The Baltimore Ravens were denied a win in Pittsburgh for the 3rd consecutive season, losing 19-16. With the loss, the Ravens go into their bye with a 3-4 record.
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What did we see?
1) Pittsburgh set a season high in rushing yards, with 10 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter. It was extremely disturbing to see the Steelers run effectively between the tackles. Especially when you consider the Steelers offensive line was missing multiple starters.
1a) It is always tough to bring Roethlisberger to the ground. It becomes even harder when you don’t bring extra rushers. That was the case for pretty much all of the 1st half, as Roethlisberger was getting way too much time to survey the field today in a clean pocket.
2) Due to his contract, Ngata figures to again be a member of the Ravens in 2014. That said, the lack of production the Ravens are getting from him – with the salary he is making – is an issue for this roster. He might still be better than most DT’s in the league, but there is no way his impact is equal to his current percentage of the salary cap.
3) We are not going to spend a lot of time dissecting the running game this week. What more can be said at this point? It needs to improve over the bye, and I think it will. The Ravens will spend further time adjusting their scheme back to what they’ve done previously, and the extra week of rest will only help both RB’s.
4) We liked the no huddle offense that was used in the middle of the 2nd Quarter. For the first time on the day, the Ravens showed some life. The primary benefit being that with the increased tempo, and the field spread; Pierce and Rice were able to run more effectively.
4a) That drive ended, when Flacco was sacked on 3rd down. That took the Ravens out of possible FG range.
5) It was great seeing Brandon Williams with his first career sack. We look forward to seeing his playing time just continue to increase.
6) Near the end of the 1st half, Daryl Smith forced a fumble on Heath Miller and Matt Elam came up with the loose ball. This would result in Tucker’s 2nd FG, making it 10-6 Pittsburgh at half-time.
7) The first Ravens drive of the 2nd half was not a thing of beauty. A time out on 3rd and 6. A delay of game coming out of the TO. A penalty on Brown, Flacco being dropped on a free play. All culminated with Flacco under throwing Jones on a sure TD.
8) Dumervil allowed the Steelers to move into Baltimore territory on their first series of the 2nd half, when he was charged with unnecessary roughness. Later on that drive, he was charged with face mask which eliminated a 3rd down sack from Arthur Brown. This gave the Steelers a 1st from the Ravens 11. Pittsburgh would make a FG, taking a 13-6 lead with 3 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter.
9) Late in the 3rd Quarter, Flacco and Smith connected for a 41 yard strike down the field. Beautiful catch and throw.
10) After being questioned for his aggressive calls last week, Harbaugh said he would continue to be aggressive going forward. Today, with 4th and 1 early in the 4th Quarter – Harbaugh elected to go for it. Flacco was able to lean forward, and move the chains. After that drive would end with a Tucker FG (making it 13-9), Harbaugh elected to go with an onsides kick. The kick was poorly executed, and allowed the Steelers to start in Ravens territory. With 13 minutes left in the game, it felt like an unnecessary risk to me.
11) Doss continues to take advantage of this 2nd opportunity. Great catch holding on against a huge hit from Polamalu in the 4th.
12) Great drive from the Ravens to tie the game at 16. Starting from their 27 with 9:53 left in the 4th, Baltimore spent the drive operating out of the shotgun with no huddle. Flacco to Smith for 16 yards, Flacco to Rice for 3 yards, Flacco to Jones for 4 yards (great footwork from Jones on the play), Flacco back to Jones for 8 more and another 1st down. On 1st and 10 from the Pittsburgh 46, Leach ran for 4 yards. That was followed by a pass to Leach for 3 more.Doss then gained 13 yards as mentioned above. Rice up the middle for a yard. Jones with another 8 yard catch to the Pittsburgh 17. Facing 3rd and 1, the Ravens brought in Wagner as an extra lineman, and Baltimore gained the first with a great play-action roll out to Rice. Leach got another carry, this time for 6 yards to the Pittsburgh 7. Rice ran for 5 yards to the 2, then another carry for 1 more. On 3rd and 1, Flacco and Clark connected for the score. 16 plays, 73 yards, 8 minutes off the clock.
13) Pittsburgh’s last drive started from their 37 yard line. Roethlisberger was able to move the Steelers into Ravens territory quickly, setting up the winning kick.
14) The Ravens were 6 of 13 on 3rd down, Pittsburgh was 7 of 12.