Baltimore Ravens: 5 Reasons They Beat The Steelers
The Baltimore Ravens Took The Fight To The Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers Didn’t Know How To Handle It.
The Baltimore Ravens came into their game against the Steelers with a mission. There is no doubt about that. Pittsburgh got shell shocked in this game. When their fourth quarter march came, it was too late. The Ravens secured a victory when Chris Boswell gave the most comical onside kick in football’s history. However, a Steelers win would have depended on desperate heaves by Ben Roethlisberger with less than a minute to go in the game.
Reason 1: The Ravens Won On All 3 Phases Of The Game
The Ravens offense was not exactly stellar in this game, but it gave the team enough. The special teams and defense of the purple and black prevailed mightily in this game. The Ravens special teams scored a touchdown on a blocked punt. Justin Tucker had two field goals and the defense held the Steelers to 274 total net yards.
The Ravens defense made the Steelers one dimensional. Le’Veon Bell, who has reached superstar status only could muster 32 yards on 14 carries. Roethlisberger couldn’t take over this game. He went 23/45 for 264 yards a touchdown and an interception.
The Ravens offense had a 95 yard touchdown reception by Mike Wallace. They won the battle of time of possession. Was this a day to brag about for the Ravens offense? Absolutely not. Was it good enough to win the game? Absolutely.
Reason 2: The Ravens Took Away Antonio Brown
The Ravens kept the NFL’s best receiver in check. Brown was never able to take over this game. With a clearly brilliant strategy, Dean Pees made the Steelers other players have to beat the Ravens. Brown wasn’t going off in this game and therefore the Steelers offense could not take off.
Pees committed multiple people to Brown on almost every play. Whether it was a linebacker or a safety helping, no cornerback was asked to stop Brown by himself. The Ravens held Brown to seven receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. The best receiver in football is going to make plays. However the Ravens limited these plays in a big way.
Eli Rogers had seven receptions for 103 yards. Bell had six receptions for 38 yards. The Steelers were forced to lean on Rogers and their other players. Rogers had a decent game, but nobody made the Ravens pay.
Reason 3: The Ravens Built A Big Enough Lead
21 was the magic number for the Ravens in this game. The Ravens defense held the Steelers down for almost three entire quarters. The Steelers got put into a position where they had to chuck it down field on almost every play. The Ravens weren’t going to stop the Steelers forever. When the dam started to break, the Ravens lead was enough to last.
The Ravens did a great job of getting off the field on defense. The Steelers were 4 for 16 on third down conversions. Roethlisberger was frustrated and nerve got to get into his groove. The Ravens kept the Steelers in check by keeping them off the field. Every time the Steelers had a chance to get a drive going, the Ravens stopped them.
A rattled Steelers team never found the answers. When the Steelers appeared to be coming back, the Ravens were letting them chew up clock. We live in a results based world. The Ravens strategy ultimately worked.
Reason 4: The Ravens Were Desperate
The Ravens had lost four straight games coming into this battle. The Ravens had won the first three games of the season. It felt like they were building for something. All of the sudden the Ravens were in a moment where all they could do was stop the bleeding. The cost of the four game losing streak doesn’t vanish because of one win, but it certainly stopped the bleeding.
If the Ravens lost this game they would continue to taste the sourness of rock bottom. If the Steelers lost the game they would just be tied with the Steelers. Sure, the Ravens have the lead because of the head to head match up, but with both teams 4-4 it’s essentially a new season. The Ravens aren’t exactly an unreachable freight train right now.
The Ravens needed this win more. The Steelers could blame their losing on the Ben Roethlisberger injury. It would have been silly but you know they could spin it. The Ravens could not spin a fifth straight loss. A loss would have been the breaking point of the Ravens 2016 aspirations.
Reason 5: The Ravens Have The Steelers Number
The Ravens have the Steelers number. It’s a fact and it makes a bigger impact than you might think. The psychology of this rivalry suggests that the team that has had the upper hand has a huge advantage. The Ravens have won four straight against the Steelers and nine of the last 12 games. While many of these games have been close, the Ravens have rocked the Steelers in recent years.
Remember there was a time when the Ravens struggled against Pittsburgh. They were the hurdle that John Harbaugh and a young Joe Flacco could not get over. The Ravens now are a road block that keeps tripping the Steelers. The tables have turned and nobody in Baltimore is in a hurry for them to flip back the other way.
The Baltimore Ravens took care of their arch enemy. They were more prepared, they were more desperate and most of all they played better football. Thursday Night Football is heading towards us quickly. We need the Ravens to get right back to the win column.