Steelers take control of the AFC North with wild win over the Ravens!

November 1st, 2020
by admin

It was again a tale of two halves, this time the Steelers reversed the script, after falling behind 10 points in the first half and struggling on both sides of the ball, they rallied and then held off a furious Ravens attack that saw them turn back two comeback attempts.

The Steelers coaching deserves a great amount of credit for the win. They made half time adjustments and held the Ravens to seven points in the second half after getting nearly run down in the first half and trailing by double digits. The Ravens offense is basic and seems like a middle school coach designed it, but because of the changing dynamic of the NFL as a passing league, teams don’t have enough fire power up front to slow them down and it looked like the Steelers would fall into that. The Ravens pounded out 265 yards and averaged over 5.6 yards a carry, that is more than three times what they had been giving up in previous six games. The methodical offense is tough to stop, and the Steelers struggled most of the day with stopping it.

After a tough first half, the defense turned it around and kept Lamar Jackson in check and caused four turnovers including two in the red zone. On the first passing situation of the game, Robert Spillane picked off Jackson and ran it back for a touchdown. While the front seven struggled on run defense, for the most part they had the answer for Jackson. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree had a sack each and Dupree caused a Jackson fumble in the red zone. Stephon Tuitt anchored the front and chipped in with nine tackles and two big sacks. Rookie Alex Highsmith helped keep the momentum in the second half with a big interception. Isiah Buggs made the play of the day, stopping Lamar Jackson and causing a fumble on a mad dash play late in the fourth quarter. Buggs was filling in for an injured Tyson Alualu.

The secondary missed several big opportunities but were strong in run support. While Jackson’s numbers were mediocre, he made several key plays including converting a fourth-and-2 with a 22-yard pass, a second-and-22 and a third-and-14 and he kept the Ravens in it until the last play of the game.

Ben Roethlisberger led a struggling offense that was dormant from the second half of last week’s game to the first half of this week’s game. He went 17 for 22 for 166 yards of his 182 yards on the day. The Steelers abandoned the running game after the first half and spread the Ravens defense out going with a five-receiver set on several plays, and Roethlisberger would audible out of the play depending on what the defense showed. It was great field generalship and his play v. Jackson’s play was the key differentiator in the game. No turnovers and he played within his capabilities.

JuJu Smith-Schuster was a huge factor in the second half and made several key plays and grinded out some tough yards. He led the team in catches with seven. Chase Claypool had his seventh tough down of the season, which was the subsequent game winner and five catches. Eric Ebron had four catches and James Conner had three.

While the stats are ugly, the results aren’t. Starting with the best record in franchise history is something to behold. The Steelers made the necessary changes and bent but never broke and with a mediocre performance on both sides of the ball held off their arch-rivals.


My “GAME BEER” goes to: Isiah Buggs, There were players who had better stats, and even some flashier plays, but it was Buggs huge stop and forced fumble on Lamar Jackson at the end of the fourth quarter that nearly iced the Ravens. He came off his block and creamed Jackson. It was the biggest stop of the day, after Buggs at times struggled to fill in for Tyson Alualu. Also Considered: Robert Spillane who had a huge pick six to start the game, JuJu Smith-Schuster who had some of the toughest yards and catches you will see.

Where I watched the game: We had more family this week, and the “Steal the other team’s snacks”, was Maryland style Crab Cake Sliders. They were KGB’s usual outstanding fare with three dipping sauces. The Steelers scored one of their go-ahead scores in the 3rd quarter when they arrived. The beer for me was Narraganset Lager (In a “Jaws” themed can.). For KGB, Billy and Ally it was Montauk Pumpkin Beer with a cinnamon sugar rim for Dante homemade Root Beer!

My Stat of the week: It was a milestone for the Steelers most underrated person…Mike Tomlin, winning his 140th game, passing former Steeler player and coach Tony Dungy for the most wins by an African American coach. Given Dungy’s status in the NFL and Tomlin’s relationship with him, it had to be extremely gratifying. Tomlin never gets the credit he deserves and even worse he gets derided some time, because people want change for changes sake. Whatever your feeling, the numbers speak for themselves and are irrefutable, he helps the team put a quality product on the field every week and he is a great coach. I love Tony Dungy and his ties to Chuck Noll and the Steelers.

My Thoughts on next week: Scared to death. Everything I just wrote about Mike Tomlin, I stand behind. He is the best Coach in the NFL not named Bill Belichick, however his Achilles heel throughout his tenure, has been losing to inferior NFC teams on the road. Especially after beating a tough rival like the Ravens. (Plus KGB and I were supposed to be at this game.) Contrary to popular belief, next week is not a guarantee. The Steelers need to rebound on defense and put the Cowboys away early.

This week’s Jersey: Troy Polamalu, #43 Away Jersey. Always one of my favorites, the newly minted Hall of Famer jersey has filled in as my gamer a few times.

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