The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Which side of the football is in greater need of playing better against the Ravens than they did the first time around?
The Steelers’ last game in which they failed to come out as the victors was at home against the Ravens in Week Four. They are carrying with them a three-game winning streak that has landed them on top of the AFC North.
The Ravens, meanwhile, have lost three of their past four games since then, the only victory being a baffling 21-0 shutout of the Titans a week after losing 12-9 to the Browns in overtime. They are now 4-4. Even if they lose tomorrow’s game, the Steelers will still have a better record than Baltimore.
That doesn’t make it any less desirable to win, however, and in order to do so, they have to play better on both sides of the football than they did the first time around. The offense only scored 14 points, all of which came in the second quarter. They hardly managed anything in the other three quarters.
The defense allowed 14 points in the first half and another 12 in the second, including four scoring possession. While they held the Ravens out of the end zone in the third and fourth quarters, they allowed Baltimore to control possession for about two thirds of the half.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, perhaps unintentionally, insulted the defense after the game, pretty much implying that it was the worst Steelers defense he ever played against. Statistically, he wasn’t wrong. They should be motivated to prove otherwise four weeks later.
The offense has something to prove as well. The Steelers have averaged over 30 points per game since that loss, including 41 the week after and 33 against the Browns on Sunday. This is a better team, but they tend to bring their worst against the Ravens, especially in Baltimore.