The Pittsburgh Steelers rode the momentum of a pair of defensive turnovers to jump to a 22-10 halftime lead over the division-rival Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens scored first, while the home team failed to even get a first down on their first three drives, only to give up three straight sacks on the fourth. But Ben Roethlisberger finished the half with touchdown passes to Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, and Markus Wheaton. And Pittsburgh gets the ball to start the second half.
Will Johnson was the target on the first play for about a yard. On second down, Bell was stuffed for only a yard to set up a third and eight. Roethlisberger improvised, sidearming under pressure on third down to Bell, with C.J. Mosley being flagged for pass interference, enabling the Steelers to move the chains and avoid a three and out.
Markus Wheaton took an end around for about four yards on first down after avoiding a couple of Ravens in the backfield. On second and six, Roethlisberger’s pass was just short down the field to Bryant. On third down, the quarterback was wide of Wheaton on a throw he knows he missed. Brad Wing got off a good punt with no return to flip the field, as the Ravens took over from the 24.
without Troy Polamalu and Ryan Shazier out, the Steelers defense took the field once again, and Will Allen got pressure to force Joe Flacco to dump off a pass for a loss on first down. On second and 12, Owen Daniels‘s catch made it third and four. Torrey Smith converted in front of Antwon Blake to move the chains.
Daniels gained 11 yards in front of Allen on the following play down to the Steelers’ 45. Justin Forsett picked up six yards to the 39 off the left side on first down. James Harrison among others stopped the back for one yard to force a third down and three. Harrison, patrolling the field on third down, eventually came in to rush and forced Flacco to throw incomplete. Mike Tomlin challenged the play and the officials ruled that Flacco’s shin was down, resulting in Harrison’s second sack of the game and fourth in the last two weeks, turning a fourth and three into fourth and 12.
On the first play of the Steelers’ drive, Terrell Suggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness, giving them good field position at the 35. On first down, LeGarrette Blount was knocked back for a loss of seven. On second and 17, Antonio Brown caught his fifth pass of the game, and Elvis Dumervil was flagged for a personal foul, moving the Steelers past midfield.
From the 48, Roethlisberger threw behind Dri Archer for an incompletion. After burning a timeout, Roethlisberger got hit as he threw, aiming for Brown, who got behind the defense, but the pass was short. On third and long, Brown was spun down after one yard and the Steelers had to punt. Wing’s punt traveled only 27 yards to the Ravens’ 20.
After a seven-yard catch on first down, Daniels moved the chains. The Ravens were penalized for holding. From the 25, Flacco got a little more than half of that back. Blake made the tackle after a short catch to make it third and four. More pressure forced a checkdown pass, with the Ravens coming up a yard short. Brown fair caught the punt at the 15.
On first down, the Steelers bought themselves some space with a 15-yard pickup to Wheaton, but a false start took some of that away. From the 25, Blount picked up only a yard or two. Brown escaped a tackler or two to pick up about 10 yards and make it a manageable third down. Bell, too, evaded a tackler to move the chains after the quarterback was forced to dump off the ball under duress.
After another false start, Blount, as last time, picked up two yard for another second and 13. Wheaton was hit on the run down the field, but the ball popped loose before he couldn’t hold on. On third and eight after a neutral zone infraction, Roethlisberger found Brown, who evaded defenders all the way into the end zone for a 54-yard score, his eighth touchdown of the year and his first ever against the Ravens. That gave the Steelers a comfortable 29-10 lead.
The Ravens turned it around quickly, however, with Jacoby Jones returning the kickoff for a touchdown to make it 29-17, and just a bit less comfortable.
After a return to to the 29-yard line by Blount, Brown drew a pass interference penalty on the first play to the 41-yard line. Bryant took an end around for three yards after the penalty. Brown came close the moving the chains on second down, with Roethlisberger’s sneak finishing the job.
Roethlisberger’s first pass after converting was wide of Heath Miller near the line of scrimmage. Miller got the ball for the first down on the following play. From the 35, Brown gained another first down. After a short gain on the ground, Brown dropped a short screen to make it third and nine. Let it be known that I called the pass to Bryant in the end zone on the next play. Either way, it was Roethlisberger’s fifth touchdown of the game and 11th in the last two weeks, and it was Bryant’s fifth touchdown in three weeks, as well as second consecutive game with multiple touchdowns.
After getting to the 35, Flacco threw incomplete on the following play. William Gay limited the Ravens to a short gain on second down. Lawrence Timmons recorded his second sack of the year on third down. The Ravens could only punt on fourth and 19.
Turning to the ground game with a 19-point lead, Bell ran on first down for five yards as the Steelers look to run out the clock. His patient running yielded four yards on second down. On third and one, Roethlisberger lost the ball, and the Ravens recovered. Flacco targeted the end zone on first down from 33 yards out, but Blake was in position. On second down, Daniels made it third and two. An incompletion set up fourth and two. Flacco converted against a three-man rush.
Bringing pressure on the following play, Flacco was flushed out of the pocket and threw the ball away. On second down, Blake ran through Steve Smith to force an incompletion. Now third and 10, Flacco found Forsett for 17 yards to the three-yard line. He was stopped on the ground after a one-yard gain on first and goal. On second down, Blake was flagged in the end zone for pass interference, but the effort likely saved a touchdown, at least for one play. Off play action, Flacco found his tight end for the wide open touchdown to make it 36-23. The Ravens failed to convert the two-point attempt.
The Ravens also failed to recover the onside kick. Brown added a six-yard reception on second down to make it third and one, but Blount was stuffed on the play at the two-minute warning. The Steelers went for it on fourth and two and Roethlisberger lofted the ball to Matt Spaeth for the first catch of the year. It was ruled as a touchdown on the field, and upheld under review with inconclusive evidence. Roethlisberger became the first player in NFL history with back-to-back games throwing six touchdown passes. 12 touchdown passes is also the most in a two-game span.
The Ravens drove down the field a bit in the remaining time, clocking it with two seconds remaining, just to throw one more pass, but the Steelers came out victorious, by the score of 43-23 victory, riding a three-game win streak in excellent shape in the division race.