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Steelers vs Ravens II Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations of the second half of the Pittsburgh Steelers 43-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

  • The Steelers opened the second half in a three tight end look, something that they turn to more frequently with the lead. Will Johnson caught the ball on first down, but for only a yard.
  • On third and eight, Ben Roethlisberger tossed the ball under duress to Le’Veon Bell and won a pass interference penalty on J. Mosley in coverage for a new set of downs.
  • On second and six, Roethlisberger used a full wind up pump fake to get Martavis Bryant open, but then he lofted the ball short and the receiver could not get back to the ball in time.
  • On third down, Roethlisberger was wide of Markus Wheaton, forcing the Steelers to punt.
  • On first down, Will Allen beat the back on a blitz that forced Joe Flacco to dump the ball off to his fullback for a loss on the play.
  • After a few first downs, the Ravens were facing a third and three inside the Steelers’ 40-yard line when James Harrison saw the opportunity to rush and ended up sacking the quarterback. It was initially ruled an incomplete pass, and the Ravens were prepared to go for it on fourth down, but Mike Tomlin challenged that his shin was down, which it was. That made it fourth and 12 and forced the Ravens to punt.
  • On the Steelers’ next play, Terrell Suggs went low from the back side at LeGarrette Blount’s knees at the end of the play. It sounds like he was fined for that hit.
  • Blount was knocked back for a loss of seven on the following play, and to be quite honest it didn’t entirely look like he had his legs underneath him.
  • The Steelers were eventually forced to punt, but a holding penalty on the Ravens’ ensuing drive soon had the ball back in Roethlisberger’s hands.
  • On second and 13, it looked like he found Wheaton going to the ground for a big gain, but the ball popped loose. Fortunately, he connected with Antonio Brown on third down for a 54-yard catch and run, including a nifty stiff arm and a couple of missed tackles, tying his career-high with eight touchdowns. That is a mark he set last season in 16 games. There are seven left to play this year.
  • But the Steelers allowed the Ravens to respond immediately with a 108-yard kick return touchdown by Jacoby Jones, even if it looks like Antwon Blake may have gotten held a bit up front.
  • It didn’t take much longer for the Steelers to respond, as Roethlisberger connected with Bryant from 18 yards out for his second touchdown of the day, and fifth in the last three games. With Wheaton crossing between the linebacker and safety, he was able to freeze the back end to buy time for Bryant to sit down between two defenders.
  • The Steelers preserved their lead with a Lawrence Timmons sack on third and nine, forcing the Ravens to punt in fourth and 19 despite being down 19 with seven minutes to play.
  • They tried to work on the ground, with Bell looking to get three carries in a row, but Roethlisberger fumbled the snap on the third play and the Ravens recovered it on the Steelers’ 33-yard line.
  • Flacco looked deep to Steve Smith on first down, but Blake had good position in coverage and knocked the ball away as the quarterback took a shot from Harrison, beating the left tackle inside.
  • The Ravens ultimately converted a fourth and two to keep the drive alive, with Justin Forsett taking a screen pass down to the three-yard line for 17 yards. Flacco threw to his wide open tight end for the score on first and goal after Blake was initially flagged for a pass interference that likely saved a touchdown. Crockett Gillmore faked a run block on Harrison before turning into the end zone. Robert Golden was the closest defender.
  • The Steelers stopped the Ravens’ two-point try, which would have made it a three-possession game with under three minutes to play. Johnson nearly gave the Ravens the ball back on the onside try when he fielded the ball off his chest, but it fortunately bounced out of bounds.
  • The Steelers returned to the ground game to bleed out the clock, but on fourth and two, following the two-minute warning, the chose to stay aggressive. Lined up in a three tight end set and Blount in the backfield, Matt Spaeth eventually broke free after faking a run block and Roethlisberger lofted the ball over the Ravens to his tight end for his first catch of the season, turning it into a long touchdown, and Roethlisberger’s sixth of the game.
  • Now down 20 points, the Ravens continued playing, right up to the end. Flacco clocked the ball with two seconds to play at the 27-yard line, completing a pass down to the nine with the secondary playing 20 yards off the ball, for literally no purpose other than to add more yards onto a blowout loss.
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