Cheat Sheet: Steelers vs. Ravens

How to Watch/Listen

  • TV coverage: Broadcast locally in Pittsburgh on CBS (KDKA-TV)
  • Steelers Radio Network - Game coverage begins at 4:25 p.m. ET; Pregame programming begins at 12:25 p.m.; Postgame coverage starts immediately following the game.
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Injury Update

The Steelers continued their preparation for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

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Series History

The first year this franchise was in Baltimore was 1996. Since then, the Ravens and Steelers have met 54 times, including four post season battles. Pittsburgh has won 30 of those, including three of the playoff games. The Steelers swept Baltimore last year and have won six of the last nine, but before that timeframe, the Ravens had a four-game winning streak and had won nine of 12. But Pittsburgh owned this series early on, winning six of the first seven matchups. Without question, Steelers/Ravens has been as good as any NFL rivalry, or any rivalry in sports, over the past quarter of a century. Mike Tomlin is 16-15 against Baltimore.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 12 game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field

The Season so Far

  • The Ravens currently sit atop the AFC North with a record of 8-3. The Steelers are in fourth place at 5-5-1, but there are 11 teams in the AFC with more wins than Pittsburgh. Baltimore's point differential for the year is +23. The Steelers sit at -43.
  • The Ravens have six wins in games that have been decided by seven points or fewer. No team has more one-score wins this season, and only once in the past five seasons has a team had more than six such victories through the first 12 weeks.
  • Four of Pittsburgh's final six games are on the road. The five remaining opponents (counting Baltimore twice) have a combined record right now of 42-26.
  • The Ravens offense averages 5.5 yards per play, which is right in the middle of the league. The Steelers defense gives up 5.8 yards per play. Pittsburgh is producing 5.0 yards per play on offense. However, the Ravens defense allows 6.0 yards every time the ball is snapped.
  • In terms of time of possession, the Steelers are just a bit over league average. Baltimore possesses the football more than any team in the NFL. On average per game, the Ravens hold the ball for 33:47.
  • Baltimore's -7 turnover differential is better than only the Jaguars and Jets. Pittsburgh sits at -4. Neither team is taking the ball away at a high rate with 10 takeaways apiece, with five interceptions and five fumble recoveries for both defenses. Just three defenses have fewer interceptions. The Ravens have turned the ball over 17 times compared to 14 by Pittsburgh. The big difference is interceptions. Baltimore has thrown 13 interceptions, the fourth most in the league, compared to just seven by the Steelers. The Ravens are 31st in the league in sacks plus turnovers allowed, giving up a combined 4.8 per game.
  • On average, the ball comes out of Ben Roethlisberger's hands in 2.43 seconds. The only quarterback quicker is Colt McCoy. As for Lamar Jackson, he holds the ball 2.94 seconds. The only passers that hold the ball longer are Jalen Hurts, Zach Wilson, and Jameis Winston. Jackson's yards per attempt is 7.7 compared to 6.6 for Roethlisberger.
  • When looking at yards per route run, Diontae Johnson averages 2.14 yards every time he runs a pass route. Chase Claypool is at 1.94. As for the Ravens, Marquise Brown averages 2.07 yards per route. Rashod Bateman is at 1.58 and Sammy Watkins is at 1.70. As for the top tight ends in this game, Mark Andrews is 1.99 and Pat Freiermuth is at 1.31. Rob Gronkowski and Jonnu Smith are the only two tight ends with a better average per route run than Andrews.
  • The Steelers opponents are averaging 46 more rushing yards per game than Pittsburgh and 1.1 more yards per carry than the Steelers. The Ravens average 66.5 more yards on the ground than they allow. That margin is the highest in the NFL.

When Pittsburgh Has the Ball

  • Baltimore has allowed just 23 points over their past two games. The Steelers have produced 17 points or less in five of their 11 contests.
  • The Steelers throw the ball 63.9% of the time. The only offenses that pass the ball at a higher percentage of the time are the Buccaneers, Jets, Chargers, and Chiefs.
  • Here are the Steelers pass tendencies versus the NFL average by game script: Trailing by four or more: *+6%, *Within three points:+1%, Leading by four or more:+3%.
  • Baltimore's opponents run the ball against them just 34.8%. That is the second smallest percentage in the league. 27.8% of the rushing attempts against the Ravens have produces zero yards or less. That is the best percentage in the NFL.
  • The Steelers offensive personnel groupings haven't changed much throughout the season. Pittsburgh is in 11 Personnel (1 RB/1 TE) or 12 Personnel (1 RB/2 TE) a combined 92% of their snaps.
  • Baltimore's defense has been on the field for 691 snaps in 2021. Chuck Clark has missed just one snap and Marlon Humphrey has missed just two. The Ravens have three edge rushers, Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, and Justin Houston, between 384 and 492 snaps played thus far. 21 defensive players have seen the field for 100 snaps or more.
  • Last week, Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool each played 61 snaps and ran 43 routes. James Washington played 27 snaps and ran 22 routes, but Anthony Miller saw the field for 25 plays and ran a route on 19 of those. In that game, Najee Harris played just 32 of a possible 62 snaps while Anthony McFarland, Kalen Ballage, and Benny Snell combined for 27 offensive snaps.
  • Claypool's average depth of target for the year is at 13.2 compared to 9.6 for Johnson. Johnson has three straight games with at least 13 targets, seven catches, and 80 receiving yards and Claypool has two straight with at least 80 receiving yards. Johnson has been targeted 12 times per game on average since Week 5 with double digit targets in eight of his 10 games played this year.
  • Last week James Washington, Anthony Miller, Zach Gentry, Anthony McFarland, Benny Snell, and Kalen Ballage ran a collective 72 routes, but were only targeted eight times in total.
  • Baltimore is fourth-best in completion rate (59.4%) and 10th in touchdown rate (4.2%) allowed. However, the Ravens rank 30th in yards allowed per attempt.
  • The Ravens allow a league-high 15.3 yards per catch to opposing wide receivers and a league-high 15 touchdowns from outside the red zone. They have given up 12 completions of 40 or more yards and 51 receptions of 20 or more yards-both of which are the most in the league.
  • Over the past month, Jarvis Landry, Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin, and Justin Jefferson have combined to catch 18 passes against the Ravens. But those 18 receptions have been good for 405 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Baltimore allows 5.9 receptions per game to tight ends along with a 6.8% touchdown rate. That ranks 28th and 23rd respectively.
  • Najee Harris has just 62 rushing yards over the past two games. He touched the ball just 11 times in Cincinnati and accounted for only 37 yards from scrimmage. This was Harris' fewest number of carries as a professional and he only played 36 of a possible 62 offensive snaps. He only played 17% of the fourth quarter snaps while the Steelers were down very heavy on the scoreboard in Cincinnati. But in the first three quarters, Harris was on pace for 82% of the snaps and 70% of the rushing attempts in that game. Harris leads all rookies in yards from scrimmage, rushing yards, and rushing touchdowns. He has produced 703 scrimmage yards in his six career games at Heinz Field. Harris also has 248 touches without a fumble, which is best in the NFL. Harris' 6.1 targets per game is the second most amongst all NFL running backs.
  • However, collectively, the Steelers running backs are averaging just .85 yards before first contact. Baltimore allows the fewest runs in the league of five or more yards.
  • Pittsburgh averages just 3.7 yards per rushing attempt. The Ravens defense yields 4.1 yards per carry. Only eight defenses are better.
  • Only the Buccaneers allow fewer rushing yards per game than Baltimore. On average, the Ravens opponents are rushing for just 84.2 yards per contest. But the Ravens are also allowing the most passing yards (275.7) per game in the entire league.
  • On average, Pittsburgh's offense runs 65.3 plays per game. Just eight teams snap the ball more often.
  • Not only does Baltimore's offense run the most plays per game on average. But Ravens' opponents average just 59.5 plays run per contest, which is the lowest in the league.
  • The Ravens defense is the best in the NFL on third downs, allowing just a 30.5% conversion rate.

When Baltimore Has the Ball

  • Over the past three games, the Steelers defense has given up 722 rushing yards to the Bears, Lions, Chargers and Bengals. Over the past two games, they have allowed 903 total yards from scrimmage. The Steelers have surrendered 82 points in the last two weeks and over the past two weeks, Pittsburgh's opponents have scored on every first drive of the half but one. Last week was the eighth time that the Steelers defense gave up at least 100 yards rushing this year.
  • The Ravens are averaging just 14 points per game over their last three contests, but Pittsburgh has given up 41 points in each of their last two games.
  • Baltimore runs more offensive plays per game than any team in the league. The Ravens run 71.2 plays on average. Kansas City is second at 68.7.
  • The Ravens are on pace to drop back to pass 11% more this season than in 2020.
  • It may surprise some that the Ravens are not on the total extreme of run/pass percentage. In fact, there are seven offenses in the NFL that run the ball a higher percentage than the 54.1% of the time Baltimore goes to the ground attack.
  • Of course, the Ravens are unorthodox on offense. In fact, they align in 11 Personnel (1 RB/1 TE) just 38% of the time while league average is at 59%. They are using 12 Personnel (1 RB/2 TE) an extremely low amount at just 4%, while league average is at 22%. Where Baltimore makes up for it is their usage of 21 Personnel (2 RB/1 TE) at 29%, 22 Personnel (2 RB/2 TE) at 19%, and 20 Personnel (2 RB/0 TE) at 9%. League average for these groupings is 7%, 3%, and 1% respectively.
  • The Ravens have played 821 offensive snaps. Kevin Zeitler, Alejandro Villanueva, and Bradley Bozeman are the only players with 783 snaps or more played. Lamar Jackson is fourth with 724 and Ben Powers is the only other player on Baltimore's offense that is over 592 snaps played.
  • Of a possible 731 defensive snaps for Pittsburgh, Terrell Edmunds is the only Steelers player to be on the field for more than 657 snaps. But 20 defensive players have seen the field for 100 snaps or more. 11 have played 400 snaps or more on Pittsburgh's defense.
  • Over the past three weeks, the Ravens have had 35 offensive drives. They have scored a touchdown on just three of those drives. That 8.6% is last in the league. During that stretch, Baltimore's offense is 30th in points per plays run, producing at .19. But before that dry stretch, Baltimore averaged .38 points produced per play, which was 12th.
  • Lamar Jackson is tied with Jalen Hurts for the most designed rushing attempts amongst all quarterbacks at 23.6% and third in scramble rate at 11.1%. Jackson has eclipsed 50 rushing yards in eight of his last 10 games. Pittsburgh has given up rushing yards to running quarterbacks this year. Josh Allen, Justin Fields, and Justin Herbert have combined for 179 yards on the ground.
  • In terms of rushing yards allowed per game, only the Chargers, Texans, Vikings, and Lions allow more than Pittsburgh. Just isolated to the running back position, Pittsburgh is allowing 4.8 yards per carry, which is 31st.
  • Last week against Cleveland, Marquise Brown led Baltimore's wide receivers in snaps played by a wide margin. But Rashod Bateman, Sammy Watkins and Devin Duvernay each played between 35 and 37 snaps. Brown received a whopping 33% of the passing targets. Brown also has a four-game streak with at least five receptions and over those four games, Brown has been targeted 49 times.
  • Over Jackson's past three games, he has hit just 3 of 18 passes 15 yards or deeper downfield. Before that three-game stretch, he was 22 of 49. The Steelers rank 27th in completion rate allowed on targets 15 yards or more downfield and have allowed a touchdown on those targets in each of their past three games.
  • After averaging 9.1 yards per pass attempt over the first five games of the year, Jackson has now averaged 6.3 over his past five games.
  • Mark Andrews is second to Travis Kelce amongst all NFL tight ends with 60 catches and 761 receiving yards. Kelce and Andrews are the only tight ends with 700+ receiving yards in each of the last three years. Andrews already has 89 targets which is only nine short of his career high.
  • Devonta Freeman played 41 snaps last week compared to 34 for Latavius Murray. But Freeman's 16 carries doubled the rushing opportunities that Murray received. Over the past four games, Freeman averages 16.75 touches per game.
  • Baltimore averages 4.6 yards per carry, which is fifth best in the league. Pittsburgh allows opposing runners to gain 4.8 yards per carry. That is tied for league-worst with Minnesota.
  • Ravens quarterbacks are being sacked 3.3 times per game. Only the Bears are worse. Pittsburgh's defense generates 2.7 sacks per game. Only the Vikings and Bears are better.
  • The Steelers have yet to take the ball away multiple times in a game in 2021.

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • There are five Ravens players with over 200 snaps on special teams. They are Kristian Welch, Chris Board, Antony Levine, Tylan Wallace, and Geno Stone.
  • Pittsburgh also has five players with over 200 special teams snaps: Ulysees Gilbert, Derek Watt, Miles Killebrew, Benny Snell, and Marcus Allen.
  • Baltimore's punt returners are generating 15.1 yards per attempt. But the Ravens are allowing their opponents to gain just 6.9 yards per punt return.

The Advanced Scout Podcast

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Matt's Most Memorable Moment: January 15, 2011: Steelers 31, Ravens 24

Baltimore manhandled the Chiefs in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, winning 30-7 while the Steelers were on bye to open the post season. After a slow start, Pittsburgh got on the board first with a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown plunge. But the Ravens roared back and took a 21-7 lead into halftime on the road. The third quarter belonged to the Steelers though with Ben Roethlisberger throwing touchdown passes to Heath Miller and then Hines Ward to tie this game. Pittsburgh and the Ravens exchanged field goals before Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown 58 yards downfield to put the Steelers on the two-yard line very late in the game. Mendenhall sealed the Steelers victory with a touchdown run with just 1:33 left on the clock. Even with 54 total points scored, this was a defensive battle without question. Baltimore finished the day with just 126 yards of total offense. Terrell Suggs had three sacks in this game and the Ravens sacked Roethlisberger six times. James Harrison had three sacks of his own and Joe Flacco was sacked five times. Baltimore finished with just 35 rushing yards, while the Steelers could only muster 71 yards on the ground in a very physical affair. After edging out the Ravens, Pittsburgh went on to defeat the Jets in the AFC Championship game before finally falling to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Facts from NFL Research

  • The Steelers won both matchups with the Ravens in 2020
  • Won 28-24 at Baltimore in Week 8, won 19-14 vs. Baltimore Week 12
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 17-10 in his career against the Ravens (including playoffs).
  • He has won six of his last seven starts vs. Baltimore since Week 16, 2016.
  • Lamar Jackson has at least two interceptions in both of his two starts against the steelers.
  • Harris has 248 touches this season; on pace for 383 touches which would be the most by a rookie since LaDainian Tomlinson had 398 in 2001.

Key Matchups

  • Ravens RT Patrick Mekari vs. Steelers OLB TJ Watt-When Ronnie Stanley was injured, the Ravens moved Alejandro Villanueva from right tackle to Stanley's left tackle spot and inserted Mekari, who had played most of his NFL snaps at center, to the right tackle position. You wouldn't have expected Mekari to thrive in such a situation, but he has been one of the most pleasant surprises for Baltimore this year in his new role. Watt had two sacks the last time these teams met and has six sacks in his last three home games. If Watt is unable to play, Villanueva will get more help with Alex Highsmith and Mekari should do a lot of one-on-one blocking against Watt's replacement.
  • Steelers WR Diontae Johnson vs. Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey-Humphrey will often follow the opponent's top receiver and unlike some corners that shadow, Humphrey has no reservations about going into the slot. He is very talented and plays with an aggressive edge. Humphrey has a pass defense in eight straight games, the longest current streak of its kind. He is one of three players with 10+ pass defenses in each of the past five seasons.
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