The Baltimore Ravens improved to 3-2 with a critical divisional win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. In what was an ugly slugfest of a game, a couple of players made the difference in the end. No player had a bigger impact on the outcome of the game than cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
Humphrey, as well as fellow cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Maurice Canady all had strong performances against Pittsburgh. Humphrey was the player to deliver the best play of the day, however, effectively saving the game in overtime.
Despite making the play of his career last Sunday, it wasn’t a perfect game for Humphrey. Near the end of the first quarter, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph connected with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 35-yard touchdown and Pittsburgh’s first of the day. After allowing Smith-Schuster to go free by colliding into Carr on the play, Humphrey had the chance to save the touchdown after recovering. Instead of making a secure tackle to keep Smith-Schuster from the endzone, Humphrey attempted to punch the ball from his hands. This backfired as Smith-Schuster was able to shed Humphrey and waltz into the end zone.
Despite giving up the touchdown by attempting to punch the ball free, Humphrey was not discouraged. With the game on the line after failing to put up points on their first offensive possession in overtime, Humphrey delivered the biggest play of the day for the Ravens. Needing just a field goal to win the game at this point, the Steelers put the ball in the hands of their best playmaker—Smith-Schuster.
Just as before, Humphrey met Smith-Schuster in the open field. Unlike before, however, this time Humphrey delivered a powerful punch straight to the football, sending it flying from Smith-Schuster’s grip. The ball bounced in the Baltimore’s favor and stayed in bounds where Humphrey was able to recover it. Taking over with such good field position, the Ravens only had to run a few more plays on offense before Justin Tucker trotted out to kick the game-winning field goal.