Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens: Final Score, Highlights and Analysis
The Pittsburgh Steelers have defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-20.
The Steelers desperately needed a win to keep their hopes of winning the division afloat—and perhaps even to keep their playoff dreams alive.
The Ravens, on the other hand, felt secure in their position in the division, but need to keep winning to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs.
After the game, the Steelers advance to 7-5, while the Ravens drop to 9-3 and out of a first-round bye.
Charlie Batch led all passers with 276 yards and a touchdown, Ray Rice led all runners with 12 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown and Heath Miller led all receivers with five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Injuries to watch: Terrell Suggs left the game with an apparent arm injury. Ike Taylor was out after the first quarter with an ankle injury.
Here are some images from today's game.
One thing that cannot be blamed for this loss was the use of Ray Rice. He only had twelve carries, but the Ravens' running game had its chances.
If you want to blame the Ravens' coaches for this loss, though, that's pretty easy to do. They were conservative at the wrong times, played undisciplined and wasted timeouts. John Harbaugh deserves an absolute F for his coaching performance today.
Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley, though, deserve A's. The Steelers played motivated, and other than some stupid mistakes, played a very smart game. There were three stupid turnovers from the Steelers, but otherwise they near flawless.
Final: It's hard to say whether the Steelers won that game or the Ravens lost it. I would say a little of both.
Give Charlie Batch the game ball for this one. He was spectacular, taking what the defense gave him, which was a lot. He was clutch when it counted to end the game as well.
The Steelers clearly just wanted this game more. Their running backs were running aggressively, they were exploiting the Ravens' weaknesses and they were getting after Joe Flacco.
The Ravens, on the other hand, played lethargic for most of this game. Joe Flacco played perhaps his worst game this season. His accuracy was abysmal, and his usually solid decision making was rookie-like today.
The Ravens' pass rush was also embarrassingly slow in this game. They got literally no pressure on most pass plays. Paul Kruger was being double-teamed, and the rest of the Ravens were powerless to get off single blockers.
That was a huge win for the Steelers. Congratulations to them.
:02 in Fourth Quarter: This is the game. Suisham's leg will decide this game. The Steelers have earned this win, let's see if Suisham can seal it.
1:00 in Fourth Quarter: Opposing kickers have only missed one field goal against the Ravens all season. The Ravens will need a bigger miracle than 4th-and-29 to win this game.
1:46 in Fourth Quarter: Speaking of poor coaching decisions, the Ravens also wasted a time out on a stupid challenge at the beginning of the second half. That was crucial.
1:50 in Fourth Quarter: That's the game. Assuming Shaun Suisham makes the field goal, the Steelers have won this game with that personal foul penalty on Paul Kruger.
2:00 in Fourth Quarter: And I'll say it again, the Ravens made a big mistake taking a knee to end the first half. Thirty seconds and multiple timeouts would have been enough for a field goal, considering that the Ravens had all the momentum at that point. Instead of playing to win, they played not to lose, and I think it will cost them now.
2:00 in Fourth Quarter: Give Todd Haley credit for calling a beautiful game. He's attacking at the Ravens' weak points, the intermediate middle of the field and short, outside passes. The Ravens corners are too stiff-hipped to handle all these screens, and the Ravens' linebackers are too slow in coverage to effectively cover the middle of the field in zone.
3:00 in Fourth Quarter: It doesn't mean much, but when the Steelers hit a pile in the running game, it moves forward a few yards. When the Ravens hit a pile in their running game, it's stopped cold. The Steelers have been the more physical football team today.
5:00 in Fourth Quarter: Terrell Suggs came off the field clutching his wrist. That's not good for the Ravens.
6:24 in Fourth Quarter: Joe Flacco is absolutely killing the Ravens today. He's been inaccurate, indecisive and turnover prone. He missed an open Tandon Doss over the middle on second down, then failed to read the blitz on third down.
7:24 in Fourth Quarter: What a catch and play by Heath Miller! The Ravens saw it coming and they still couldn't defend it thanks to the superior effort from Miller. The Flacco fumble proved absolutely crucial.
9:41 in Fourth Quarter: James Harrison gets the strip-sack! Terrible, terrible mistake from Joe Flacco, and embarrassing effort in blocking from Michael Oher. Harrison made the veteran strip, though.
10:59 in Fourth Quarter: Ed Reed with the interception! The interception itself was perfect, the run afterwards less so, but it worked. Reed took the ball out of the endzone past the 20 yard line, but gave everyone a scare in doing so. That should make up for all the times Reed has been beaten today.
12:50 in Fourth Quarter: The Steelers running backs are running liked greased pigs on this drive. They simply cannot be tackled! Great efforts from both Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman.
:37 in Third Quarter: What a joke. Joe Flacco 100% got that ball out on that sack, but the refs called him down to protect him. I know it's to protect the quarterback, but that hit was not going to hurt Flacco. Let the players play.
Nice pressure from Larry Foote, at least.
1:58 in Third Quarter: Again Batch found an open receiver in the middle of the field, but this time Bernard Pollard had just good enough position to lay a lick on Emmanuel Sanders. The big hit forced the ball loose and forced the punt.
3:20 in Third Quarter: The Steelers are starting to get some big passing plays, and they're all coming in that middle portion of the field between the deep safeties and shallow linebackers. There is a big gap in the coverage there on nearly every play, and Batch is taking advantage.
4:50 in Third Quarter: How long has it been since Ray Rice has broken off a long run? Seems like an eternity, but that was refreshing for Ravens fans. A sweet cutback and great blocking set up a quick Rice touchdown to give the Ravens the lead.
7:00 in Third Quarter: The Ravens are some lucky birds. Emmanuel Sanders would have gone the distance, but instead he put the ball on the turf. The Ravens recover, and that might be the break they need to actually get started in this half.
7:57 in Third Quarter: This is a stupid challenge. Batch's arm was clearly going forward. The Ravens are going to have one timeout for the rest of the half.
8:16 in Third Quarter: Penalties kill what was a promising drive for the Ravens. They look flat and undisciplined to start the second half.
9:02 in Third Quarter: So far, the Ravens have given up an easy touchdown and have had to call a timeout. Looks like the Steelers made the better adjustments at half-time.
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