In an unusual Wednesday night divisional game, the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers took down the Baltimore Ravens 19-14. The game was supposed to be played on Thanksgiving Day but got pushed back numerous times due to COVID-19, forcing a unique Wednesday game.
After a slew of turnovers, the Steelers scored first with a pick six from cornerback Joe Haden to take the 6-0 lead. Kicker Chris Boswell would then miss the PAT. The Ravens then went three and out forcing them to punt, where they were given a gift when Steelers special teams had a muffed catch giving them the ball on the opposing 16-yard line. They took advantage as quarterback Robert Griffin III handed the ball to running back Gus Edwards for the score. To cap off an eventful third quarter the Steelers had a long 12-play drive that would result in a field goal bringing their score to a 9-7 over Baltimore.
The second quarter became very sloppy as both teams struggled to drive the ball. After another three and out by the Ravens, the Steelers finally put together a drive. During this drive, wide receiver Chase Claypool hauled in a 22-yard catch to bring them in field goal range. After failing to score in the red zone the Steelers knocked in another field goal to extend their lead to 12-7.
The second half was all defense, as both teams failed to find receivers open downfield, forcing punts to end most drives. At the end of the third quarter, the Steelers finally had a sufficient drive. After marching down 61 yards, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster hauled in a 1-yard touchdown to extend the Steelers lead to 19-7. With a few minutes left in the game, the Ravens made a last ditch effort. Marquise Brown managed to break free in the clutch with a 70-yard touchdown run to make the game a one score game. Unfortunately, this would be too late as the Steelers managed the clock and brought the game to a close, securing the win.
The Steelers currently have the best record in the league at 11-0. This is a major accomplishment as only 18 teams in the history of the NFL have done this. Even though the Steelers walked away with another win, they were very unsatisfied with the gameplay they produced. Head coach Mike Tomlin stated, “To be bluntly honest, I’m really disappointed in our performance tonight.” He followed this up with: “We did enough to win tonight, that’s all.” Throughout the game, Pittsburgh only managed to enter the red zone four times and only scored on one attempt. Tomlin’s aim for perfection has been one of the factors that have led his team to success, but being this vocal about your team to the press usually has negative effects.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had some of the worst accuracy he has displayed all season, along with throwing one interception. Roethlisberger was enraged after the game, stating, “We won, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.”
Due to COVID-19 struggles, the Ravens entered the game without 13 players, including last year’s MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, top two running backs J.K Dobbins and Mark Ingram, and Pro-Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard, a UMaine alum. Backup quarterback and 2012 Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin got to make his first start of the year. He continued with his recent struggles, only completing nine passes for 90 yards and throwing an interception.
This win was colossal for the Steelers as it eliminated any possibility of the Ravens winning the division. They continue to dominate this season and remain as the league’s only undefeated team. However, the Ravens are said to have one of the easier schedules to end their season, giving them the potential for a playoff push.