Steelers vs. Ravens Consequence: Large Ben Raises Pittsburgh; Baltimore’s failed two-point try decides wild play
PITTSBURGH – Ben Roethlisberger’s career is drawing to a close, but the future Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback put in a relapse in the Steelers’ 20-19 win over the Ravens on Sunday. With a deficit of 10: 3 by three quarters, Roethlisberger led three game-winning drives, which were crowned by his 5-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson with 1:48 to go.
The Ravens responded with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson to Sammy Watkins, 12 seconds back. Instead of trying to tie the game with an extra point, Baltimore opted for two, and Jackson’s two-point conversation attempt with Mark Andrews failed. It secured the Steelers their third straight win against Baltimore.
With the win, the Steelers moved up to first place in the AFC North after 6-5-1 and 1.5 games behind the Ravens. Pittsburgh also beat AFC North enemy Cincinnati, who dropped to 5-7 after losing to the Chargers earlier in the day.
In a first half dominated by the defense, the Ravens took the lead 7-3 during the break. Led by running backs Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray, the Ravens drove 75 yards on the first run of the game. However, Baltimore stayed empty on the drive when Jackson – under heavy pressure from TJ Watt – was picked up in the end zone by Minkah Fitzpatrick in 3rd and 6th place on the 10-yard line from Pittsburgh. The teams traded punts for the rest of the neighborhood.
After the Ravens were pinned on their own 1-yard line, they mounted a 16-play, 99-yard drive that lasted over 10 minutes according to the clock. The drive, which ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Freeman, included a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct by Watt. The game’s first scoring drive also included a 29-yard finish from Jackson to Andrews on third and sixth games.
Johnson’s discarded pass in the end zone prevented the Steelers from leveling the game, but they hit the board with Chris Boswell’s 53-yard field goal, 27 seconds behind at halftime. The two big games of the drive were a 17-yard finish from Roethlisberger to tight end Pat Freiermuth and a 14-yard finish from Roethlisberger to Johnson.
Early in the second half, the Steelers appeared to be in business after Roethlisberger met Ray-Ray McCloud for a 32 yard win. However, upon further examination, the referee found that McCloud did not retain possession of the ball upon impact with the ground. The Steelers hit two plays later, giving the Ravens a first down on their own 42-yard line. Baltimore, on the strength of a 15-yard catch-and-run from Freeman in a third-and-11 game, parlayed their good field position into a 35-yard field goal from Justin Tucker.
Roethlisberger started the fourth quarter with a 40-yard finish against Chase Claypool. Roethlisberger then found a wide open Johnson for a 29-yard touchdown on the next move. During the game, Roethlisberger appeared to be jailed on liberty before finding Johnson downfield for the result. Boswell’s missed field goal, however, allowed Baltimore to hold onto the lead with 14:01 minutes.
Both teams exchanged field goals for their subsequent ball possession as the Ravens kept their one point lead with 7:18 remaining. After he had forced a punt, the Steelers offense drove 69 yards, with Roethlisberger beating Johnson to his 51st. The Steelers led after Roethlisberger’s conclusion against Freiermuth in a two-point conversion attempt with 21:13.
Here is a breakdown of what happened next in Pittsburgh
Why the Steelers won
Pittsburgh’s defense had another standout performance against Jackson, who is now 2-1 against the Steelers as Baltimore quarterback. Watt and former Raven Chris Wormley have teamed up to hold six sacks of Pittsburgh’s seven sacks of Jackson. During Sunday’s game, Watt Reggie White became the only player in NFL history to join with at least 13 sacks in four consecutive seasons. Speaking of defense, Pittsburgh received a stellar appearance from Ahkello Witherspoon, who started the race in place of injured starter Joe Haden.
The offensive line allowed the Steelers to control the ball for over 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, after the unit had the ball for less than 14 minutes in the first three quarters of the game. Najee Harris ran for 71 hard-earned yards as Johnson continued his glittering campaign in 2021 with an eight-catch, 105-yard and two touchdown performance. Backup lineman John Leglue did a solid job replacing BJ Finney, who left the game in the first half with a back injury.
Why the ravens lost
Baltimore lost despite controlling the ball for almost 37 minutes. The offense largely went away from Murray and Freeman after the duo won the team’s most 75 yards on the game’s opening drive, a drive that ended with Fitzpatrick’s pick.
Baltimore’s defense, after dominating Pittsburgh’s offensive for three quarters, was unable to make a big stop in the fourth quarter. They put little pressure on Roethlisberger, who completed almost 68% of his passes with two touchdowns and no picks.
The Steelers had stabbed on five of their first six drives when they got possession less than a minute from time in the third quarter. After 10-3 and a third and 1 on his own 31, Roethlisberger’s 40-yard completion after Claypool set up Johnson’s first touchdown receptions. The Steelers then went on to score on their last two offensive holdings.
Game of the game
Best game of the game goes to Johnson, whose sixth touchdown of the season finally gave the Steelers the lead. Johnson, a former third-round pick from Toledo, is only 86 yards away from becoming Pittsburgh’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2018.
“Yes, and there won’t be any music either.” – Mike Tomlin (when asked if Watt would ever practice again after spending last week on the COVID-19 list) alluded to Claypool’s comments last week about how he would prefer to have music while practicing to have
Pittsburgh took a quick turn when they headed to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Thursday night. Baltimore’s second of three street games over a period of four weeks takes place next Sunday in Cleveland. The Ravens fought their way to a six-point win over the Browns in Week 12.