The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens know each other well, but not necessarily these Steelers and these Ravens. For the first time in over a decade there was no Joe Flacco or Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback for these two franchises. Instead, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph, both of the 2018 NFL Draft class, were leading the charge for their respective teams.
Maybe lacking the star power which once defined the rivalry, the Steelers and Ravens squared off in a crucial Week 5 contest at Heinz Field with the Steelers receiving the opening kickoff to start the game. However, a three and out gave the ball to Lamar Jackson and company with great field position. Jackson and Mark Ingram stormed down the field, but on 3rd and 7 Cameron Sutton broke up a pass intended for Marquise Brown and forced a Justin Tucker field goal to make the score 3-0 in favor of the visitors.
The Steelers next drive was short lived when Jaylen Samuels lined up in the wildcat, and instead of running the ball tried to throw a pass to James Washington which was intercepted. It set up the Ravens in the red-zone, and just a few plays later Mark Ingram punched the ball into the end zone for the touchdown to make the score 10-0 with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
The silent Steelers’ offense woke up on their next drive, leaving the gadgets behind and running an uptempo offense. Fueled by James Conner running the ball and Mason Rudolph hitting James Washington to get the ball into Baltimore territory, Rudolph was able to hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 35-yard touchdown to get Pittsburgh right back in the game.
1️⃣9️⃣ takes this one all the way to the !@TeamJuJu pic.twitter.com/6oEqXIY03Y— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2019
The Chris Boswell point-after was good, making the score 10-7 with 2:41 left in the opening quarter.
What happened next should have been predicted. Over the first quarter of the season, especially with Rudolph under center, after the Steelers score the defense rarely does anything but give up a long, time-consuming drive. That’s right the Steelers surrendered a 13 play, 75 yard scoring drive to Baltimore which ended with Jackson hitting Marquise Brown for the touchdown to make the score 17-7 with 11:21 left in the half.
After the Steelers failed to convert their next possession into points, Lamar Jackson had the ball again looking to add to the Ravens’ total. On 3rd and 10 Jackson targeted Mark Andrews, but Minkah Fitzpatrick was able to tip the ball into the air and it was intercepted by Kam Kelly.
First career interception for @kaetwicefrfr!! pic.twitter.com/hrKj0iUmKo— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2019
The turnover gave the Steelers the ball just outside the red-zone, but the Steelers went the wrong way on their ensuing drive. Jaylen Samuels was dropped for a 5-yard loss in the Wildcat on 2nd down, and Mason Rudolph was sacked on third down. This set up a Chris Boswell 42-yard field goal, which was good to make the score 17-10 in favor of the Ravens with 4:39 left in the half.
Despite a huge kickoff return by Justice Hill, back-to-back sacks by T.J. Watt and Vince Williams stifled the Ravens drive and forced their first punt of the game. With 3:06 left in the game and one timeout remaining, all the Steelers could do was take time off the clock before punting the ball back to Baltimore. However, with 1:36 left in the half and two timeouts left, Jackson was intercepted by Mike Hilton giving the Steelers a chance to tie the game before halftime.
.@MikeHilton_28 will take that pic.twitter.com/sXRYSn7o3W— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2019
With just 23 seconds left in the half, the Steelers weren’t able to do anything but add a field goal to make the score 17-13 heading into halftime.
The opening drive of the second half was a lot of effective running by the Ravens’ offense, but on a pass down the seam intended for Mark Andrews, rookie Devin Bush had an incredible interception to give the Steelers their third interception of Jackson on the day.
WHAT. A. PLAY.@_Dbush11 pic.twitter.com/5QMuGmwooP— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2019
What happened on the next series was a very scary moment for Steelers fans. After escaping pressure, Rudolph found James Washington down field for a big first down, but was hit in the head by Earl Thomas and laid unconscious on the field following the play.
Hit on Mason Rudolph. Brutal. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/LlK77oqe4s— David Todd (@DavidMTodd) October 6, 2019
Rudolph eventually walked off the field, visibly shaken, giving way for Devlin Hodges to take over at quarterback.
Hodges stepped up, and delivered some key plays in key spots, including a huge completion to Diontae Johnson on third down. After a completion to Vance McDonald moved the ball to the one yard line, and James Conner plunged into the end zone for the score.
Powering his way in for a score!@JamesConner_ pic.twitter.com/kGjaRHNEPi— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2019
Boswell’s point-after made the score 20-17 with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
Jackson and Baltimore’s offense continued to move the ball on the Pittsburgh defense, but again they were forced to settle for a Justin Tucker chip shot when a third down attempt came up short of the first down marker in the red-zone. Tucker’s kick tied the game 20-20 with 11:39 left in regulation.
Hodges moved the Steelers to midfield, but Jordan Berry stole the show with a punt that pinned the Baltimore offense at their one-yard line. They were unable to gain a yard before having to punt back to Pittsburgh with 6:00 left in regulation. Ryan Switzer was able to return the kick into Baltimore territory, and the biggest play was when Hodges ran for 21 yards to set up a Boswell 33 yard field goal to make the score 23-20 with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter.
Aided by a roughing the passer call on Ola Adeniyi, Lamar Jackson drove the Ravens into Pittsburgh territory and set up Justin Tucker for a game-tying 48 yard kick sending the game to overtime.
The Steelers won the toss, but chose to give the Ravens the first possession. The reasoning behind it was if the Steelers stopped them a field goal would win the game. The defense forced a three and out, but on the Steelers’ first possession of overtime resulted in Hodges hitting Smith-Schuster for a first down, but Smith-Schuster fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Baltimore deep in Pittsburgh territory.
Justin Tucker hit a 46-yard field goal to win the game for the Ravens.
The loss moves the Steelers’ record to 1-4 on the season, and in a deep hole as they prepare for a trip to Los Angeles to pay the Chargers in Week 6. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the 2019 regular season.