The Baltimore Ravens offense was outgained by over 100 yards in last night's 13-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Of the Ravens 200 total yards, only 45 of them were part of the team's two scoring drives. Two Pittsburgh turnovers resulted in two Baltimore field goals. The Ravens offense could not put the ball in the end zone all night for the second time in five road games, yet both ended in wins.
The Ravens got into the Red Zone was early in the game when Ed Reed returned a fumble to the Steelers 12-yard line. three plays could only net four yards and rookie placekicker Justin Tucker hit a short 26-yard FG. Early in the third quarter, the Ravens got the ball at their own 38-yard line after an interception and return by cornerback Corey Graham. While Baltimore drove the ball down to the Pittsburgh 21-yard line, they could not convert on third down and once again settled for a Tucker FG, this time from the 39-yard line.
Anytime the Ravens received the ball via kickoff or punt, they could not sustain a drive long enough to put points on the board. There was a missed field goal in between the Ravens two good ones, but still no touchdowns from the offense. Make no bones about it, the Steelers defense is one of if not statistically the best in the NFL. In addition, how many other teams in the NFL can say they've gone into Heinz Field and won the last three times they've played in Pittsburgh.
Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones scored the team's only touchdown on a 63-yard punt return to turn a 7-3 deficit into a 10-7 lead and Baltimore never trailed again in the game. Jones special teams TD was his third of the year and second game in a row with a score. Take away Jacoby's heroics and there was a good chance that Pittsburgh might have pulled off the upset.
Steelers QB Byron Leftwich looked like the guy who had not played in two years, had not started a game in three years and had not won a game as a starter in six years. At the same time, he still threw for more yards in the game than Joe Flacco (201 vs. 164).
The combination of Steelers running backs Jonathan Dwyer (55 yards) and Rashard Mendenhall (33 yards), outgained the Ravens Ray Rice (40 yards) and Bernard Pierce (8 yards). WR Torrey Smith managed by one insignificant reception for seven yards.
Tight end Dennis Pitta received a concussion early in the game and was replaced by Ed Dickson. With every chance to regain some respect and show he could produce as a starter, Dickson responded with two catches for eight yards.
Jacoby Jones now has those two 105+ yard kickoff returns plus last night's punt return. His production has made him the single most valuable offensive contributor lately and perhaps the most consistent one. The Ravens Special Teams has played excellent on both the returning as well as coverage units.
In the past it was the defense that carried the offense. This year, it started off and there have been repeat appearances of the prolific offense that this team has shown glimpses of, especially at home. However, Jones' performance makes one wonder how the Houston Texans could not only let him go but be glad to get rid of him if you read the comments that were made when the Ravens signed him as a free agent.
Thanks go to the Texans for not only Jones, but for FB Vonta Leach and safety Bernard Pollard. Their losses have been our gains three times over and Jones recent highlights have been proof positive the past two weeks in a row and three times this season.