Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Shaun Suisham Saves the Day, Steelers Defeat Ravens 19-16


 

It looks like nobody wants to win the AFC North at this point, especially the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens could have sent the 1-4 Steelers to 1-5 on their home field and all but eliminated them from postseason contention with a victory over their hated rivals. Pittsburgh entered today’s game with a sub-par offensive line, a non-existent running game, and a defense which had not created adequate pocket collapse or turnovers all season long. Baltimore however crapped the bed against the inspired Steelers, and Pittsburgh emerged victorious by a score of 19-16.

The Steelers started the scoring in the first quarter on a nifty three-yard shovel pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Heath Miller. Pittsburgh’s offense marched 60 yards on 10 plays, and won more than they lost at the point of attack in the running game. Kudos must go to the offensive line for their efforts today, as well as the efforts of Le’Veon Bell (93 yards), Felix Jones (16 yards), and Jonathan Dwyer (4 yards, and first down).

Baltimore’s offense could not get in sync during the first three quarters of play, and all they could muster before halftime was two Justin Tucker field goals sandwiched around one by the clutch Shaun Suisham. Pittsburgh’s defense played a solid brand of “bend but not break” football in the first half, and kept Joe Flacco & co. out of the end zone when it mattered. The defense came up big before Tucker’s second field goal, especially since the Ravens’ offense was given cake field position after Miller fumbled near midfield.

The third quarter was a defensive struggle which saw the Steelers doing the only scoring (Suisham 28 yard field goal) as Pittsburgh’s offense held the ball on a long drive (8:03) which ate up most of the frame. To their credit, Baltimore’s defense hunkered down in the red zone and kept the game at 13-6.

After they got the ball back, the Ravens’ offense cut the deficit to four points after another Tucker field goal. Down 13-9, this set the stage for John Harbaugh’s biggest gamble. Baltimore attempted an onside kick which totally backfired after Pittsburgh recovered it, Tucker was blasted by Stevenson Sylvester, and the Ravens were called for offsides on the play. The loss of field position helped Pittsburgh easily get in range for Suisham’s third field goal of the day, and the lead was extended back to seven points, 16-9.

To their credit, the Ravens’ offense finally came alive and cut through Dick LeBeau’s soft-zone like butter when they got the ball back with 9:59 left in the game. Baltimore drove 73 yards in 16 plays thanks to some solid plays by Flacco, Tandon Doss, and Ray Rice, and Dallas Clark tied the game at 16-16 with a 1 yard touchdown catch with 1:58 to go.

Needing a kick-start, Pittsburgh’s offense received a huge boost from Emmanuel Sanders on the ensuing kickoff when he took a squib kick into the end zone all the way back for an apparent touchdown. Although Sanders stepped out of bounds, his solid return (Pittsburgh’s 37 yard line) helped his offense immensely.

Like the field general he has always been, Roethlisberger drove his team 39 yards in seven plays to set up his team’s best offensive weapon, Suisham, with a 42 yard field goal attempt. Again, kudos must go to the offensive line for their efforts to not allow pressure on that drive. Moreover, kudos must go to offensive coordinator Todd Haley for calling the types of quick slants and pop passes needed for Ben to get the ball out of his hands in a timely manner on that drive as well.

Suisham’s kick, his eighth field goal in the last two weeks, was true as time expired, and the “Kicking Canuck” won the second-straight game between these two teams with a last second field goal!

 

Final Thoughts

As angry as Baltimore’s final scoring drive and Pittsburgh’s lack of success in the red zone made me, I have not seen the type of fight exhibited by this team in a very long time. Plus, beating Baltimore is always a positive thing as well.

The running game looked solid, particularly the use of the “Wildcat” by Bell who ran out of it during his days at Michigan State. Furthermore, the defense killed some big drives in the first half while William Gay saved two touchdowns when he batted away two passes during the game.

The Steelers cannot afford to be “asleep at the wheel” next weekend in Oakland, especially since they have done it so many times in recent seasons. Although they are 2-4 and not in postseason contention at the moment, this win could represent a springboard for a strong finish by this franchise during their final 10 games.

Plus, seeing the look on John Harbaugh’s face when Suisham’s kick split the uprights was nothing short of awesome.

 

 

 

 

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Ben Roethlisberger Offensive Line Pittsburgh Steelers Shaun Suisham

  • Redd Mahoney

    I think the Steelers struggles in the red zone are partly due to the fact the have no-one that consistently threatens the middle of the field like a Gates, Graham, Gronk or that Thomas guy in Denver, They only seem to throw out to the flats(although Moye needs to make that catch in the end zone) and only over the middle on those short crossing routes.You never see Ben attack a defense down the seams like Phil Simms and Mark Bavaro used to do with the Giants. What do you think?

    Lebeau’s defense is KILLING me! Dink here……dink there….it’s like playing catch in the back yard with opposing offenses and the Steelers made Flacco look like the 2nd coming of Joe Montana out there. WHERE’S THE PASS RUSH!!! I think Kiesel, Woods, Woirlds are players the Steelers REALLY need to upgrade for in the near future if they want to return to defensive prominence. I don’t care how many “pressures” are kept in the stat sheet….I want see the opposing QB hit the ground like back in the Blitzburgh days. I can’t see this team winning much more games this season if the rush doesn’t turn it up a notch. Maybe Jarvis Jones can give them a shot in the arm when he returns. He was showing signs against the Jets.

    Finally, do you know why in the heck Le’veon Bell wasn’t on the Steelers 4th quarter drive before the Ravens tied the game? Is he not supposed to be a “feature back”?

    • Dom DiTolla

      The Steelers don’t have a tight end to turn to in the passing game besides Miller, so the point is moot about attacking the seams more. If they lack the personnel, it’s probably not a good idea to tailor your offense to personnel you don’t have or who don’t fit the scheme.

      The guy on their roster who threatens the middle of the field besides Miller is probably Cotchery. They need to draft someone to fill that void so they can run more “12″ personnel sets, and this in turn would make their other pass-catching weapons (in addition to Bell) more threatening. It’s one of the big reasons people wanted them to draft Tyler Eifert last April.

      Remember, Bell is only playing his third game at the professional level and is coming off of a foot injury. They’re probably still trying to give him breathers to keep him fresh and relatively injury free. Jones isn’t a bad option to turn to in relief at the moment, and I am sure that “Le’Veon” will get more touches as the season progresses. They probably wanted to keep the rookie as fresh as possible for a clock-killing drive on the next possession had their defense stepped up to stop Baltimore. There were still 10 minutes left in the game.

      • Redd Mahoney

        Sorry, that was a $$$ drive that would have put the game away the way the Ravens were struggling to score. Bell has been “fresh” since the day he was drafted with all of that time off with injuries. He should’ve been in there no matter how much time was left in the game. Anyway, it’s fun to see the “turnstiles” knocking the defense on it’s heels instead of vice versa. You can tell that the “turnstiles” really enjoy blocking for Bell and they just get at it.
        The “turnstiles” had a solid game. Ben wasn’t running for his life for a change. Hopefully they can stay healthy and build on this game.

        Those tight ends I was just using for a reference. You just don’t have to attack the seams with a TE. Perhaps Wheaton can develop into that role during the season. We’ll see.

        • Dom DiTolla

          A solid running game always keeps a defense on its heels. If they can keep it up, it will opposing defenses from pinning their ears back and attacking Roethlisberger.

          Also, Jones did a decent job running the ball on that drive. It was the questionable play-call to Moye on the fade which screwed them over on 3rd and 5. Obviously the coaching staff felt different, I’m not sure why they didn’t consult a football mastermind such as yourself though.

          • Redd Mahoney

            No, it is YOU that is the mastermind…Wilkerson/Richardson, Suggs/Dumervil, the “turnstiles” can’t possibly begin to block them these no talents. 34-17 Ravens just after they had lost at home to a Green Bay team that was down to just 2 wide receivers and had been gashed mercilessly by their running game. The Steelers rushed for their best total of the SEASON! 34-17 Ravens?…No my friend…. it is YOU that are the mastermind. :)

          • Dom DiTolla

            Awww…I’ll keep you in mind when the Steelers are at home during the playoffs though. It was you who suggested that they were bound for the postseason, right?

          • Redd Mahoney

            Don’t get it twisted Mr, Gloom &Doom, I never said they were post season bound. I only said that the season was not over after just 4 games. Your the Brainchild that picked them to be 5-11. The AFC North cellar is not that far from the top. 34-17 Ravens…Your a riot! :)

          • Dom DiTolla

            Wow…

            Hahahahaha! It’s “You’re a riot!” not “Your a riot.” Looks like someone failed to learn the difference between “your” and “you are.” Then again, I’m not sure I expected anything less. But hey, your inability to differentiate between both is quite a “riot.”

            So are people who picked the Steelers to win, including national pundits, during weeks two through four “riots?” By your logic, that would be the case. In addition, what would that make me for picking the Steelers to lose to the Bengals, Bears, and Vikings?

            Let’s just all agree that this flawed team dug themselves an 0-4 hole, has gained some confidence over the last two weeks, and that the final 10 weeks of the regular season should prove to be a tremendous litmus test for the Steelers. :)

          • Redd Mahoney

            Hey smart guy, if poor grammar cracks you up then hanging out with you must be like watching paint dry…yawwwn. So what if I’m not some Peter Perfect know it all editor of the NY Times(NOT!) like you. Who cares? It seems I’m the only one commenting on your articles anyway(crickets,crickets) so please just enjoy the traffic. :)

            If you must know, I find your knowledge of the game actually informative. It’s just odd to see such critcism from a writer on a “Steelers” based website. Your opinions are far more negative than positive. I guess you call that fair in your world. You CLEARLY don’t venture into the Steelers locker room with the stuff you write about them.

            EVERY team is “flawed” by the way. Some teams just overcome their(duh…is that correct?) flaws quicker than others. :) At the bye, I mentioned that the Steelers will gain their 2nd wind and it came at the perfect time Now lets see if that springboards them back into “relevance”.

          • Dom DiTolla

            So a team that started 0-4 should have been absolved of criticism? Why exactly? Just because this is a Steelers-themed site does not excuse them from criticism when they deserve it and praise when they deserve it as well. If you don’t want to read it, then don’t.

          • Redd Mahoney

            Whoever said that the Steelers are absolved from criticism, positive or negative? I’m cursing at my T.V(at the missed tackles, blocks, “splash plays”)watching the game like any other fan. I think you doth protest too much sir. Keep on doing what you do!

            Good Day (:

          • Dom DiTolla

            You curse at your television set during a sports game? Hahaha! What are you, like ten years old? I bet you cry when the officials throw flags too. Or do you thrown your “Terrible Towel” down in disgust?