The Pittsburgh Steelers have won three straight games and have finally started to “stack wins”. After their 33-18 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 8, the team has to move on quickly as they prepare to face the Baltimore Ravens, on the road, in Week 9.
Something I did last season and I’m going to start again is the Black-and-gold Links article.
This is an article where I take stories from quality news sources across the Internet and add them here for your viewing pleasure. I won’t be posting the entire articles, but I’ll link each story and author so that you can read the full article.
Today we talk about how, believe it or not, Ben Roethlisberger has never thrown for over 300 yards in Baltimore in his career. Not even once. And in today’s NFL, this is a surprise. The most yards Roethlisberger has ever posted in Baltimore is 280, but that might be due to change this Sunday when the Steelers travel to Baltimore in Week 9.
Let’s get to the news:
How Ben Roethlisberger can post first 300-yard game in Baltimore
By: Jeremy Fowler, ESPN
The numbers out of Baltimore aren’t pretty.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have averaged 16.1 points per game in M&T Bank Stadium since 2011.
Ben Roethlisberger never has thrown for 280 yards in Baltimore, where he has two touchdowns and five interceptions in his past four matchups. Big Ben has two 300-plus-yard games apiece in Cleveland and Cincinnati.
A physical Ravens-Steelers clash is rarely an offensive light show, to be sure. But the Steelers’ identity is not to grind out games. Roethlisberger is averaging 327 yards per game through seven games this season. The Steelers are among the NFL’s top five in points and yards per game. This offense is largely considered high-powered.
Players are hopeful they can maintain that pace, even in Baltimore.
”Most of the time these games are low-scoring games, but hopefully we get a game where we get a whole bunch of points,” center Maurkice Pouncey said.
To make that happen, the Steelers are relying on the no-huddle offense, a better Wi-Fi connection between Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and a refined pre-snap routine.
Sean Davis provides safety valve for Steelers defense
By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Sean Davis will hit the halfway point of his first season at a new position Sunday. It’s the third position he’s started at during his 2½ years in the NFL.
And though the job description of free safety in the NFL goes well beyond a simple edict, by one high-profile measure Davis has been a success this season.
“I definitely feel as if there is a difference with the (number of) big plays (allowed) compared to last year,” Davis said after Pittsburgh Steelers practice Thursday. “It feels good hearing that, and I guess my presence is playing a small part of that.”
Only two teams in the NFL last season gave up more pass plays of 40-plus yards than the Steelers. Through eight weeks this season, only nine teams have given up fewer.
Even better, the Steelers have not allowed a play of more than 24 yards during their three-game winning streak.
But against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 30, the Steelers allowed 71- and 33-yard pass plays to receiver John Brown.
As the rematch with Baltimore awaits Sunday, the Steelers defense — capped by Davis at its back end — knows it can’t allow receivers to get behind them.
“We’ve got to make sure that as much as we can, if we keep the ball in front of us, the better chance we’ve got to win the game,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. “We can’t give up easy touchdowns.”
One of the best means for accomplishing that end is by limiting long passing plays, which is something the defense did not do the second half of last season and the first four games this season. The Steelers allowed a passing play of 39-plus yards in all but one of those 13 games.
The Steelers defense has tightened since the Patrick Mahomes/Kansas City Chiefs traveling road show won a 42-37 Week 2 shootout. They’ve allowed an average of 212.7 passing yards per game, down an average of almost 100 yards per game since September.
“I’m liking the way we (in the secondary) are going,” Davis said. “We are making plays. … I feel like we are a group on the rise. We are getting better, stacking wins now, shutting offenses down, a lot more three-and-outs. So I feel like we are doing better.”
Steelers no longer seeing red when driving inside opposing 20
By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Art Rooney II spoke. The Pittsburgh Steelers have listened.
In February, the Steelers team president expressed a desire for improved play inside the red zone. As the season nears the midpoint, first-year offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has delivered results in that area.
The Steelers rank No. 2 in red-zone touchdown percentage, finding the end zone on 15 of 20 trips through seven games – a 75 percent success rate. Only the Cincinnati Bengals, at nearly 77 percent, have done better.
In 2017, the last year under former offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the Steelers were No. 18 in red-zone touchdown percentage, converting at a 53 percent clip. The top three teams in 2017 all reached the NFL version of the final four — Jacksonville (69 percent), Philadelphia (64) and New England (62.7).
“We’ve dedicated time to it,” Fichtner said Thursday. “I’d like to think some offseason study things we’ve done, some thoughtfulness things we knew we had to improve that had been an eyesore at times.”
And what were the eyesores?
“You can’t have negative plays,” Fichtner said. “We have turned it over two times down there, that’s probably the two times we may not have scored a touchdown.”
Interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger against Cleveland in the season opener and against Atlanta in Week 5 – both passes were targeted for Antonio Brown – have accounted for the only times the Steelers haven’t produced points after driving inside the 20. The other three trips resulted in Chris Boswell field goals.
“It’s disappointing any time you turn the ball over,” Fichtner said. “When you are taking points off the board, you are not giving a chance to at least kick a field goal, and that’s shame on us. That’s not going to be accepted.
“We work hard to try to be better in that area, but without trying to take away the creativity of an established, veteran quarterback who will pull the trigger.”