While a lot of injury news went right for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the bye week, including Ben Roethlisberger playing, not much else did, as they trail the Baltimore Ravens 10-0 at halftime. Roethlisberger has not played well, while Le’Veon Bell and the running game have been unable to do much of anything. While the Ravens have only had intermittent success, a Joe Flacco 95-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace changed the tenor of the game.
While Artie Burns recorded an interception, he was also beaten by Wallace on that play, and has been responsible for the majority of the Ravens’ completed passes to a number of different targets. 10 penalties in the first half have also greatly bogged down all three phases.
And amazingly, the second half started with an offside penalty on the opening kickoff. The second kickoff went for a touchback.
Terrance West began the half by finding a hole for eight yards, but it turned out to be due to a hold. On first and 20, Ryan Shazier blew up another play, wrestling down Kenneth Dixon to make the tackle for a four-yard loss. Mike Wallace was tackled after getting 12 to set up third and 12. Flacco scrambled for the first down, but injured his knee on the slide. Ryan Mallett checked in and handed off to West for five yards. James Harrison dropped him in the backfield for a loss of five on second down, however. On third and 10, Timmons and Chickillo were able to stop Darren Waller just shy of the first down. Flacco returned to the field and tried to draw the defense offsides on fourth and a foot. Waller interfered with Brown on a fair catch, adding 15 yards for the Steelers.
DeAngelo Williams got the first carry of the second half and was stopped after a yard. Play action yielded a short pass to Brown, which he looked to break, but he was undercut and dropped after four yards. Roethlisberger was too deep for Coates on third down, so a quick three-and-out for the Steelers. Jordan Berry’s punt was fair caught at about the 25. Harrison was able to record his first sack of the season on third down, a coverage sack, bringing Flacco down for a 12-yard loss. Brown fielded the ball at around the 35.
Roethlisberger’s first pass of the drive was batted up at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Timmy Jernigan at around the 30. The defense was looking to make the stop, setting up a third and nine, but they got seven to make it a 42-yard field goal attempt. Baltimore took a 13-0 lead off the turnover.
Bell was mauled in the backfield on first down for a loss of four. He got back two on second down. Roethlisberger’s third-down throw was forced to Brown, incomplete, so another punt by Berry.
The Ravens were able to convert on third down the first time, but Harrison got Flacco again on the next third down, stripping the ball out, but Baltimore recovered, an important field-flipping non-recovery.
Roethlisberger’s check-down pass was batted down on first down. He did find Jesse James down the field after an extended time, scrambling to his right, though Bell may have gotten away with a hold. Of course, Brown was flagged for illegal formation after all that. On second and 15 now, a quick hitter went to Eli Rogers for seven yards. On third and eight, he threw behind Brown incomplete deep. That’s 0-10 on third down. And then Berry’s punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown for the nail in the coffin. A two-point conversion attempt was good, making it 21-0.
Rogers picked up five yards in the flat. Roethlisberger then fumbled the snap, but Bell picked it up and carried it for four–one of his best runs of the day. On third and one, Bell picked up three. Their first third-down conversion of the day.
Bell’s patience trying to find an opening on a draw got him rocked after one yard. A reception by Brown was negated by a defensive hold that gave Pittsburgh a first down. Roethlisberger finally found Brown down the field for a 27-yard completion, by far the best offensive play of the day. Naturally, it was followed by a false start.
On first and 15 from the 35, a short pass under pressure to Bell picked up two. Roethlisberger fumbled the ball, but surprisingly was able to pick it up and get the ball down the field, looking for Brown in the end zone, but it was broken up late by Webb. On third and 13, he found Rogers for 10 to make it fourth and three. After buying time, Roethlisberger was able to find Brown in the end zone for the score, right at the goal line, with Webb very nearly breaking it up.
Boswell’s kick only reached the 10, and Hester returned it out to the 36. Dixon bounced off a glancing hit from Harrison in the backfield to picked up one. Timmons was in cover on West on an incompletion from a hurried throw. On third and nine, a short pass to Waller was two yards short, with the defense issuing a three-and-out with just over seven minutes left. Brown was forced out of bounds at the 10.
Roethlisberger found Xavier Grimble, who was able to bounce off one defender for a 10-yard gain. Roethlisberger nearly threw a blitzing cornerback over his back, but Powers was able to pull him down by the ankle as he turned to run. On second and 21, a hard pass for Rogers was defended. Rogers made a fantastic catch on the next play, leaving his feet to snare a ball just inside the has marks.
He went deep looking for Coates on the next play, incomplete, as he ran into the cornerback. On second down, Brown picked up 12 across midfield. Roethlisberger was just wide of Rogers near the right sideline. This time he connected with Rogers, and with the cornerback lunging for the deflection, he was able to advance upfield and get out of bounds for a nice gain.
Coates had a chance to make the catch for the score in the back of the end zone, but it went off his hands for a drop. Another tough pass went off the hands of Rogers and was nearly intercepted. On third down, this time they went underneath to Brown for a first down. A quick pass to Bell was dropped. Brown was smart to get out of bounds on a short pass that had no opportunity for yards after the catch. With 3:20 to play on third and six, Roethlisberger tried to fight off a sack, but ultimately was brought down for a loss of 12. On fourth down, following a timeout, Roethlisberger’s pass went out of the back of the end one, effectively ending the game with three minutes to play and a turnover on downs.
Brown dropped the pass after a three-and-out, but Roethlisberger found Rogers down the field at the two-minute warning. Bell bounced off a player to get out of bounds after eight yards. Roethlisberger’s pass looking for Cobi Hamilton in the end zone was incomplete. Bell picked up the first down on a draw, but could not get out of bounds. Roethlisberger checked down to Bell again, who wallopped Weddle before going out of bounds. From the four, Roethlisberger scrambled for the score.
With no timeouts remaining, the Steelers had no choice but to attempt an onside kick. Boswell pretty much whiffed on the onside kick attempt, ending the game in a comical gesture that symbolizes the day. The officials were laughing about it.