This first half was exactly what we all expected. Two tough teams playing hard football. The game started with the Ravens getting freebie yards on an ugly kickoff from Chris Boswell, following up his terrible onside kick from last matchup. The Ravens get into Pittsburgh territory and choke it away. The Steelers then drive 87 yards on nine plays to score. Le’Veon Bell finally gained room on the ground against Baltimore, with 39 yards on the opening drive.
After the initial drives, Baltimore consistently landed into Pittsburgh territory, but it ended in only six points. One kick failed as the snap was too high for Sam Koch to recover and place on the ground, others occured by Flacco hanging on too long or the offense not completing their tasks. In the end, the halftime score is 7-6 Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense didn’t have to do much on the initial drive. In fact, they let Le’Veon Bell and the offensive line dictate the first drive. Once the Ravens stacked the box too tight, Ben tossed a touchdown to TE Xavier Grimble.
Ravens offense needs to finish drives. Winning a game in Pittsburgh is much easier with touchdowns instead of hopeful field goals. Get that ball into the endzone.
The offense gets frightened too quickly. If they’re behind in the down and distance they choke up on the passes, resulting in punts.
Baltimore is finally adjusting on defense. After the initial attack the Ravens haven’t allowed the Steelers to score. Stuffing the run is much more noticeable, and the linebackers aren’t second guessing anymore.
Antonio Brown still hasn’t done damage against the Ravens. His only noteworthy play, a shove-off to get separation, resulting in a flag.
The offense is starting to find holes on the ground and through the air. Steve Smith Sr. is playing like a man possessed and I expect him to continue throughout this game. Get the ‘old man’ the football and let him work. Don’t get one-dimensional though, get Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon going, work in the play-action, find where Pittsburgh’s defense is soft.