Ben Roethlisberger led a comeback from deficits of 13-0 and 16-7, but had not one, but two, apparent touchdowns overturned by replay on the final drive. Roethlisberger was 8 of 11 for 94 yards on the final scoring drive and finished with 257 yards passing. He was 11 of 18 for 78 yards in the first half and made several nice plays to elude pressure, including scrambling 11 yards for a first down. But the Steelers were held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season.
Steelers Report: Ravens 22, Steelers 20
Steelers beat writers Ed Bouchette and Gerry Dulac talk about the Steelers' loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Stadium in Baltimore (Video by Matt Hafley; 11/28/2013)
The Steelers finally got a breakout run and it was rookie Le'Veon Bell who delivered, going 43 yards on third-and-2 to set up the first touchdown. He finished with 136 total yards. Bell had only 21 yards on nine rushes in the first half, but he finished with 73 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown and also caught seven passes for 63 yards. His 29-yard catch-and-run on second-and-24 to the Ravens 20 set up the third touchdown.
Heath Miller had eight catches for 86 yards, including a 19-yard catch to the 1 that set up the third touchdown. The Ravens did a good job to neutralize Antonio Brown, holding him to three catches for 21 yards in the first half. Brown finished with five catches and 59 yards, but he had a big 19-yarder to set up the second touchdown. Emmanuel Sanders had four catches in the first half and an 8-yard touchdown in the third, but he dropped the two-point conversion pass that would have tied the game.
The running game was sluggish in the first half, but the line started to open some holes in the second half. What's more, the protection was more than decent because Roethlisberger was not sacked for the second game in a row. He has been sacked just once in the past three games.
The Ravens were one of two teams in the league who averaged less than 3 yards per rush attempt, but they had 72 yards on 20 carries while building a 19-14 lead. But they did not have a run longer than 12 yards by Bernard Pierce. Ray Rice was a non-factor, averaging 2.6 yards on 11 rushes, but his 22-yard catch-and-run on third down in the fourth quarter set up a field goal that gave the Ravens a 22-14 lead.
Jason Worilds was outstanding again replacing LaMarr Woodley on the left side, getting two sacks, eight tackles and a forced fumble in the first half alone. Woodley (calf), who missed his third game in a row, hasn't been as productive as Worilds when he's been healthy. Lawrence Timmons had several big stops on Rice, but Jarvis Jones continues to have problems applying any kind of pressure.
Another pass play of 50+ yards, more blown coverages and a costly pass interference penalty were the norm in the first half. Joe Flacco had 118 of his 251 yards passing in the first half and finished with 24 completions in 35 attempts. Torrey Smith had three catches for 65 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive, then didn't catch another pass until the third quarter. But his 54-yarder that set up the first touchdown came when S Will Allen appeared to bite on an underneath route, leaving the deep middle of the field open.
Two kickoff returns of 32 and 73 yards by Jacoby Jones in the third quarter led to a pair of field goals by the Ravens. The 73-yard return was the longest allowed this season. Shaun Suisham did not miss a field goal, but he did botch a 50-yard attempt in the second quarter when he started before the snap and failed to get off the kick. That failed attempt could have been the difference in the game.
The Steelers three-game winning streak came to an end in a game that was critical to their chances of making the postseason. Long passes have not been uncommon, but long kick returns were, and those helped lead to the 13-point deficits. The offense showed a good mix of run and pass in the second half, but, unlike the Ravens, the Steelers did not get the big plays when they needed a spark.