The Pittsburgh Steelers gave up 265 yards on the ground today against the Baltimore Ravens, who are the best rushing offense in the league. The last time they gave up anywhere close to that was—the last time that they played the Ravens in the 2019 season finale, giving up 223 yards on the ground.
That game was a largely meaningless one, however, with the Steelers pretty much already out of the postseason running and the Ravens having secured homefield. This game was for control of the AFC North, and Pittsburgh got stomped on the ground. But they won, and that’s what matters.
“They have a variety of running attacks, with, obviously, the best running quarterback the NFL’s ever seen, so that adds another wrinkle to everything that we do, and we respect him and respect the running backs”, inside linebacker Robert Spillane said after the game.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about style points, it’s not about for how many yards they rushed”, he added. “It’s about who got the W and who got the L. They played a great game on the ground. That’s what they do. We knew that they were going to have a strong running attack, and we were able to come out of the stadium with a win”.
Despite having more rushing yards than the Steelers had total yards, averaging more rushing yards per play than the Steelers averaged for all plays, they still came out on top, holding them to just one touchdown on the ground, though Lamar Jackson also threw two—and another to Spillane for a pick six.
You would have to go all the way back to 1993 to find the last time that the Steelers gave up 250 yards on the ground or more as a defense. In a December game against the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh allowed them to rush for 267 yards on 45 carries. They lost that game, 16-6.
They only allowed 250-plus yards in one other game since 1975, and the most that they have ever allowed was all the way back in 1950, when the Cleveland Browns rushed for 339 yards against them in a 45-7 demolition.
In this game, the production came from three sources, including rookie second-round pick J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for 113 yards o n15 attempts, his first 100-yard game. Gus Edwards added 87 yards on 16 rushing attempts, while Jackson finished with 65 rushing yards, tying a season-high 16 rushing attempts.
But when they needed three yards on fourth and three, Jackson got two (he also fumbled on the play, but that proved to be immaterial). And as Spillane said, it’s not about how many yards you gain but how many points you score.
In this one, the Steelers scored four more than the Ravens. That’s all that matters in the end.