RAVENS 22, STEELERS 20
Steelers’ record: 5-7
One year ago: 7-5
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 22-15
The examples depicting the intensity of this rivalry are many, and the intensity dial is always turned up on the occasions when these teams either meet in the playoffs or when the regular season games have playoff implications. With both the Steelers and the Ravens coming into the game at 5-6 and in a mathematical tie record-wise for the AFC’s last playoff spot with four other teams, this game certainly has playoff implications. But an added bonus for the winning team is the knowledge that it likely will knock out the losing team from playoff contention. Explained Coach Mike Tomlin, “We understand this thing probably is going to be decided in the waning moments and we have to deliver the critical plays, and between the start of the game and those critical plays we can’t absorb too much damage. And we have to dish out a little damage of our own.”
It was early in the first quarter, on the Ravens’ first possession to be precise, but it revealed Baltimore’s plan for attacking the Steelers defense and it would prove successful several times over the course of the game. Off play-action, Joe Flacco attacked deep down the field, first to Jacoby Jones and then to Torrey Smith. Those chunk plays proved to be the difference for the Ravens on some of their scoring drives, and in a game decided by a missed two-point conversion that was significant.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT I
The game marked the second of the annual home-and-home series vs. the Ravens. Coming in to this game, the Steelers were 10-7 in the rematch, and based on the 22-20 outcome at M&T Bank Stadium, they now are 10-8.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT II
Another characteristic of Steelers-Ravens is that the games are close. Three points, to be precise. Leading up to Thanksgiving night, eight of the previous 10 games had been decided by exactly one field goal.
“I really think a particularly good offensive plan – and I would think they would say the same thing – starts with the protection of the quarterback,” said Coach Mike Tomlin before the game. “Keeping the quarterback upright in this matchup increases your chance of coming out on top of those three-point final scores.”
The Steelers did not give up any sacks, despite more in-game injuries along the offensive line and despite going against a Ravens defense that came into the game with 37 sacks. The Ravens offensive line gave up two sacks in the game, both recorded by
STAT THAT STANDS OUT III
The first half ended with the Ravens holding a 10-point lead, 10-0. It was the biggest lead for either team in the series this season. The Ravens held a 13-3 lead in the game here on Dec. 12, 2012. The Steelers came back to win that game, 23-20.