Following each game in the 2021 Steelers season, I will be highlighting the play or event in the game that is the turning point. These aren’t meant to be anything earth-shattering, but meant to take a deeper look at how we arrived at the outcome of the game that may be hard to see during the first live watch.
After putting up only three points in the first half where the Steelers possessed the ball an embarrassing six and half minutes of the possible 30, they came out and laid another egg starting the third quarter with two consecutive punts. The seven points they were down, seemed 21+ as the offense continued to spin their tires in the newly sodded Heinz Field surface. With how everything was going, from controversial penalties and overturned plays, going down two possessions at this point seemed like it would be the final nail in the coffin, not only for the game but the Steelers’ season.
Following a 25-yard “JV” punt by the Steelers rookie, Pressley Harvin III, the Ravens took over at their own 26.
The Steelers’ defense backed this Lamar Jackson-led Baltimore offense into another third-down and long. The terrible towels were out in full force ready to see one more defensive stop to try to stay in this AFC North battle —
only to see Jackson scramble and throw his way to the sixth third-down conversion of the game.
He found his favorite receiver, Hollywood Brown, wide open on the sidelines. Brown, then, was able to get up off the ground untouched to pick up 17-yards, sucking the life out of the black and gold faithful.
Now all the way to the 44-yard line, the Ravens were likely only one first down away from getting All-World kicker, Justin Tucker, into field goal range and the opportunity to stretch the lead to two possessions, minimum. All game, the Steelers seemed to get this Ravens squad into third-down and longs only to give up the yards needed.
After former-Raven Chris Wormley and TJ Watt teamed up for yet another sack, it brought up Pittsburgh’s kryptonite, third-and-long.
As the play starts, it begins to look like all the other Lamar Jackson conversions.
Jackson rolls right, Cam Sutton lunges, doesn’t stop him. TJ Watt dives and also falls at the heels of Jackson.
You can see Jackson’s eyes lock-in on a receiver, he cocks and fires. The ball just misses the fingertips of Cam Heyward.
Then, you see the one Baltimore Raven, Devonta Freeman finally come into the frame with no one around him.
“YOU’VE GAHHTTT TO BE KIDDING ME” all the voices inside the heads of yinzers scream in unison.
This time, however, the ball would rebound off the running back’s outstretched hand and fall harmlessly to the turf.
While it may not have seemed like much at the time, this stop was where the tide turned for this Steelers team. Shortly after, this CBS announcer, Tony Romo, even mentioned “doesn’t it seem like everything is going Pittsburgh’s way now?”
Following the Ravens punt and the start of the fourth quarter, the Steelers offense FINALLY put together a scoring drive consisting of two back-to-back explosive plays by the Steelers wideouts. One being a 40-yarder to Chase Claypool and the other being the 29-yarder to Diontae Johnson to finish off the drive.
The Steelers ended up outscoring the Ravens 17-9 from that third-down stop to the end of the game. Without that stop, I think we see a very different ball game.
What did you feel was the turning point of the game? Leave your thoughts and comments below!