Ben Roethlisberger's backyard-style of play came up big in win over Ravens
The Steelers' offense was abysmal in the first half against the Ravens. They scored no points, compiled just 64 total yards of offense and had only five first downs. Roethlisberger was 4 of 10 for 24 yards and had a quarterback rating of 47.9. It was a different story in the second half for the offense and Roethlisberger as they opened things up and started to operate out of the no-huddle. Roethlisberger was efficient in the second half completing 17 of 22 passes (77.3%) for 158 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 126.7.
It was a vintage performance by Roethlisberger, as he made things work on the fly, basically just drawing up plays like he was playing in the schoolyard.
"I was telling the line the protection and moving guys around and playing backyard football if you will," Roethlisberger said in his interview after the game. "I don't know that we called too many quote-unquote plays in the second half when we were in that mode."
The offense had personnel predominantly of three wide receivers, one tight end and a running back in the second half in an empty set. A completely different look than the Ravens' defense saw in the first half, who had two weeks to prepare for the Steelers' offense after coming off a bye week.
"We threw a personnel group at 'em that we hadn't done much before, no (running) backs, and emptied things out," Roethlisberger said. "It just created things, defensive looks and opportunities for us.
"I know my whole career people say that I've always kind of had the playground, backyard football. Today it was in its truest form. There were plays when I would say, 'Hey, JuJu you run this, Ray-Ray you run this,' and they didn't blink and eye. They were able to just do things on the fly and I think that's what makes me most proud today."
Eric Ebron gave the offense a jumpstart early in the third quarter when he had an 18-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, two plays after Alex Highsmith picked off Lamar Jackson on the Ravens' first offensive play of the second half.
“We make adjustments. At the end of the day you make adjustments, that first half we came with a game plan and they punched us in the mouth," Ebron said. "We have to make adjustments. That shows you a good team. I’ve been a part of no adjustments. I’ve been a part of things where we think we got it. We came out here and we made the proper adjustments, we looked within ourselves and we fought. We fought our ass off.”
Ebron credited Roethlisberger for leading the offensive surge in the second half where they scored 21 points to come back and defeat the Ravens, 28-24.
“That’s kind of what I came here for. I came here for that Ben Roethlisberger," Eric Ebron said. "That guy that has trust in his players on the field that we want to go win the drive. I’ve been begging for it. I’m asking Ben, ‘do you want to win, do you want to win, come on we have to do something’. I’m so proud of this team, it’s ridiculous.”