3. Some key improvements:
It’s hard to be too praising of the Ravens’ defense considering that two backup quarterbacks had some success against them. That being said, the defense took steps in the right direction in this game. The linebacker play was much better. Pernell McPhee continued to be one of the best players on the defense. Josh Bynes had an interception in his first game with the Ravens this year. The Steelers didn’t break any big running plays and only gave up 269 total yards.
It seems like Don Martindale has figured out that the defense isn’t going to be dominant and has given way to a bend but don’t break approach. It’s a bit frustrating however the Steelers only had a couple of big plays in this game. They really peppered the Ravens with short and intermediate passing. The Steelers completed a higher percentage of passes than you’d like to see, however they had a lot of high percentage passing attempts. The defense didn’t get gashed and the secondary limited the big plays. That is an improvement (though they still have to do it against better competition).
If you view this defense as a group with a wounded pride and some issues this performance wasn’t horrible. In other words with appropriate assessment of their issues, you can’t be too mad. The defense had a lot to figure out and a little time to do it. The fact that they took some steps in the right direction at all is at least a little encouraging.