Le’Veon Bell told reporters getting off to a fast start against the Baltimore Ravens will be key if the Pittsburgh Steelers want to move to 3-1. And put the sky back up that fell down a week ago. In theory, that’s true but on paper, it’s really true.
“We gotta go out there early and match their intensity. We can’t start the game off slow,” Bell said yesterday.
In the Mike Tomlin era, since 2007, the Steelers are 5-1 against Baltimore when leading after the first quarter, by any margin. Baltimore is 10-2 under the same criteria.
So collectively, whoever is leading after the first quarter is an astounding 15-3. Doesn’t get much clearer than that. There aren’t grand comebacks in this series. There are teams who grab the lead and hold onto it with a vice-like grip, controlling possession and the tempo for the remainder of the game.
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the exception to this rule, too. Last time the Steelers lost after grabbing an early lead was 2010, a 17-14 loss where Baltimore took the lead with under a minute left. Baltimore last lost in 2014, grabbing an early lead only to be blown out where Ben Roethlisberger went on a tear and tossed six touchdowns.
Unfortunately, the Steelers haven’t gotten off to hot starts. They were shutout in the first quarter last week and put up just seven points in the other two. The good news is that Baltimore hasn’t been much better. But that’ll be the key to victory.
Like last week, the Chicago Bears didn’t have to score a lot of points. But they scored early, put the Steelers in a hole, and were able to control the game throughout, doing just enough to edge out a victory.