The game is finally happening after a maddening streak of three postponements and some late breaking uncertainty to boot. In just over an hour, one of the strangest games in NFL history will take place on a Wednesday afternoon. A myriad of players from both teams (mostly the Baltimore Ravens) are out on the reserve/covid list, so there will be some interesting and unknown names being uttered in this game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers look to improve their record to 11-0, while the Ravens desperately try to remain relevant in the playoff race currently sitting at 6-4. A loss for the Ravens would eliminate them from contention in the AFC North race, but they could still secure a wild card spot in the expanded seven team playoffs later on.
Steelers vs. Ravens all time record: 29-24-0
Steelers vs Ravens (home) all time record: 17-11-0
Last match result: 28-24 Steelers (2020 week 8)
Notable free agent addition: DE Calais Campbell, OLB Yannick Ngakoue (trade)
Notable draft picks: ILB Patrick Queen, RB J.K. Dobbins, WR Devin Duvernay, WR James Proche
Maurkice Pouncey was added to the Reserve/COVID list this morning, so it appears JC Hassenauer might be starting at center. Both teams will have inexperienced centers starting due to covid, so keep an eye out for bad snaps on both sides.
A lot of snowfall on Tuesday, but it appears to have stopped for now. Still going to be a cold afternoon game.
Steelers Inactive Players:
S Antoine Brooks Jr.
QB Joshua Dobbs
OLB Jayrone Elliott
RB Jaylen Samuels
TE Kevin Rader
Ravens Inactive Players:
*this does not include Reserve/COVID list players
T Jake Rodgers
DT Brandon Williams
The opening kickoff was a short one from Chris Boswell and resulted in a small run back to the 35 yard line. The Ravens will start with decent field position as Robert Griffin III (RGIII) takes the field.
A quick screen to Marquise Brown on first for a modest gain and a Gus Edwards run up the middle for a gain of 1 sets up third down. Steven Nelson flew in on the receiver in the flats to deny the first down. The Ravens will line up to punt.
Here comes the first long snap from the replacement long snapper, and it was successful. The Ravens punted to the Steelers 18.
Benny Snell Jr. got the ball on first down for a 5 yard pickup. A deep shot down the right sideline to Chase Claypool on 2nd, and Marcus Peters did a nice job getting his arm in there to break it up. Claypool still probably should have brought it in.
On 3rd and 5, Ben was under pressure and threw an incomplete pass intended for Eric Ebron as he got taken to the ground. A three-and-out for both teams now.
The Ravens were called for a hold on the punt return, so they will start with the ball at the 25 yard line.
The Ravens had some trouble on the handoff and fumbled the ball, recovered by Vince Williams. The Steelers have the ball in the red zone.
Snell wide open in the flats for a nice pickup and another first down. The Steelers have a 1st and goal from the 8 yard line. An outside run of 1 yard to Snell and a 1 yard reception by Eric Ebron sets up 3rd down.
Eric Ebron caught the pass on 3rd down, but his momentum wasn’t shifted the right way and he was easily stopped short of the end zone. On 4th down, the Steelers offense went from it. Ben scrambled and threw a terrible interception. Tyus Bowser in the end zone.
For some unknown reason, Bowser took the ball out of the end zone and got tackled on the 5 yard line. Tough spot for the Ravens and this offensive line.
A one yard pickup on first by Gus Edwards. RGIII kept the ball on 2nd to pickup a few to set up 3rd and 4. The turnovers continue! Griffin III to Joe Haden who undercut the route for a touchdown. Missed extra point. 6-0 Steelers.
Another short kickoff. Not a great start for Chris Boswell in cold weather.
Griffin III scrambled on 1st down for a modest pickup, but DJ Fluker called for a hold. 1st and 20 now for the Ravens again. The Baltimore offense is living the struggle.
Cameron Heyward up the middle with a nice swim move for the big sack. 3rd and 23 for the Ravens. A run around the right end by Justice Hill, but nowhere near the 1st down mark. Another punt. This time, Ray-Ray McCloud failed to call for a fair catch and got drilled to force the fumble.
The Ravens recover and are in the red zone.
False start on the Ravens offense, so 1st and 15 from the 21 yard line.
Griffin on a designed run behind a wall of Ravens lineman for a 1st down. 1st and goal.
Justice Hill off the right guard for 3 yards. On the Steelers 1 yard line. Gus Edwards up the middle the next play for a touchdown. 7-6 Ravens.
The Steelers start the drive from the 20 yard line. A first down pass to Eric Ebron for 5 yards. A nice cutback by Anthony McFarland, and the Steelers have 3rd and short. A quick toss inside on the slant to Juju Smith-Schuster and he falls forward for the first down pickup.
McFarland getting involved in the passing game split out. A nice second effort to shake the first tackler, and another first down pickup for the Steelers.
End of the first quarter. Steelers trail the Ravens 7-6.
McFarland still in the game. He tried to bounce it out one too many times and should have taken his 5 yard gain, instead only gets 3.
Eric Ebron with a deep reception of 27 yards to enter the red zone. Derek Wolfe down injured on the play holding his ankle/calf area. If he has to leave it will get really interesting for the Ravens defensive line.
Ebron with another catch on the left sideline for 6 yards. Juju on the next play with a hook in the middle for the first down. Jimmy Smith injured on the play walked off slowly.
Kevin Dotson reported eligible and got torched by Derek Wolfe who returned from injury for a loss of two on the Benny Snell run.
Ben fired one into Chase Claypool in the endzone, but it fell incomplete. Good coverage by Marlon Humphrey. Diontae Johnson incomplete on 3rd down. The Steelers kick a field goal. 9-7 Steelers.
Steelers have struggled with quarterback changes, so something to monitor if he comes in.
A nice ankle tackle by Joe Haden to blow up the sweep run on first. Marquise Brown with Robert Spillane in coverage on 2nd for 7 yards. A sack by Bud Dupree and Heyward on 3rd. Another punt for the Ravens. Trace might come in next drive.
Benny Snell with a nice run up the middle for 7 yards fighting through multiple tacklers. A five yard quick comeback to Diontae Johnson gets the first down.
Diontae Johnson getting his number called a lot this drive. Already 5 targets this drive out of 6 possible plays.
A deep completion to Chase Claypool for a pickup of 22 yards, fighting off some defenders for a couple YAC.
Ray-Ray McCloud on the crosser the next play for a 8 yard pickup to get to the 21 yard line. Benny Snell makes it first and goal on a pass into the flats with some YAC along the right sideline.
Juju Tackled for a 1 yard loss on 1st, and an incomplete on 2nd to James Washington. The Steelers 3rd and long in the red zone again.
Incomplete to Eric Ebron on 3rd and the Steelers fail for the 3rd straight time inside the 10 yard line. The kick is good. 12-7 Steelers.
Drops have plagued the offense heavily so far in the first half.
Dez Bryant slipped coming out of his break on 2nd down to set up 3rd and 11 for the Ravens.
Bud Dupree came in untouched and guessed wrong. Griffin III for a huge run up the middle that was close to being a touchdown. The Ravens are flirting with the red zone now.
The Steelers called for too many men on the field, so 2nd and 1 for the Ravens.
Robert Griffin III came up lame as he bounced a run to the outside. Some sort of non-contact quad pull. Trace McSorely time.
Griffin stayed in and attempted a deep pass on 1st down. TJ Watt in coverage against Marquise Brown and the ball fell incomplete.
Ravens come out in heavy set with a tackle reported eligible – results in just a 1 yard gain by Justice Hill.
The next play, though, Hill takes it 19 yards nearly scoring a touchdown. 1st and goal on the 4 yard line.
Hill got the ball again on 1st, picking up 3. 2nd and inches with 00:26 remaining in the half and the Ravens burn their 3rd timeout.
On 2nd down, Gus Edward stuffed in the middle by former Raven, Chris Wormley and Vince Williams.
3rd down, and the Ravens try a pass to Luke Willson. It fell incomplete as the clock expired after Minkah Fitzpatrick jarred the ball loose. The Steelers get extremely lucky here as the Ravens get zero points.
HALFTIME – 12-7 Steelers.
Join us for the second half thread here.