Ben Roethlisberger capped off his stellar 18-year career by leading the Steelers to an upcoming win in Baltimore. A year later, Roethlisberger’s successor, Kenny Pickett, led Pittsburgh to a dramatic last-minute win in Baltimore that kept the Steelers’ hopes alive.
A month after leaving the first Steelers-Ravens game early, Pickett’s game-winning pass to Nagy Harris lifted Pittsburgh to a 16-13 victory. The victory keeps Pittsburgh (8-8) alive in the race to earn the seventh seed in the Asian playoff. The Steelers have won five of their six games after a 3-7 start.
After trailing 13-3, Pickett helped lead to two scoring drives in the second half that ended on Chris Boswell field goals. The Steelers defense then forced a punt before watching Pickett marshall an 80-yard, game-winning touchdown run that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass to Harris with 56 seconds left in the game.
Pickett’s completions of 20 yards from Pat Freymuth and 28 yards from Stephen Sims set up his touchdown pass. Then the Pittsburgh defense finished the job when a Minka Fitzpatrick snatched from Tyler Huntley with 13 seconds left in the game.
Pickett was assisted all night by Harris, who recorded his first 100-yard dash performance of the season. The Ravens offense was led by Mark Andrews, whose 100 yards on nine catches wasn’t enough on a night when the points were high. The loss dropped Baltimore to 10-6 and 1.5 games behind Cincinnati for first place in the AFC North.
Here’s a full breakdown of what happened Sunday night.
Why did the Steelers win?
Pittsburgh overcame several self-inflicted injuries that included Boswell’s missed first-half goal and Cam Heyward’s unnecessarily harsh penalty kick that led to the Ravens only touchdown before halftime. Both players made up for those mistakes in the second half. Boswell made his scoring attempt in the second period, while Heyward was part of a big stop on third down that sealed the game for Pittsburgh.
The Steelers defense made several other big stops throughout the game. And while they struggled in the red zone for most of the game, Pittsburgh’s offense found the end zone when it needed to. Pickett, Harris, and Jaylen Warren (who rushed for 76 yards on 12 carries) benefited from the exceptional effort of the Steelers offensive line that helped Pittsburgh rack up 198 rushing yards.
Why did the crows lose
Baltimore’s defense wasn’t able to turn the game around during the Steelers’ last two possessions. The pass rush was ineffective at that point in the game, while the Baltimore secondary team struggled to contain Pickett and the Steelers’ passing attack. All night, Baltimore’s defense was also unable to slow the Steelers’ double of Harris and Warren, who combined to run for 187 yards on 34 carries.
In attack, the Crows were largely based on Andrews and JK Dobbins. While both players were largely effective, Baltimore’s lack of offensive versatility contributed to the Ravens scoring just three points over the last 30 minutes of the game. It has also contributed to the Ravens being less than a half-dozen situations in which third place is bested.
Trailing 13-9, the Steelers needed to make stops from their defense in order to give the ball back to their offense after the Baltimore defense forced a punt with 6:32 left. Pittsburgh got a much-needed stop when Heyward and linebacker Mark Robinson combined to field Dobbins for no gain on a third-and-two play from the Ravens’ 44-yard line with 5:05 left.
The stop gave the Steelers more than enough time to mount a game-winning drive that saw Pickett go 5 of 6 for 64 yards.
Play the game
Pickett and Harris were unable to score on a pass near the Ravens’ end zone earlier in the game. The twosome were not denied with the game on the line, as Harris was able to deflect a Pickett pass that came after Pickett evaded a Baltimore rush. The game-winning touchdown pass was Pickett’s second in as many weeks after he threw the game-winning pass to George Pickens against Las Vegas on Christmas Eve.
“I thought we really held our own in the half and had some real candid conversations and had the kind of focus needed to finish the game, and for that, I’m grateful.
“I can’t say enough about our youth [quarterback]. He smiles at her. He’s always ready to be that guy in the moments we need him to be that guy.” — Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on his team and rookie player Kenny Pickett
The Steelers will host the Browns in a game that Pittsburgh needs to win in order to keep its playoff hopes alive. The Steelers also need a Jets win in Miami and a Patriots loss in Buffalo in order to have a chance in the postseason. Pittsburgh fell to Cleveland when the teams met for the first time in Week 3.
Baltimore will travel to Cincinnati for a game that will surely affect the AFC playoffs rankings. The game may decide who wins the AFC North title if Cincinnati can’t defeat Buffalo on Monday night. Regardless, the Ravens have already sealed their spot in the playoffs.
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