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Ravens vs. Steelers final recap: A Classic Heartbreaker

What else would you expect from this matchup?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

Add another classic to the books, unfortunately.

The Ravens couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, losing the coin toss and having Lamar Jackson throwing his first career pick-six on the game’s third play from scrimmage to go down 7-0 to the visiting Steelers.

Lamar seemed unfazed after the early mistake, going back to the air on the first play of the following drive with a 14-yard strike to Miles Boykin up the middle of the field. A very suspect unnecessary roughness penalty on the Steelers kept the Ravens’ drive alive, followed by a 34-yard Snead catch-and-run to set up a beautiful, under-pressure touchdown strike to Boykin in the corner of the endzone to tie up the game at seven apiece.

The Steelers’ offense finally stepped on the field, starting off with an underwhelming one-yard loss by James Conner on the left side. Two plays later, an absolutely terrible pass interference penalty was called on Marcus Peters down the right sideline to bail the Steelers out of a third-and-long. The “Juiceman” recovered on the very next play in very 2020 Ravens fashion, stripping rookie darling Chase Claypool on a pass to the right and recovering the ball himself, an enjoyable trend that Baltimore corners seem insistent on continuing when playing Pittsburgh.

The Ravens’ offense got off to a great start on the next drive, pounding in the run game and breaking one off to the right with Dobbins going for 28 down inside the Steelers’ 10 yard line. Unfortunately, that gain was followed up with a disappointing one-yard keeper from Lamar and a pass play during which he held onto the ball for far too long, allowing Bud Dupree to strip the ball and turn it over for the Steelers.

The Ravens defense then stepped up big once again, allowing one first down to the Steelers before shutting them down and forcing another punt.

The next drive fizzled out quickly after a brutal ankle injury to newly-extended star left tackle Ronnie Stanley, which will play a significant role in how the Ravens’ season goes from here.

Luckily, the defense continued their dominant first half performance on the Steelers’ next possession, only allowing one first down before forcing another punt.

On their fifth possession of the game, the Ravens got back to what they do best, running the ball eight times for 69 yards and a Gus Edwards one-yard touchdown and soaking up more than five game minutes in the process.

Disaster nearly struck on the following Steelers’ possession, with Matthew Judon getting ejected after inserting himself into a scuffle between Marcus Peters and Diontae Johnson, hitting an official in the process. The defense held strong, however, and a DeShon Elliott sack forced the Steelers to punt from inside Ravens territory.

The Ravens made their final possession of the first half count in a big way, running 15 plays to cover 60 yards, capped off with a bullseye Justin Tucker field goal to head into the half up 17-7. The much-hyped Steelers offense ended the half with zero points scored, one trip into Ravens territory, and no third down conversion on three attempts.

The Ravens defense came out of the half still feeling it and forced the Steelers to punt once again despite allowing a 24-yard gain on the first play.

This setback was quickly overcome by the Steelers, however, as they picked off Jackson on the Ravens’ first offensive play and converted a wide open touchdown to Eric Ebron on their second play of the following drive.

The Ravens then had their first three-and-out of the game, and Pittsburgh capitalized with a methodical 10-play drive ending in a one-yard touchdown rush by James Conner.

The two rivals then traded defensive stops before the Ravens went on a hard fought, eight-play touchdown drive that included a sack, a called-back Lamar touchdown run, and a failed challenge on Marquise Brown endzone grab before he sealed the deal.

Pittsburgh upped the ante on the very next drive with some help from the officials, capping off a seven-play drive with a touchdown pass to Claypool in the corner of the endzone to go up 28-24 over the Ravens with 7:29 left in the final quarter.

The Ravens would take the field for what, at one time, looked to be their last possession, putting on a classic display of hard-nosed Ravens running that led them 69 yards down the field before they were stopped on a Lamar Jackson fourth down draw that was stopped two yards short of the first down marker.

The vicious Ravens defense would hand their offense one final possession, however, stopping the Steelers on a fourth-and-three to force a punt.

Lamar Jackson’s offense made quite the effort to get down almost inside the Steelers redzone, but ultimately fell short on an incomplete pass to the endzone as time expired.

Regardless of how hard the team fought to give themselves a chance at the end, it was Lamar’s first losing effort in a game he led at halftime, and the Ravens will now face a difficult battle to regain the division lead as they head into their season’s toughest stretch right as the Steelers end theirs. Hopefully this gut-wrenching loss inspires the team to go on a run in the second half of the season, but it’s starting to look like this offense has a tall hill to climb if the team is to have any hope for postseason success.