Did you expect anything less? Despite seemingly being in control throughout much of the game the Pittsburgh Steelers still needed to hold off the Baltimore Ravens on the final drive of the game to win 23-16. It was a typical AFC North and typical Steelers-Ravens game where there were big hits and tough yards but Black and Gold had just enough on this day to split the season series with the Ravens. Pittsburgh moves to 5-2-1 while Baltimore drops to 4-5.
Despite the important win issues remain on this team. Chris Boswell missed yet another point after touchdown which could have proven more costly than it was. Morgan Burnett, who was brought in partly to cover tight ends looked poor in coverage and only a horrible missed read by Joe Flacco prevented an easy touchdown throw to Lamar Jackson.
The offensive story was once again James Conner. He rushed 24 times for 107 yards and added seven receptions for 56 yards and a score. He continues to prove anyone and everyone who doubted him wrong.
Ben Roethlisberger had a very solid day going 28 for 47 for 270 yards and two scores. He added a rushing touchdown as well. The one sack he took was actually a smart play. Facing third and long at midfield and the Ravens out of timeouts in the fourth the Steelers elected to throw. With no one open and defenders closing in Big Ben took the sack in order to keep the clock running.
He nearly didn’t have a chance to finish the game because of a big hit that knocked the wind out of him. In his one play, Josh Dobbs threw a 22-yard strike to get the Steelers out of trouble. It was arguably the biggest play of the game.
Defensively the Steelers survived. It’s the best way I can put it. They held steadfast in two straight Red Zone opportunities for Baltimore forcing field goals each time. But to be honest, the overall performance was less than I expected. I say this because Baltimore had their starting tackles out for the game between the two of them, T.J Watt and Bud Dupree could only muster one half sack.
That doesn’t take away from the fact the D only gave up 16 points but it does suggest this defense can be even better. With Tom Brady, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees still on the schedule the defense had better be.
The Steelers now have just one AFC North game remaining; the finale at home against the Bengals. In between however are tough opponents and in the immediate future, a quick turnaround for a Thursday night game against a hot Carolina team. Make no mistake, the Steelers are in a great place after a lousy start but all three phases of the game can better and they all know it.
Photo courtesy: USA Today