Steelers Shock Ravens in 17-10 Comeback Victory
STEELERS SHOCK RAVENS IN 17-10 COMEBACK VICTORY – The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens with a 17-10 comeback victory to take the division lead early in the season.
With an offense that is ranked nearly last in all PFF measurables, it is unthinkable that this Steelers team leads the AFC North and is the current #3 seed in the conference. With dysfunction seemingly scattered throughout the organization the thought of a win, let alone a division lead, seemed absurd. As we mentioned in the preview article, previous statistics are rendered meaningless when these two rivals face each other.
Baltimore came into Ravens’ Week with a 3-1 record and a 2-0 division lead. The Steelers entered with a -38-point score differential leading to an outcry from media and fans for the ouster of offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Head coach Mike Tomlin was in the crosshairs with his only change after last week’s humiliating loss to the Houston Texans was to practice in pads and be more physical. Tomlin was mocked by some in the local media for using this old school tactic and not addressing the problem with the offensive scheme. It seems the hard-nosed week of practice had the team, led by the defense, playing with urgency and physicality not seen all season.
The Steelers were lucky to win this game. The offense was non-existent in the first half of the contest. The Ravens dropped seven passes and had critical turnovers with the game in the balance.
But they say luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Down 10-0 late in the first half, Larry Ogunjobi hustled to strip sack running back Justice Hill at the 49-yard line leading to a field goal late in the first half cutting the lead down to 10-3.
The Ravens had a chance to score to end the half, but John Harbaugh decided against kicking a field goal at the Steelers 23-yard line and Jackson’s pass fell incomplete. This was critical as the Steelers went into the half down by only one score.
After being lifeless for most of the game, the Steelers’ offense managed three scoring drives late, but it was their defense and special teams that once again gave them a chance to win.
Up until the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Steelers had punted the ball six times and scored just once off a field goal. Over the final two quarters, they forced three more punts, a fumble, an interception, and a turnover on downs.
The momentum turning point occurred when Miles Killebrew blocked a Ravens’ punt deep in their own territory, which rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Following a good punt return, the Steelers were already in field goal range and then made it a two-point deficit.
A Ravens late 4th quarter drive ended with a costly interception in the endzone to Steelers rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. keeping his team in the game.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson said on his podcast that coach Tomlin told them in Wednesday’s practice, “When it’s a dying moment, they will try to burn the house down.” The Steelers were down two points with under two minutes in the game when Baltimore lined up in zero press coverage, essentially trying to burn the house down. Pickett recognized this and hit Pickens for a 41-yard touchdown pass and an improbable come from behind victory.
Is the AFC North on notice?
The Steelers leading the AFC North should be a cause of major concern for the rest of the division.
The offense just needs to be slightly better than average for this team to win.
The Steelers will return from the bye week with receiver Diontae Johnson back from injured reserve, rookie tackle Broderick Jones play has improved weekly, and running back Jaylen Warren has clearly separated himself as the best running back on the team.
Now, if they can just figure out how to prepare a solid offensive game plan there may be a chance for this team to rack up more wins.