Baltimore Ravens Trounce Pittsburgh Steelers Despite Lineup Consisting of Backupsby Ryan Potts December 31, 2019 0 comments
The Ravens improved to 14-2 with a 28-10 win over the Steelers, who fell to 8-8.
What did we learn?
Calling Pittsburgh’s offense “trash” is an insult to trash:
Benny Snell was the lone bright spot for Pittsburgh. Devlin Hodges was atrocious. As great as the Steelers defense was during the season, they could not overcome one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
The Ravens need to figure out their run defense:
Regardless of who comes to Baltimore for the divisional playoffs in two weeks, the team will know that Baltimore is porous in terms of run defense. Derrick Henry, Devin Singletary, or Carlos Hyde would likely have productive days on the ground. While the Week 17 Ravens were without the services of Brandon Williams, there was no reason for Benny Snell to have as much success as he did. The Ravens should spend the next two weeks figuring out how to stop the run. The secondary is humming, but the run defense needs to remember how to play football.
The Baltimore pass rush is too inconsistent to trust:
The only consistency about the Baltimore pass rush is the number of blitzes dialed up by Don Martindale. The Ravens blitz more than any team in the NFL, but their sack and pressure numbers pale in comparison to other teams. While Matt Judon is a stud game wrecker, the Ravens do not have a second consistent option that could disrupt Patrick Mahomes in a potential AFC title game. Baltimore desperately needs Jaylon Ferguson or Tyus Bowser to have a productive postseason.
The rushing schemes are firing on all cylinders:
Despite missing their two best offensive linemen and their two most productive rushers, the Ravens ran for over 220 yards against the Steelers vaunted run defense. Gus Edwards and Robert Griffin III did their best impressions of Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson, and the Ravens set the record for most rushing yards in a season.
Griffin is a mess:
Griffin completed just 11 of 21 passes, throwing for under 100 yards and getting an unfortunate bounce on an interception. While the Steelers were great defensively, Griffin did himself no favors on the trade market. As a runner, though, he was electric.
Justin Tucker is a weapon, still:
Tucker nailed all four of his field goals on Sunday. On the season, he has missed one kick. Tucker is as good as it gets, and the Ravens will have a kicking advantage against any potential playoff opponent.
Lamar Jackson is not only the best player in the NFL in the season, but he is also the most valuable:
28 points on the scoreboard is a misleading interpretation of Griffin’s impact. Nine of those points came from the defense and special teams, and the only offensive touchdown came on a short field. With Jackson, the Ravens would likely have scored several more times and pummelled the Steelers to a tune of 39-10 or even worse. The passing offense had no life, and Jackson would have given the passing offense its life back.
A look into the AFC playoff picture:
The Ravens wrapped up the AFC’s top seed in Week 16.
By the Titans beating the Texans, the Steelers were eliminated from playoff contention.
A look ahead to Wild Card Weekend:
Baltimore will be scouting their next opponent. If the Titans beat the Patriots, the Titans will come to Baltimore in two weeks. If the Patriots win, the winner of Bills-Texans will get a rematch with the Ravens.
Hopefully, Pittsburgh remembers how the couch feels because they will be watching the playoffs on TV.