It seems that all the talk this week has cornered in on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ off-field actions, leaving a crucial Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens as an afterthought. With both divisional titans coming off disappointing losses, Sunday’s matchup could be the difference between a bounce back effort and a losing slide. Below are some numbers to be aware of as the Steelers prepare for another road test against the Ravens.
In their last four road contests against the Ravens, the Steelers have converted just 39-percent of their third down attempts. That figure shrinks down to 25-percent when including just the last two road matchups in Baltimore. For a team currently in the bottom half of the league with a 32-percent success rate on third down, the Steelers are going to have to get creative (or simple) to curb their recent and historic third down struggles.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is carrying a 69.2 passer rating in his last five road games against the Ravens. Roethlisberger is win-less in his last five attempts at M&T Bank Stadium, completing 59.2-percent of his passes with just four passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Steelers quarterback, who has come under heat recently for his play is 9-23 all time when his passer rating is below 70.0. In the midst of an offensive turmoil, the Steelers will need Roethlisberger to come up big on the road this Sunday.
In three career games at M&T Bank Stadium, Le’Veon Bell has averaged 4 yards per carry, a modest increase over his 3.5 yards per carry on the season. While Bell has only averaged 55 rushing yards per game at M&T Bank Stadium, the running back has played a big part in the passing offense, averaging 6 receptions per game in road matchups against the Ravens. Bell has not had the start he has hoped for as a receiving threat this season but Sunday’s matchup would be as good a place as any to get back on track.
The Steelers hold a negative six turnover ratio in their last four road games against the Ravens. During this span, the Steelers have turned the ball over seven times while the Ravens have turned it over just once. Protecting the football will be just as important as taking the football away from a safe Ravens’ offense. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is still not 100-percent so it remains to be seen how much the Ravens will turn to the passing game but the Steelers must take advantage of their opportunities, no matter how limited they may be.
It is very clear why the Steelers have not won in Baltimore since 2012 with Roethlisberger winless since 2010. Sunday’s matchup may have the recipe to buck this trend. The Steelers have been reportedly tinkering with offensive personnel, opting to give wide receiver Justin Hunter a helmet this week and Roethlisberger has emphasized improving his own play frequently this past week. If Roethlisberger is able to make due on his promise, the rest may fall into place for both the Steelers’ offense and defense, opening the running game for Bell and putting pressure on an otherwise dormant Ravens offense.