The second AFC North matchup on the Ravens’ 2018 season occurs, once again, on the road. This time, the Ravens head to Heinz Field in hopes of keeping the Steelers down at the bottom of the division, rather than fighting for the divisional title in mid-December.
Regular season: 20-24
Harbaugh era regular season: 10-10
Harbaugh era post-season: 1-2
Current Streak: 3L
It’s been a rough stretch for the Ravens in their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re currently on a three-game skid, with two defeats coming in heartbreaking fashion.
October — The first matchup of the season featured an ugly demonstration by the Ravens’ offense. They punted five times, there were three turnovers, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs. They couldn’t get the ball moving consistently and scored only nine points, all of which occurred in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Le’Veon Bell broke through the goal-line twice for one-yard touchdowns and the Steelers scored a total of 26 points.
December — Within the first twenty minutes of the game, Bell scored on a 20-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger and a rushing touchdown and put the Ravens down 14-0. On the receiving touchdown, Bell beat Tony Jefferson in coverage and broke tackles from Eric Weddle and C.J. Mosley on his way to the endzone. On the ensuing rushing touchdown, he broke a Jefferson tackle on his way through the goal-line defense for his second score of the night.
Baltimore responded on their next drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Chris Moore. Pittsburgh then responded with a short drive resulting in a field goal. A quick five-play drive by the Ravens afterward scored a second touchdown, closing the deficit to 14-17. Unfortunately, right before half, the Steelers tacked on another completed field goal to push the lead to six.
The Ravens put on the heat in the third quarter, scoring 17 points and creating an 11-point lead at the end of the third frame. But in the fourth, the Ravens defense allow 19 points from the Steelers, and the offense only places another touchdown on the board. With :42 seconds left, Steelers kicker Chris Boswell completed a 46-yard field goal for the 39-38 victory.
Christmas Day — I don’t want to cover this game and I’m certain nobody on this website wants to read about it, but it’s necessary.
The Ravens pushed out to a 20-10 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Tucker knocked a 23-yard field goal through after a failed 3rd & 3 conversion at the Pittsburgh 4-yard line.
What followed the field goal was a six-play, 77-yard touchdown drive by the Steelers. It only took a 21-yard catch by TE Jesse James and a 35-yard pass interference penalty on CB Tavon Young, but it put the Steelers within three points.
After the score by Bell, it was time for the Ravens to respond. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur. A three-and-out which featured seven yards on the ground and a failed third down-pass only killed 1:25 off the clock.
For the second-straight drive, it takes only six plays for the Steelers to drive 90-yards for a consecutive touchdown.
Now, the Ravens were down 24-20 with only 7:16 left in the game. After a 14-play drive, Kyle Juszczyk dove to the endzone, The PAT by Tucker put the Ravens up by three with only 1:18 left in the Christmas matchup. Many knew the Steelers had the firepower to get in Boswell’s field goal range, but the Steelers wanted the win, not the tie.
Ten plays later, Big Ben, on second and goal, found Antonio Brown crossing the middle on a rub-route. The receiver extended the ball across the goalline with only nine seconds left in the game. If he’d been tackled, the game was likely over. The Steelers were without a timeout. They’d be scrambling to get a play off. But that didn’t happen. Even through an Eric Weddle facemask, Brown reached across the goalline for the touchdown. The Steelers won, and crushed the Ravens’ hopes.
Now, the Ravens have a better offense and the Steelers are finally getting back on track after a dismal two-game start.
On Monday Night Football, Roethlisberger reminded everyone he’s not done yet with an incredible passing effort, throwing three passing touchdowns on 30 completions for 353 yards and only one interception. Meanwhile, Flacco’s producing one of his best starts in years. This may become an offensive affair.
Also, Pittsburgh is without Le’Veon Bell, who has scored 10 total touchdowns (7 rushing, 3 receiving) in nine games against Charm City. His replacement is no slouch, but so far, James Conner isn’t quite on Bell’s production level. This will be an interesting matchup and this game is critically important.