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Steelers-Ravens Recap

Steelers win a third straight game with a huge divisional win over hated Baltimore, 43-23.

The Good – What can you say about Ben at this point? He is in legendary status after these past two games as he now holds the record for most TD passes thrown in consecutive weeks (12 total) in NFL history with his 6 TD passes in tonight’s game. Which goes along nicely with his record of being the only QB in NFL history to have two 500 yard passing games. Simply astounding and a nice F you to all the talking heads who continually neglect his status as an elite QB in this league. Watching the sports networks after the game and the coverage seemed rather subdued in regards to Ben’s recent accomplishments. I guess the media doesn’t like to be proven wrong. If this had been Peyton Manning one can only imagine the 24/7 coverage it would receive. But whatever, Ben is creating a legacy that when all is said and done will be impossible to ignore, try as the media would like to pretend otherwise this man is HOF bound. Well done, Big Ben.

– Antonio Brown continues his amazingly consistent play, 11 grabs, 144 yards, 1 awesome catch and run TD. Along with Brown, Markus Wheaton and rookie Bryant continue to contribute combining for 3 more TD grabs. Bryant has 5 TD grabs in just 3 starts, very impressive.

– Speaking of legendary status, James Harrison. That is all. Harrison snagged 2 sacks and harassed Flacco all game, on one play forcing Flacco to throw an errant pass resulting in an easy INT by Worilds. Simply incredible. Harrison said it would take him about a month to get back into game playing shape and he wasn’t kidding. He now has 4 sacks in the last 2 games. What happened to Lamar Woodley by the way? Harrison is one of the all time greats and he may be the most underrated player to have played in the NFL.

– Overall, the Steelers defensive pressure, like last week, was consistent and aggressive. Hats off to Lebeau for finally be more aggressive on defense. It was also nice to see that when Flacco is pressured he shows once again what a mediocre NFL QB he really is. He’s probably having nightmares about Harrison tonight.

– Harrison, Kiesel and Heyward might be the best players on defense right now. That’s good and bad at the same time. Maybe throw in Timmons as well.

– 2 Baltimore Turnovers resulting in short fields for the Steelers offense, eventually ending in 2 Steeler TD’s and the Steelers front 7 creating constant pressure on Flacco was the story for most of the 1st half.

– Bell didn’t get much on the ground but still contributed with a TD pass and clutch 3rd down catch in the 2nd half.

– The O-line played better in the 2nd half as the Raven defense continually blitzed with stunts and overloads.

– The secondary had a really good game with consistently good coverage.

The Bad – Things started off rough. After a 3 and out for the Steelers on the first offensive series of the game and punting from deep within the 20, the Ravens returned the punt 25 yards to the Steelers 35. First play TD pass to Torey Smith. Brice McCain was burned on the TD pass, tough play though.

– All the defensive injures. Harrison at least returned. Troy returned briefly but left after that. Shazier is really concerning as he was injured earlier in the year, hopefully this doesn’t become a recurring theme with him.

– O-line’s horrible pass protection in the 1st quarter. Beachum and Foster once again struggled with stunt plays. Ben was beat up a good bit, including a completely cheap shot from Upshaw. Should’ve probably had been ejected.

– Still some mental lapses and dumb plays like giving up the TD return to the Ravens after taking a commanding lead in the 2nd half and the horrible short kick off after another Steelers TD earlier in the game resulting in the Ravens starting at their own 38. Might as well just kick the ball out of bounds.

– Steelers offense didn’t get a first down until there was about 2 minutes left in the 1st quarter. It was typical and predictable start for this offense against the Ravens under Tomlin – devoid of any attack or vision, just feeling out the Ravens and “easing into the game”. In other words, complete horseshit. On 1st down on the Steelers 2nd possession Ben bought time and looked downfield and there was literally no one downfield except for Antonio Brown who was covered. Spaeth and FB Will Johnson were both on the field and I believe they stayed back in pass protection. To also be fair, Ben was off on some early throws, but the way the initial gameplan was looking to start the game I doubt it would’ve mattered.

Ref Watch – Refs had their hands full with these two teams getting into numerous heated altercations with each other. Regardless, it was another shit show of calls, big surprise.

– Bullshit roughing the passer call on NT Steve McLendon. What the hell is a defender supposed to do here exactly? Use psychic powers to deduce that the QB has thrown the ball as he is in the process of tackling the QB?  It’s a complete  joke and makes ZERO sense. Of course Collinsworth was just slurping it up, loving the nonsensical flag.

– Refs missing a blatant block in the back on a Ravens punt return. This was about as clear as it gets. Another blown call.

– To be fair, the refs actually started calling some bullshit the Ravens way as well, especially in the 2nd half. Ravens challenged a Ben sneak on a 3rd and 1. It sure didn’t look like he got it but it was ruled a 1st down.

Summary – Steelers have now put together two impressive showings back to back against quality opponents. Has this ever happened under Tomlin? In recent years? It’s hard to really say what is going on here. Being more aggressive is one of the big keys and needs to be the approach going forward. Next week against the Jets, no letdowns please.

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