The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves still in the hunt after winning against the Las Vegas Raiders Christmas Eve, pushing them to 7-8 on the season. For starting the season 3-7, the Steelers have won four of their last five games with their only loss coming to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 losing 16-14 in a game where Kenny Pickett was knocked out of the game and Mitch Trubisky replaced him, throwing three INTs to the Ravens defense which effectively lost Pittsburgh the game.
Still, while the offense didn’t capitalize on the defense holding Baltimore to 16 points in the contest, the defensive side of the football isn’t without blame in that game either as they surrendered 215 rushing yards to a Ravens offense that became one-dimensional after backup QB Tyler Huntley got knocked out of the game, prompting them to play rookie UDFA Anthony Brown who completed three passes for a grand total of 16 yards.
S Minkah Fitzpatrick was asked about the team’s upcoming rematch against the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday Night Football, to which he recognized that they must play better against the run this time around to capture victory on the road to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“I think we did a lot of good things, but there’s some things that we needed to improve on,” Fitzpatrick said to the media Monday on video from Steelers.com. “Definitely smashing the run is one of the things that we didn’t do at that game, and we’ve been doing a good job with that the last couple weeks. So, we just got to carry over the last few weeks into this game.”
Fitzpatrick is correct in say that Pittsburgh has really done well stopping the run since that embarrassing performance against the Ravens, holding the Carolina Panthers to 21 rushing yards on the game in Week 15 while holding NFL rushing leader Josh Jacobs to his lowest YPC of the season, limiting him to 44 yards on 15 carries (2.93 YPC) as the defense neutralized the Las Vegas offense, giving Pittsburgh’s offense a chance to win the game late.
The Raiders and the Panthers were regarded as two of the better running games in the league, and Pittsburgh suffocated them when many (including myself) thought they would get run over. However, the Ravens had historically had success on the ground against Pittsburgh, making this rematch between the Ravens and Steelers a battle of pride as Fitzpatrick and the rest of the defense looks to get revenge for what Baltimore did to them a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Ravens will look to end the Steelers’ playoff hopes and once again impose their will on the ground come Sunday night.