Take-home points from Baltimore Ravens win over Steelers
By Darin McCann
The Baltimore Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-23 Here are the take home points:
The Baltimore Ravens moved to 3-2 for the season with a road overtime win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. To paraphrase from Dickens: It was the best of times. It stunk on ice.
Obviously, a win over Pittsburgh is a treasured thing, regardless its aesthetic charms, or lack thereof. In a few days, this will even feel good. Probably. Maybe?
Either way, there’s a lot to digest here. Let’s take a look at it while it’s all still pretty fresh.
• The Ravens started out pretty well on offense, relentlessly pounding away in the run game with quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back Mark Ingram. They weren’t breaking off big plays, but they were moving forward, while sprinkling in some completions to Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown. Once Brown went out with an ankle injury, everything stopped. Without that threat of speed, and a relentless Pittsburgh front seven, nothing seemed right after that.
• The Ravens convincingly lost the line of scrimmage on both sides. They were physically beaten throughout.
• When Lamar Jackson brought the Ravens into field goal range to force overtime, with the help of completions to Willie Snead and Ingram and a horrible roughing the passer penalty on the Steelers, I felt we were watching his redemption from a bad performance on his part. But it was Marlon Humphrey who earned his own redemption, punching out the ball from receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster after he tried and failed that same move earlier in the game.
• Speaking of Ravens heroes, Justin Tucker was amazing, even by his standards. He nailed a difficult field goal to force overtime, hit another one to win it and consistently pinned the Steelers down with high, short kickoffs. Mike Tomlin suggested he decided to defer the overtime kickoff because he wasn’t confident the Steelers wouldn’t be pinned down again by another Tucker kickoff.
• The refs were awful. Absolutely awful. Both teams were victims and recipients of horrendous calls, which doesn’t really make it better, does it?
• L.J. Fort made a great tackle on the opening kickoff to pin the Steelers on their own 11. Josh Bynes later had an interception on a wildcat throw. Nice debut, gentlemen.
• Hayden Hurst made some nice contributions today. I’m a huge fan of the Ravens three tight ends, and if the Ravens offense is going to get really going, Hurst needs to play a part. He gets open and catches the ball. He’s on a short list of Ravens who are doing that right now.
• That’s an unfortunate injury for Tony Jefferson. He catches a ton of heat from some Ravens fans, but on a defense with a lot of new faces, Jefferson was and is an important voice in that locker room.
• Speaking of injuries, it was terrifying to see Mason Rudolph motionless on the field following that hit by Earl Thomas. Smarter people than me will determine the legality of the hit, but all of us should be united in wishing Rudolph a full and speedy recovery. This is real-life stuff.
• Jackson should have hit Seth Roberts for the winning touchdown before Tucker nailed the tying kick. That’s a pass Jackson needs to connect on. Every time.
• The Ravens needed this win. It didn’t show that any problems have been fixed, but it counted as a road division win, and those are big. They have a lot of problems, and some just won’t get fixed this year. But if they want to be competitive this year, and they should since the division is certainly winnable, they need to start tightening up the ship.
• The Steelers played hard today. Don’t expect them to just roll over, despite their record.