Ravens at Steelers (-2) (o/u 37)
Ravens 16 - Steelers 14
ATS (Ravens +2)
Over/Under (+/- 37)
UNDER (30 Total Points)
Ravens at Steelers Game Summary
RAVENS AT STEELERS GAME SUMMARY - The Ravens’ coaching in this game was nearly perfect.
That might seem like an overstatement for a team that scored only 16 points, but given the circumstances, it was a masterpiece. Winning a game without your starting quarterback is a tough ask for any team, but to win playing your third string?
Well, that’s almost impossible. Fortunately, when Anthony Brown came in with three minutes left in the third quarter, Baltimore held a 6-point lead.
The ball being spotted at Baltimore’s 1-yard line complicated matters. But like a savvy veteran, Brown dropped back into his own endzone and completed a pass for positive yardage. That drive ended four plays and 12 yards later, but it gave Jordan Stout enough room to execute a clean punt.
Against the Bills or the Chiefs, a 15-yard drive to set up a punt might not be considered a win, but against a Steelers offense who’s been shut down all game, it can be described as nothing less.
Baltimore’s defense came through in a big way on Sunday.
In the preview of this game, I said a healthy Ravens’ defense had the potential to “win game by themselves.”
They played close to that level against Pittsburgh. Marcus Williams’ return to the field was vital.
With the Steelers driving into Baltimore territory, Trubisky hucked a prayer to the left corner of the endzone, where Williams flew in from center field to steal the Ravens’ third interception of the day. His presence on the back end solidifies an already very talented secondary.
The only player on defense who struggled was Marlon Humphrey. It was an uncharacteristic day for All-Pro Marlo who allowed over 100 yards in coverage and committed multiple penalties. He tweeted after the game calling himself “a liability in coverage.”
While he ordinarily wouldn’t have surrendered as many yards as he did, it’s obvious that Steelers’ wide receiver George Pickens is going to be a superstar.
Pickens’ hands looked like vice grips as he casually embarrassed one of the league’s best corners. When his career is all said and done, Marlon won’t be the only player whom he made look silly. Speaking of illustrious careers, the Ravens’ most decorated player, Calais Campbell, came up with a huge field goal block in the fourth quarter.
Campbell is an ageless wonder who comes up with a clutch block or two every year. In a game decided by two points, his impact was crucial.
Run Game Rejuvenation
How great was it to see J.K. Dobbins break off the second-longest run of his career?
Dobbins has had an injury-riddled start to his career, but it looks like his October cleanup surgery has restored some of his rookie-season burst.
On his aforementioned 44-yard run, he exploded through a gaping hole and into the secondary, but his stride in the open field looked a little strained.
Even if he isn’t the same home run hitter he was in 2020, he’s still a better option than others in the backfield. His 8-yards-per-carry performance was amazing, but let’s not forget to give credit to his blockers.
They powered the run game and dominated Pittsburgh’s front. It’s games like this that remind us why Greg Roman has a coordinating job in this league. His third down call to ice the game was a work of art.
Faking the jet sweep to Duvernay and then running behind him, essentially a creative variation of a wham, was beautifully executed. This was a huge step in the right direction because the only way this team will make a deep playoff run is through the run-game.
I continue to harp on this idea of survival.
Until Lamar returns, these divisional games will continue to be ugly, but learning to win these close, sloppy games is a skill. The Ravens currently sit atop the AFC North with a 98% chance to make the playoffs.
Huntley’s likely absence next week poses a philosophical question. Do you trot out Anthony Brown against Cleveland to give Lamar as much time as possible to get back to 100% or do you rush Lamar back because a home playoff game matters that much?
Of course, there’s a possibility Lamar will either be totally ready or totally not, which would force the Ravens’ hand, but if he’s at 85%, do you play him? It’s an interesting question, but the win on Sunday reduces considerable pressure.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Sunday, 12/17 at 3:30 pm on CBS