It took overtime, but the Ravens overcame the Steelers by a score of 26-23. Neither team had a great day offensively as neither team got to 300 yards. Both teams were ravaged with penalties as we saw a total of 22 penalties and 168 total penalty yards. There were five turnovers: three for Baltimore and two for Pittsburgh. It was an ugly AFC North battle. It was the epitome of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.
In the passing game, Lamar Jackson was shaky at best. He tossed three interceptions, but only one can be solely blamed on Jackson. His first interception could have been called back for a pass interference, and his third interception appeared to hit the ground before Devin Bush was able to secure the pick. Jackson was also sacked five times on the day.
For Pittsburgh, three players attempted passes as Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges, and Jaylen Samuels lined up under center at some point. Rudolph tossed a touchdown on his 20 pass attempts before leaving the game after a hit from Earl Thomas and a gruesome collision with the turf. Hodges, an undrafted rookie, stepped in and completed seven of nine passes down the stretch, racking up 68 yards. Samuels threw two passes, completing one to the Steelers and one to the Ravens.
In the rushing game, the Steelers bottled up Mark Ingram for only 44 yards on 19 carries. Jackson ran for 70 yards on 14 attempts. Ingram added a touchdown in the first quarter. For the Steelers, James Conner scampered for 55 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Hodges had the longest run for any player on either team, recording a 21-yard carry. Neither rushing offense was particularly effective.
JuJu Smith-Schuster led the game in receiving yards, recording 75 on seven catches including a touchdown. Smith-Schuster also lost a fumble in overtime. Four different Ravens caught three passes. Five different Steelers caught three passes.
Things we learned this week
Lamar Jackson had his worst game as a starter, and the Ravens still won.
Jackson had his first career three-pick game. He did post 231 yards and a touchdown, but he was generally halted by the Steelers. A strong pass rush was able to make Jackson uncomfortable in the pocket, being sacked five times.
Marlon Humphrey is the lone playmaker on the Ravens defense.
Humphrey forced a critical fumble in overtime. He failed to force a fumble on Smith-Schuster’s touchdown, but he exacted his revenge on the biggest drive of the game. Humphrey has been phenomenal, keeping some of the NFL’s best receivers under wraps and forcing a pair of turnovers.
Tony Jefferson is out for the season.
Jefferson tore his ACL late in the game. On the play that he tore his ACL, Jefferson was called for a holding penalty which nullified an Earl Thomas interception. While Jefferson’s play had been inconsistent on the season, the Ravens must find a new safety and a new defensive play-caller. Odds are that the respective replacements will be DeShon Elliott and Patrick Onwuasor.
The Ravens have scored the most points in the NFL.
Despite only posting more than 30 points in one game, the Ravens have held serve as the NFL’s best offense after each week. The Ravens should be able to score points against the Bengals next week, the NFL’s 27th-best scoring defense. With the Patriots on the heels of the Ravens, the Ravens could surrender the title of the NFL’s best offense next week.
Things we learned last week:
Marlon Humphrey is the best cornerback not named Stephon Gilmore.
As noted above, Humphrey has been tremendous this season. While Gilmore has been virtually impenetrable on the NFL’s defense, Humphrey has been the lone bright spot on a disappointing Ravens defense.
The Ravens have a messy defense.
The Ravens have had a porous defense. They rank in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed, points allowed, and turnovers forced. The Ravens have lost a pair of defensive backs (Tavon Young and Tony Jefferson), but they will get the services of Jimmy Smith in the coming weeks. Smith should provide a boost to the passing defense, a unit that ranks 29th.
A look at next week
The 3-2 Ravens return home to face the 0-5 Bengals. The 1-4 Steelers head to Los Angeles to play the 2-3 Chargers on Sunday Night Football.
A look into the AFC playoff picture
The Ravens have launched themselves back into first place in the AFC. They currently occupy the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs. On the contrary, the Steelers sit two games out of the division and two games out of the Wild Card race.