- Le’Veon Bell’s 43 yard scamper
- Heath Miller’s 8 catches, each one seemingly more clutch than the last
- 10-2-3 Jason Worild’s tackle-sack-QB hit total vs. the combined 4-0-1 total of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs
- 6 of 8 Steelers possessions starting at or deeper than their 21 yard line vs. 2 Ravens possessions beginning inside their 20
- 73 to 67, Bell’s rushing total vs. that of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce combined
- 3 - signifying in game injuries suffered by, you guessed it, the Steelers offensive line as Fernando Velasco, Mike Adams, and Kelvin Beachum all fell prey.
- ZERO and 2
Steelers Continue Thanksgiving Where They Left Off….
In his pregame press conference Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about how it was an honor to play on Thanksgiving. An honor it might be in the abstract, but in truth Thanksgiving has been anything but kind to the Steelers in the modern era.
- 1983 Brought the “Thanksgiving Day Massacre” in the form of the 45-3 loss to Detroit
- 1991 Saw Dallas make Pittsburgh regret not drafting Emmitt Smith
- 1998 Saw the Steelers screw themselves by letting Detroit tie a game it had no business tying, only to be screwed by NFL Phil Luckett’s in ability to distinguish the “heads” and “tails” in spoken word format
Ben Roethlisberger’s passes were too often off target, the Steelers failed to convert third downs, and the Todd Haley stubbornly kept trying to run Le’veon Bell when their was no room to rush….
Steelers Find Second Half Spark
Yet, for as poorly as they played in the first 30 minutes, the Steelers were only down 10-0. Hardly an indelible deficit. The Steelers could have folded, could have allowed thoughts of a warm locker room and extended long weekend to crowd out their competitive desire.
- Instead, they did as they have all season long, they dug in and fought back.
The Steelers couldn’t score again in the 3rd quarter but, the defense held Baltimore out of the end zone, limiting the damage to two field goals. 19-7 isn’t a pretty score to be facing at the beginning of a 4th quarter divisional game on the road, it its also not a death sentence.
And the Steelers had plenty of life in them, as Roethlisberger, Miller, Bell, Sanders and Antonio Brown fought down to the Raven’s one, where Bell ran it in.
- The defense, as it had done all night, limited Baltimore to another field goal, bringing the score to 22-14, with 5:37 play.
Regarldess of the final outcome, the Steelers final drive will remain the stuff of legend. Roethlisberger, Miler, Brown, Bell and Jerricho Cotchery all made spectacular plays. The Steelers lost Bell and center Fernando Velasco to injury in the process. On the drive the officals signaled “touchdown” twice, only to overturn each decision via replay. The Steelers of course did score a touchdown with yet another Roethlisberger to Cotchery Red Zone connection.
- Alas, it was all for naught as Emmanuel Sanders couldn’t hold on to the two point conversion.
2 Critical Plays
To their credit, both Roethlisberger and Sanders took blame for the failed conversion. But the failed conversion really wasn’t the root cause of the Steelers loss. You can trace those root causes down to the Steelers third possession of the first half and the Raven’s second possession of the second half.
On that fateful third position, the Steelers made their only meaningful progress of the first half, reaching the Raven’s 32. Mike Tomlin opted to try a field goal, but Shaun Suisham’s timing was off. The result was an 11 yard loss.
- 31 yards later the Ravens kicked their first of five field goals of the night.
The Steelers of course got a second chance, but saw that evaporate as Jacoby Jones answered the Steelers first touchdown with a 73 yard return that only Cortez Allen saved from doing more damage. (Those interested in Tomlin’s side step, for which he should be punished, click here for some common sense as to whether or not it was intentional).
The Ravens only made 7 yards on the ensuring drive.
- If the Steelers stop Jones before midfield, the field goal probably never happens.
Unfortunately they made two critical ones vs. a rebounding Ravens team. Credit the Ravens for playing hard fought, turnover free football and building up a 22 point lead in their own merits. And credit them for doing what so often is the deciding factor in football games – taking advantage of your opponents errors.