The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens were both playing teams from the AFC South yesterday, with the AFC North playing the division this year. The way the schedule broke, Pittsburgh got the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Baltimore got the Tennessee Titans, who started out 5-0 on the season, and his now 7-3 on the year.
7-3, of course, because they defeated the Ravens in an overtime loss that was cemented by a Derrick Henry walkoff score. In fact, the NFL’s leading rusher actually became the first player in NFL history to score two overtime walkoff touchdowns in a single season.
With Pittsburgh winning and Baltimore losing, the Ravens now slip to 6-4 and trail the Steelers by four games for the AFC North lead. They went 14-2 last season, so have already lost twice as many games. If they lose to Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day, they will be unable to win the division.
Were the Steelers paying attention as the Titans took down the Ravens? Of course they were. Obviously they want to know what the divisional standings are. And it also matters because they are about to play Baltimore, and it sets the tone coming up, as safety Terrell Edmunds told reports after the game.
“It definitely gets our attention for the long haul”, he told reporters regarding the Steelers being aware of Baltimore’s defeat. “Right now, we’ve just got to focus on 1-0, because we know they’re going to come in with a chip on their shoulder. They’re coming off a loss, so we’ve got to come out and play our game because we know they’re going to try to knock us down now. We’ve just got to come out and play how we play”.
If the way the Steelers play now includes takeaways from the strong safety position, as it did with Edmunds’ two interceptions yesterday, then they are in good hands. In fact, the safety position accounted for all four of Pittsburgh’s takeaways on the day, with Minkah Fitzpatrick also netting two of his own.
The last time Pittsburgh played the Ravens, they forced quarterback Lamar Jackson to turn the ball over four times, with two interceptions and two fumbles lost. He had turned the ball over a total of seven times in their first two meetings, though he (narrowly) won the first.
Baltimore just lost back-to-back games for the first time ever with Jackson at quarterback. The last time they have lost three consecutive games was, fittingly, in the middle of the 2018 season, with a loss to the Steelers on Joe Flacco’s final start for the Ravens being the third.