The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens have truly been two trains passing in the night since they last met back in Week Four of the 2018 regular season. The Ravens secured a big win on the road at Heinz Field, which at the time put them at 3-1 and dropped the home team to 1-2-1 on the year, their worst start to the first quarter of a season since losing four in a row to open the 2013 season.
Since then, the trends have entirely reversed, each team heading in the opposite direction. The Steelers are riding a four-game winning streak that includes victories against all three of their divisional rivals and puts them squarely in first place now with the 5-3 Cincinnati Bengals on their bye.
Meanwhile, the Ravens have lost three games in a row, and four out of five since beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh. And they lost to the Steelers in Baltimore for just the fifth time (the fourth against Ben Roethlisberger in 10 starts) since 2004.
It’s gotten to the point where there are now reports that 11-year Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh’s job could be in jeopardy. Since he brought the organization its second Super Bowl at the end of the 2012 season, the Ravens have missed the playoffs in four out of five seasons, and with today’s loss are now 44-45, a losing record.
After the loss, Harbaugh claimed that he had not seen the earlier reports. “I’ve never been somebody that worried about keeping a job. It’s always been for me doing the job”, he said. “I feel really good about the way this team has been [coached] for the last 11 years and for the last whatever weeks we’ve been in the season. So no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me. So we’ll keep fighting and that’s what we do”.
In his first five seasons with the Ravens, Harbaugh posted a 54-26 record, never going worse than 9-7 and winning at least one game in the postseason in every year. They advanced to the AFC Championship game during his first season, the Steelers defeating them. They ultimately went 9-4 in the playoffs, culminating in 2012’s Super Bowl.
Since then, he has posted only two winning records in the past six, including the current year, the one playoff appearance coming in 2014 during a 10-6 season, beating the Steelers on the road for the first time ever in the playoffs. But they haven’t made it back since, and are trending in the wrong direction in 2018.
Said Eric Weddle, “I know [Harbaugh’s] our leader, and he’s going to get brunt of it. This team believes in him. We have his back. It would unfortunate if anything happens, whether it’s during the season or after. I don’t think that’s the right way to go”.
He may have the team’s support, but will ownership? He has seven more games to try to turn things around and end a three-year playoff dry spell. They have missed out on a playoff berth in the final game of the season now two years in a row in win-and-in scenarios.