Drive-By-Drive Analysis Reveals Worrying Third-Down Trend For Steelers Defense

By Matthew Marczi

The Pittsburgh Steelers had ample opportunity to hold the Baltimore Ravens to drive after drive without a scoring attempt. And time after time, they failed to take advantage of those opportunities.

The Ravens held the ball on nine occasions. They punted once. They also ended the first and second halves with the ball, intentionally allowing the clock to run down.

Every other time they had the ball in the game, the Steelers couldn’t stop them from scoring, and it was almost always because of a breakdown on third down.

The only time the Ravens didn’t convert a key third down on a scoring drive, in fact, was after Jacoby Jones’s big kickoff return down to the Steelers’ 27-yard line, after which they eventually kicked one home from the 20.

Let’s recap:

Drive One: On third and seven from their own 32, Joe Flacco found Brandon Stokley in front of Will Allen for the first down on what otherwise could have been a three-and-out. Later, he found Torrey Smith in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on third and seven.

Drive Two: Punt

Drive Three: From their own 47 following Shaun Suisham’s debacle of a field goal attempt, Ike Taylor was flagged for a 26-yard pass interference on third and seven, placing the ball on the 27. They eventually got to the 25 before kicking a field goal.

Drive Four: End of half

Drive Five: Flacco twice found Smith on third and eight for first downs, first from the 48, then from the 30.

Drive Six: A field goal drive was set up by the 73-yard kickoff return by Jones, which started them in field goal range.

Drive Seven: Flacco had over six seconds to look down field before Jones finally flashed open for 24 yards down the field on a third and four from their own 42.

Drive Eight: On third and four from the Ravens’ own 40, the Steelers brought the blitz with nobody covering Ray Rice out of the backfield. He scrambled up the right sideline for 22 yards down to the 38. Then on third and 12 from the 40, Flacco hit Smith for a 10-yard completion to get into field goal range and make it an eight-point game.

Drive Nine: End of game

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