and out on their initial series, with Ngata and Webb coming-up with good plays in run-support. When the Ravens took over on offense, Flacco missed Jones on a throw down the field. However, after a Baltimore 1st down, Flacco did not miss Torrey Smith – finding Smith for a 58 yard gain which set-up 1st and Goal. On 3rd and Goal, Flacco found Smith again for a TD! 7-0 Ravens.
3) The Steelers 2nd and 3rd series saw Pittsburgh run 23 combined plays, and hold the ball for a total of 12 minutes and 31 seconds. Despite the length of those drives, Pittsburgh came away with zero points on both of those series. Baltimore ended both series with 3rd and 6 stops from their 37, and 32 yard lines respectively. Good job of bending, but not breaking.
4) Baltimore’s lead was extended to 10-0, when Tucker hit from 43 yards out in the 2nd Quarter. The Ravens moved from their 44 to the Pittsburgh 25 over 9 plays. The drive stalled when Shipley was called for a penalty, and Oher was beaten badly leading to a sack of Flacco.
5) Prior to Tucker’s first FG, Pittsburgh missed out on a FG opportunity of their own, when Suisham’s timing was off on his would be 2nd Quarter attempt.
6) The Ravens took over on offense at their 15 yard line, with 1:50 left in the 1st half. It was a pretty conservative approach from Baltimore, as Flacco and the Ravens offense would ultimately take a knee and run out the clock of the 1st half.
7) NBC Sports Analyst Hines Ward pointed out at half-time, that Webb had played a strong 1st half in coverage. It was another quality game for Webb, J. Smith, and Graham overall, especially considering the Ravens did not have much pass rush tonight. On the negative side, Webb and Graham did have 4th Quarter penalties on the same Steelers drive, helping to extend the series which ultimately resulted in a Pittsburgh TD.
8) Baltimore’s defense allowed just 98 yards in the 1st half.
9) Tucker capped a nice looking Baltimore drive to begin the 2nd half, with his 2nd FG. Baltimore started the 3rd Quarter at their 32. On 3rd and 8, Flacco and Smith connected for a 1st. That was followed by a screen to Brown, who gained 12 yards. On 3rd and 8 from the Steelers 30, Smith again gained the necessary yardage to move the chains. Rice had a good looking run between the tackles for 9 yards. At that point though, the Ravens stalled, starting with a penalty on Oher. 2nd and 3rd down passes from the Pittsburgh 16 yard line went incomplete, forcing Baltimore to settle for the FG attempt.
10) On Pittsburgh’s first series of the 3rd Quarter, the Steelers faced 3rd and 2 from their 49. Bell ran for 43 yards, setting up 1st and Goal for the Steelers. On 3rd and Goal, Roethlisberger gained extra time with his feet, before ultimately finding Sanders in the end zone for the TD. 13-7 Baltimore.
11) Jones answered Pittsburgh’s first score with a huge 73 yard KR. (The replays showing Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin close to the sideline as Jones was running by, figures to get additional attention.) Taking over at the Steelers 27, Flacco and Dickson connected over the middle for 16 yards. On 1st and 10 from the Steelers 11, Rice gained 2 yards. On 2nd and 8 from the Pittsburgh 9; Flacco dropped down to Rice for 2 more yards. On 3rd and 6 from the 7, Rice ran up the middle for 2 yards. Pretty horrible sequence of plays there, made worse by Rice picking up an unsportsmanlike penalty after the 3rd down. Tucker would hit from 38 yards out, making it 16-7 Ravens.
12) On the following Ravens series, Flacco and Baltimore faced 3rd and 4 at their 42. The offensive line gave Flacco time, and Flacco extended the play by moving around in the pocket. With time to throw, Flacco found Jones for 34 yards. This set up Baltimore with 1st and 10 at the Pittsburgh 24 to begin the 4th Quarter. Tucker would score again, this time from 45 yards out. 19-7 Baltimore.
13) Not a great game for Oher. The thought process from many has been that he has RT talent, and will want to be paid like a LT. Even at RT he is more average ish vs. elite. It will be interesting to see what the market is for him in the off-season.
14) Down 19-7, Pittsburgh faced 3rd and 8 from the Ravens 27. Roethlisberger found Brown for 19 yards. That had the Ravens taking their 2nd time out with 10 minutes left in the 4th Quarter. Two plays later, Bell would find the end zone. With the xp, it was 19-14 Ravens with 9:32 left.
15) Facing 3rd and 12 from the Steelers 40 yard line with under 7 minutes left, Flacco and Smith had an important 10 yard gain. This set up Tucker from 48. Tucker would hit his 5th of the game, extending the lead to 8 at 22-14.
16) Chykie Brown had to come in for a play when Graham was forced to the bench with an injury late in the 4th. The Steelers immediately picked on C. Brown, with Antonio Brown going right past the CB.
17) The Ravens had a 22-14 lead when Pittsburgh took over on offense from their 21 with 5:31 left. Brown 19 yards, Miller 7 yards, Miller 5 yards, Miller 13 yards, Bell 1 yard. After a 15 yard penalty on Michael Adams, Pittsburgh faced 2nd and 24 from the Ravens 49. Roethlisberger would find Bell for 29 yards. On 1st and 10, from the Ravens 20, Miller had his 4th catch of the drive; this time right in-front of the end zone. On 2nd down, Bell appeared to score, while absorbing a big hit from J. Smith. However, Bell’s helmet came off, ending the play prior to him crossing the goal. On 3rd and Goal, the Ravens defense stood-up. On 4th and Goal (from a 1/2 yard out), Roethlisberger found Cotchery for the score. However, the Steelers could not covert the 2 point conversion, leaving the Ravens with the 22-20 lead with 1:03 left.
18) We mentioned it above in talk about the Secondary, but the Ravens pass rush was not able to get to Roethlisberger tonight.
19) Rice wasn’t able to get anything going on the ground, but did have 6 catches for 38 yards, including the one large gain for 22.