In the last game that took place between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, the reality is that both defenses played awfully well. Outside of a gaffe that resulted in a 95-yard touchdown pass—which is not to be dismissed, of course—the Ravens did not exactly dominate the Steelers.
In fact, even with that touchdown, the offense only put up 13 points on its own, as the Ravens also blocked a punt that they recovered for a touchdown. They then attempted a two-point conversion after that touchdown, which was successful. The Steelers’ 14 points on offense actually outscored what Baltimore’s offense put up.
The Ravens totaled just 274 yards of offense in that game, of which 95 came on one bad play. 224 of those total yards came through the air, meaning that only 129 yards came through the air outside of Artie Burns’ mistake in his first career start working against the speedster, Mike Wallace. A mistake I would expect that he will not make twice.
And Baltimore added just another 50 yards on the ground, with the Steelers’ run defense holding up awfully well. The Ravens actually attempted 29 runs in that game to muster up that 50-yard total, which is even worse than the 36 yards the Steelers managed on 18 carries.
14 of those yards even came on a quarterback scramble, actually. The Ravens’ running backs put up just 36 yards of their own on the ground on 25 rushing attempts, and they also added another three touches through the air for a combined six yards.
It is worth keeping in mind that the problem for the Steelers in their last game against the Ravens was not their defensive performance, even if they had one bad play that resulted in their lone offensive touchdown. They forced a couple of fumbles, picked off a pass, and even got a trio of sacks, although they failed to recover either of the fumbles.
Perhaps, with the Ravens on the road this time around, they get the breaks going their way, and they are able to recover a loose ball. Maybe even get one of those elusive defensive touchdowns. They do have one on the year, but have also had two more that were nullified because of penalties on those respective plays.
And it should probably go without saying that the defense has improved notably since then, even if that performance was solid. Really, the only bad game on defense since the bye week was the terrible showing against the Cowboys that served as a wakeup call. They have three rookies in the starting lineup now that are not playing like rookies.
Of course, things could get complicated up front, with Cameron Heyward already missing from the last meeting and Stephon Tuitt a threat to miss the game as well. They did handle Tuitt’s early in-game injury fairly well last week, but the Ravens have a much more physical offensive line, even if both are strong at the right guard position.