“No Lamar, No Problem” as the Ravens Defeat the Steelers in Pittsburgh
They say in the game of football it takes a team to win. That statement could not have been more true for the Ravens on Sunday as they needed a total team effort to sneak past the Steelers by a final of 16-14. The Ravens knew they would be without starting quarterback Lamar Jackson as he continues to recover from a knee sprain. That meant backup Tyler Huntley who started in place of Jackson for four games last season would get the start again. What the Ravens did not anticipate for was that undrafted rookie quarterback Anthony Brown, who has spent the entire season on the practice squad, would be called upon to replace an injured Tyler Huntley.
The Ravens got the scoring started midway through the third quarter on a Justin Tucker 42-yard field goal, and would follow that drive up with a J.K. Dobbins four-yard touchdown run on their next possession to take a 10-0 lead.
Steelers starting quarterback Kenny Pickett was nocked out of the game with a concussion on the Steelers second possession of the game. Backup Mitch Trubisky, who began the year as the starter, took over for Pickett in relief. On Trubisky’s first drive he led the Steelers down to the Ravens one yard line before handing it off to Najee Harris for the one-yard score to close the Ravens lead 10-7 at the end of the first.
After a failed fourth down conversion by the Ravens on the Steelers side of the field. Trubisky and the Steelers offense once again moved right down the field. On second down from the Ravens 17 yard line Trubisky made his first of three mistakes on the day. Looking over the middle Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith read the pass jumping in front of the ball for the interception, his first as a Raven.
The Ravens would turn the Smith interception into points with a Tucker 35-yard field goal to take a 13-7 lead.
With just a minute remaining in the first half Trubisky was looking to give the Steelers some momentum going into the locker room. Trubisky quickly moved the Steelers into Ravens territory. With just 26 seconds left in the second quarter at the Ravens 23 yard line, Trubisky would throw his second interception this time to a leaping Patrick Queen. Queen’s interception would preserve the Ravens six point lead heading into the locker room.
A Steelers punt on their first drive of the second half looked to keep the momentum on the Ravens side as they looked to increase their lead and put the game away with their first offensive possession. In four plays Huntley and the Ravens got the ball to midfield. Facing a third and four Huntley looked to scramble coming up short of the first down but taking a huge hit in the process. Huntley would get up slowly and would be taken into the blue medical tent on the sideline before eventually being taking into the locker room.
With Huntley’s status for the remainder of the game up in the air at this point. The Steelers touchdown on this possession could prove to be the difference. But once again a Mitch Trubisky interception would stall a promising Steelers drive. A deep pass intended for Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson was picked off in stride by Ravens safety Marcus Williams in his first game back since coming off injured reserve with a wrist injury.
Third string quarterback Anthony Brown took over for the injured Huntley, who would be officially ruled out after being placed in concussion protocol. Brown was elevated to the active roster for Sunday’s game to backup Huntley, but was now thrust into action at a critical point in the game. On his first play Brown would complete his first NFL pass, a four-yard completion to Demarcus Robinson. But in all Brown’s first drive didn’t muster much yardage as the Ravens were forced to punt giving the ball back to the Steelers to start the fourth quarter.
Looking for any kind of points the Steelers once again drove down into Ravens territory. A sack on second down by Tyus Bowser forced the Steelers into a third and long. An incompletion on third down would force the Steelers to try a 40-yard Chris Boswell field goal. However, Calais Campbell would put his long arms up blocking the kick, something that he has done so well in his 15-year NFL career.
With just over 11 minutes left in the game Brown and the Ravens took over looking to bleed as much clock as possible while trying to come away with some kind of points. A heavy dose of Dobbins and Edwards got the Ravens down to the Steelers 13 yard line. After failing to convert on third down the Ravens finished off a 13 play 57 yard drive that took up nearly eight minutes with a Tucker 30-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 16-7 lead with just over three minutes to play.
The Steelers needed to work quickly on their next possession to keep their hopes of winning alive. With the help of two pass interference penalties on cornerback Marlon Humphrey the Steelers got the ball down to the Ravens 10 yard line. Tribusky would find his tight end Pat Freiermuth for 10-yard touchdown to cut the lead to two with 2:30 left in the game.
The Steelers would elect to kickoff deep rather then attempt an onside kick and try to stop the Ravens in hopes they could get the ball back with better field position.
The attempt would fail however as on third down Gus Edwards ran off the right side picking up the first down and clinching a Ravens win over the Steelers.
It was a total group effort as the Ravens relied on their defense and run game to get the job done against a stingy Steelers team. Anthony Brown did what he needed to do in his first NFL game in a hostile environment, while Tyler Huntley was efficient, not turning the ball over and doing just enough to keep drives alive, before going down with an injury.
The Ravens move to 9-4, and 3-0 within the AFC north on the season keeping pace with the Bengals who also moved to 9-4. The Steelers are now 5-8, and 1-3 in the AFC north, after Sunday’s loss with their hopes of returning to the playoffs all but over.
With the status of Lamar Jackson for next week still in question and the health of Tyler Huntley up in the air. The Ravens may need to continue to rely heavily on its defense as Anthony Brown could be in line to make his first career NFL start. The Ravens are set to head to Cleveland for a Saturday matchup against the now Deshaun Watson led Browns. The Ravens defeated the Browns in week seven in Baltimore by a final of 23-20.
Tyler Huntley (concussion) Day-to-Day
Justin Tucker became the Ravens All-Time leading scorer on Sunday surpassing Matt Stover, Tucker has 1,473 points in 10 seasons.
J.K. Dobbins rushed for 120 yards on Sunday, his third career 100 yard rushing game.
The Ravens had five players tied for the most tackles on the team with six.
With his interception on Sunday Patrick Queen now his two on the season, his most in a season in his career.
Marcus Williams recorded his fourth interception on the season.