The Pittsburgh Steelers take a 14-6 lead into the second half, Ben Roethlisberger tossing touchdown passes to James Conner and Antonio Brown. The defense has kept the Baltimore Ravens without a touchdown on two trips inside the red zone. On the first one, Joe Flacco missed wide open Lamar Jackson on third down. James Conner has over 100 yards from scrimmage, and JuJu Smith-Schuster had a big drop.
Roethlisberger connected down the field with Smith-Schuster on second down, but Eric Weddle hit him in the head, and a hold on Jesse James negated the play anyway. Smith-Schuster left the field to go through the concussion protocol. Roethlisberger was incomplete to Brown on the following play. Now third and six, he did connect with Ryan Switzer for 13 yards, nearly Switzer’s longest reception of the year.
Conner added three yards on his second carry of the half, bringing his ground total to 77 so far. Matthew Judon batted down a screen pass to the flat intended for Conner, nearly intercepting it. He then hit Roethlisberger for no reason, but no flag was called. Now third and seven, following a timeout, a quick toss to Brown moved the chains again, two for two on third down so far on the drive.
Conner picked up five yards on first down to put him over 80 now. Smith-Schuster re-entered the game. Conner added another five for the first down. A completion to McDonald added yet another first down to the Ravens’ 25.
Roethlisberger under pressure flipped the ball to Conner for four yards, giving him 46 through the air, closing in on 150 all-purpose yards. On second and six, an end zone pass to Brown was well-defended by Tavon Young to break it up, from out of the slot. Now third and six, Roethlisberger found Smith-Schuster for seven for another red-zone possession.
Conner struggled to find the edge on the ground on the first play inside the 20, getting three yards to give him 90 rushing yards. On second and seven, halfway through the third on the opening possession, Roethlisberger tossed the ball to Conner yet again for a first down to about the one. Roethlisberger ran the sneak for the touchdown, his second rushing touchdown of the game. Chris Boswell missed the extra point, however, to make it 20-6.
The Ravens’ response drive began with a big gain to rookie tight end Hayden Hurst. Willie Snead added six to get across midfield. Flacco went back to Snead for the first. A third straight reception for him was stopped by Mike Hilton for a two-yard gain. Lamar Jackson in the shotgun connected to Michael Crabtree for another first down. On third and five, Flacco connected to Brown inside the 20.
Following an incompletion skied to Jackson, Terrell Edmunds broke up a pass to Andrews in the end zone. Edmunds was against him one-on-one in coverage and late to roll over in coverage, but made the great play, his best of the year so far. Morgan Burnett was flagged for pass interference in the end zone on third and 10, however, giving the Ravens first and goal on the one. Collins bounced to the outside for the score, making it a 20-13 game.
The Steelers were forced into a three and out in response, an incompletion to James Washington on third down. Jordan Berry’s punt put the Ravens on their own 29. Flacco got the ball to Collins for a first down, but a hold for the Ravens pushed them back to the 19 instead.
Flacco was brought down for a sack for the first time of the day, several players there but Vince Williams ultimately the one to finish. Dupree was held by the left tackle, thoug not called. A second and 27 screen picked up about five. Now third and extremely long to start the fourth quarter, Flacco under pressure checked down to Snead for seven yards. Swizter didn’t get much on the return, but a flag on the play backed it up anyway, Heyward-Bey called for holding. Another piece of laundry for Danny Smith’s group.
The Steelers started their drive off with Conner on the ground for five yards, going over 90 now. Brown was wide open for the first, but was flagged for offensive pass interference for pushing off against Jimmy Smith, making it second and 15 instead. Back to the 10, Roethlisberger scrambled, tackled from behind and driven into the ground shoulder and head first by Judon. To top it off, Alejandro Villanueva was flagged for holding to wipe out the play anyway, making it second and 20 from the five.
Joshua Dobbs replaced Roethlisberger, the second-year player seeing the first meaningful snap of his career after taking two victory formation knees. Off play action, he ripped one to Smith-Schuster for 22 yards and the first down. And Roethlisberger checked back in.
Roethlisberger handed it off to Conner for one yard. He ripped a deep ball to Jesse James on a double move, bobbling but securing it for a long gain down to the Ravens’ 21. Conner got the ball to the right end but for just a couple yards as he nears 100 on the ground. On second and eight, Roethlisberger threw wide to Brown for the end zone on the back shoulder. Now third down just inside the 20, he bought time before throwing across his body to Smith-Schuster for the first.
On first and goal from the 10, Roethlisberger’s pass to Smith-Schuster on the goal line was broken up by Smith. Conner was hit for a loss on second down, nowhere to go. From the 11, Roethlisberger threw quick to Brown, but Smith again made the play to break up the pass, the ball behind the receiver unfortunately. Chris Boswell’s field goal made it a two-possession game with 8:26 to play at 23-13.
Flacco’s first pass of the response drive was tipped for an incompletion. His second pass was incomplete, but Sensabaugh was flagged for interference. A quick pass to Buck Allen crossed the line of scrimmage for eight yards. Despite an ineffective nickel blitz, Flacco’s pass to Hurst was poor and incomplete at the sticks. Now third and two, Collins got the carry and the conversion.
Flacco had Andrews open down the field for a big completion to the 24, but missed him in the end zone a play later with Burnett in coverage. Sean Davis had the tackle on Snead after a six-yard gain. On third and four, T.J. Watt forced a bobble on a pass to Crabtree, Allen catching the ball off of Watt’s back, but for a loss of a yard. Justin Tucker returned the score to a one-possession game, 23-17.
With 5:23 to play, Roethlisberger began the following response drive as both teams exchanged field goals. Points on this drive would be vital. Starting from the 25 after a touchback, Conner was given the carry on a pitch for four yards that put him over 100 yards on the ground, his fourth 100-yard rushing game in a row. Tavon Young was injured on the play. They stuck to the ground, Conner getting just a yard to set up a third and five. Roethlisberger connected with Brown on a crosser for the conversion for eight yards.
On the ground, Conner was again held to just a yard as the game clock ticked below three minutes remaining, the Ravens with all three of their timeouts. From the 39-yard line, Roethlisberger handed to Conner on the draw for a four-yard gain, ticking down to the two-minute warning. The Ravens currently without both Tavon Young with an ankle injury and Jimmy Smith in the concussion protocol. On third and four, Roethlisberger threw quickly to Smith-Schuster for the conversion against Anthony Levine.
The Ravens used their first timeout. From the Ravens’ 49, Conner was stopped at the line of scrimmage, Baltimore using another timeout. On second and nine, he lost the yard he just got back to make it third and 10 with 1:45 to play, Baltimore using its final timeout. What will the playcall be from midfield, needing 11 yards on this play to win the game? Roethlisberger took the sack to keep the clock moving rather than put the ball in the air with nobody open. Jordan Berry punted 45 yards, Davis making the tackle after a nine-yard return.
From the 24, Flacco heaved a deep pass to Crabtree, Sensabaugh in position, incomplete. With 37 seconds left, Tuitt got the sack he should have had earlier, Heyward with the initial pressure. Prior to the third and 16 play, Dupree was flagged for being offside. With 13 seconds left, the left tackle was flagged for a false start, once again third and 16. A quick pass to Brown took five seconds for five yards. With eight seconds to play on fourth and 11, the game ended with an illegal forward pass during a circus play attempt, the Steelers going to 5-2-1 on the season, matching the Bengals’ win total and dumping the Ravens to 4-5 on the season.