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Winners and Losers from the Steelers' 28-24 win over the Ravens

Updated: Nov 4, 2020



Winners

Robert Spillane – On the third offensive play of the game, Spillane picked off Lamar Jackson and returned it 33 yards for a score to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead. Spillane has started two games and has made a big play in each one of them. Last week against Tennessee, he collided head-on with Derrick Henry on a third-and-goal play and stopped the big running back from going in for a touchdown. Spillane also had a team-high 11 total tackles (10 solos), a tackle for loss, two passes defended and a fumble recovery.

Bud Dupree – After Claypool’s fumble, the Ravens had great field position at the Steelers’ 44-yard line. Jackson and company couldn’t capitalize on the turnover, however. On second-and-goal from the Steelers’ 8-yard line, Dupree had a strip-sack on Jackson and Vince Williams came up with the recovery.

Alex Highsmith – On the first offensive play of the second half for the Ravens, Jackson got picked off by Highsmith, which set up the offense with great field position at the Ravens’ 21-yard line. Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger completed to a wide-open Eric Ebron for an 18-yard catch-and-run touchdown to shorten the Ravens’ lead to 17-14.


Ben Roethlisberger – After going 4 of 10 for 24 yards and having a quarterback rating of 47.9 in the first half, Roethlisberger bounced-back in the second half and was 17 of 22 (77.3%) for 158 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 126.7. Two plays after Highsmith picked off Jackson early in the third quarter, Roethlisberger found a wide-open Ebron for an 18-yard touchdown to cut the Ravens lead to 17-14. The defense would follow with a three-and-out and give the ball back to the offense. Roethlisberger would lead the offense on a 10-play, 77-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a James Conner 1-yard rushing touchdown to give the Steelers a 21-17 lead. The drive took 6:10 off the clock and Roethlisberger was 6 of 6 for 65 yards on the drive. Ray-Ray McCloud was interfered by Terrell Bonds on a pass as well that moved the ball 20 yards on the drive. Roethlisberger would lead the offense to another scoring drive when down 28-24 with 11:52 remaining in the game. It was an eight-play, 80-yard drive that was completed with a Roethlisberger 8-yard touchdown pass to Chase Claypool to give the Steelers a 28-24 lead that they wouldn’t surrender. Roethlisberger completed seven straight passes on the drive going 7 of 8 for 45 yards. Chuck Clark grabbed McCloud's facemask after a 6-yard reception on the third play of the drive that tacked on 15 more yards. Claypool also drew a pass interference penalty on Marlon Humphrey on the drive that moved the ball from the Steelers’ 39-yard line to the 19-yard line. Overall, Roethlisberger finished the game 21 of 32 (65.6%) for 182 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 101.3.

JuJu Smith-Schuster – Smith-Schuster led the team in receptions and yards, catching seven passes on eight targets for 67 yards, an average of 9.6 yards per reception. Smith-Schuster had four receptions for 22 yards on the game-winning drive that gave the Steelers a 28-24 lead with 7:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. Smith-Schuster also displayed some grit on that drive by powering his way through Humphrey to get 2 yards on a third-and-1 play after catching a screen pass. It was a real solid effort by Smith-Schuster as he continued to grind throughout the game after not being targeted at all in the first half.

Isaiah Buggs – The Steelers had a 28-24 lead with 2:00 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Ravens were facing a fourth-and-3 from the Steelers’ 8-yard line. This is the play where the game all came down to. Jackson dropped back and ran the ball on a draw play and was stopped short of the first down marker thanks to Buggs fighting off a block and tackling Jackson. Minkah Fitzpatrick forced Jackson to fumble on the play and Spillane came up with the recovery, but Buggs was the biggest contributor to stopping Jackson on the play. Buggs had five total tackles (three solos) and a quarterback hit in the game.


Jordan Berry – With the Steelers backed up on their own 15-yard line and leading 28-24 with 58 seconds remaining in the game, they needed a big punt from Berry, and he delivered. Berry had a 48-yard punt with great hangtime that was fair caught by James Proche II at the Ravens’ 37-yard line. Berry’s prevented a punt and the Ravens needed to drive down the field 63 yards to take the lead and possibly the win. The ball was on the Steelers’ 23-yard line on the final play of the game with 5 seconds remaining and Jackson’s pass intended for Willie Snead IV was broken up by Fitzpatrick to clinch the Steelers’ 28-24 win. Berry shanked his first punt of the game, traveling only 34 yards, but overall he had a solid day. Berry punted six times with an average of 42.2 yards and a net average of 39.7 yards, but no punt was more crucial than his final one, which made a big difference in field position and prevented Proche from possibly making a game-changing play.

Stephon Tuitt – Tuitt created havoc all day against the Ravens’ offensive line. Tuitt was second on the team in total tackles with nine (eight solos) and led the team in sacks with two. He also had three tackles for a loss and three quarterback hits. It was another dominating performance by Tuitt as he continues to be on a tear this season.

T.J. Watt – Watt was also all over the field today for the defense with five total tackles (four solos), a sack and five quarterback hits. Watt had a great play on Jackson in the third quarter when he tackled Jackson at the mesh point on a read-option.

Sacks – After sacking Jackson five times in Week 5 last year, their only meeting against Jackson in 2019, the Steelers sacked the reigning MVP four times today. The Steelers have recorded a sack now in 64 straight games. The NFL record is set at 69, which was accomplished by the Buccaneers from 1999 to 2003.


Losers

First-half offense – The offense scored no points in the first half and just couldn't get anything going. Conner had some success running the ball (nine carries for 42 yards), but Ben Roethlisberger and his wide receivers struggled to connect. The Ravens brought the blitz often and played a lot of man-to-man coverage, especially in third-and-long situations that flustered Roethlisberger. As well, the wide receivers struggled to create any type of separation on the Ravens’ cornerbacks. The Steelers had just 64 total yards of offense in the first half compared to Baltimore’s 254 total yards. The Steelers also were 0 for 3 on third downs and had just five first downs. Roethlisberger was 4 of 10 for 24 yards in the first half and had a quarterback rating of 47.9. The lack of offense and sustaining drives hurt the defense as well as the Ravens controlled the clock 20:09-9:51 in the first half and had 179 yards rushing. You could see that the defense was just worn out from being on the field for the majority of the half.

Run defense – Coming into the game the Ravens had the No. 1 rushing attack, averaging 164.3 yards per game and the Steelers ranked second in run defense, allowing 68.8 yards per game. The Ravens dominated the line of scrimmage and got the run game going from the start. With 7:24 remaining in the second quarter, the Ravens already had 131 yards rushing and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Baltimore had 69 yards rushing on their nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was finished off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Gus Edwards. The Ravens rushed for 179 yards and averaged 6.4 yards per carry in the first half. Baltimore surpassed their per game averaged of 164.3 rushing yards per game just in the first half. In total, the defense allowed the Ravens to rush for 265 yards in the game, an average of 5.6 yards per carry. J.K. Dobbins rushed for 113 yards on 15 carries, averaging 7.5 yards per carry. It was the first 100-yard rusher that the defense allowed all year. According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 265 yards rushing by the Ravens was the most rushing yards allowed by a Steelers' defense since the Seahawks had 267 yards on 28 carries on Dec. 26, 1993.


Late hit penalty – After a 33-yard pick-six by Spillane to give the Steelers an early 7-0 lead, the Ravens’ offense answered on their next possession with a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass by Jackson to Miles Boykin on third-and-goal to tie the game at 7-7. The scoring drive was aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty called on Cameron Heyward for hitting Jackson late out of bounds. The penalty was called on a third-and-7 play and Jackson was stopped well short of the first down marker. It was a weak call by the officials as Jackson was still moving his feet and not out of bounds yet while Fitzpatrick was trying to bring him to the ground. Heyward was just trying to finish the play.


Third-down offense and defense – The offense was 3 of 9 on third downs in the game. They especially struggled in third-and-long situations when the Ravens brought the blitz and played man coverage. Randy Fichtner also had some questionable calls in third-and-long situations. The defense was not much better, allowing the Ravens to convert 8 of 13 on third downs. The biggest let down on third down was when Jackson completed a 39-yard pass to Devin Duvernay on third-and-14 on a drive that resulted in the Ravens scoring a touchdown to take a 24-21 lead with 11:56 left in the fourth quarter.

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