Steelers Report Card: Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens:

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Ben Roethlisberger did not complete a pass longer than 19 yards and passed for only 160 yards, but he did not commit a turnover for the second week in a row. And, for the second week in a row, he continued to make plays on scrambles, including a 19-yarder on third down that kept alive a field-goal drive. But, more important, he led the team on the winning drive to end the game, the first time he has done that since early last season



Le'Veon Bell pumped life into the running game, gaining 68 of his 93 yards in the first half. Bell averaged 4.9 yards per carry despite not having a run longer than 11 yards. What's more, he even ran four plays out of the Wildcat formation, gaining 15 yards on three direct snaps. Jonathan Dwyer made two big plays -- converting a third-and-1 with a hard run and throwing a big block on a 19-yard scramble by Roethlisberger.



Antonio Brown had only six catches, but two came on the final drive. The biggest was an 11-yarder that set up the winning field goal. TE Heath Miller caught a 3-yard touchdown off a shovel pass, but he also fumbled after a 14-yard gain that allowed the Ravens to kick a field goal. Derek Moye made a sensational 19-yard catch on third down to set up a field goal, but dropped a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter.



The line looks as though it has found a consistent combination with Kelvin Beachum at left tackle. Also, Guy Whimper had to replace injured Marcus Gilbert on the first series and was more than serviceable. The significance of that is the two tackles held Terrell Suggs (1) and Elvis Dumervil (.5) to just 1 1/2 sacks. And the running game was so effective -- 141 yards on 29 carries -- the Steelers had more rushing yards in the first half (82) than they had total in any of their five previous games.



The Ravens averaged slightly better than their season rushing average (2.7 yards), but not by much. They had 52 of their 82 yards rushing in the second half. Ray Rice was never much of a factor, gaining 45 yards rushing and 27 passing but never having a play longer than 13 yards. Steve McLendon had a big stop near the goalline, though he played sparingly with the Steelers in so much nickel and dime defense against Joe Flacco.



Lawrence Timmons was all over the field, tying a career high with 17 tackles, including 12 solo. He was a big reason the Ravens averaged just 3.2 yards rushing and didn't have a run longer than 13 yards. The Steelers had only one sack -- LaMarr Woodley had his team-high fifth -- but they were able to pressure Flacco a number of other times. Jason Worilds played for Jarvis Jones (concussion) and was solid.



William Gay made two of the biggest plays with a pair of pass breakups in the end zone, the latter forcing the Ravens to settle for a field goal in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco was 12 of 15 for 115 yards on the final two drives, including 10 of 11 on the tying touchdown drive. One of those plays was a 41-yard pass to Torrey Smith in which CB Ike Taylor failed to locate the ball, setting up the Ravens' third field goal.



Shaun Suisham continues to be perfect, in addition to clutch, hitting all four field-goal attempts, including the winning 42-yarder as time expired. But the Steelers finally got some production from their return teams. Emmanuel Sanders provided the big spark with a 44-yard kick return that set up the winning field goal. Felix Jones had a 42-yard kick return that started a field-goal drive. And Antonio Brown had an 18-yard punt return to jump-start a touchdown drive.



Give Todd Haley credit for putting some trickery in the offense and finding ways to create running room, using four Wildcat plays with Bell and a shovel pass for a touchdown to Miller. The defense has allowed just one touchdown in the past two games and, with the exception of a late 41-yard pass, did a good job keeping the play in front of them. It was important for the Steelers to validate their victory in New York by following up with another, and they did that.



First Published October 20, 2013 8:00 PM


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