The Pittsburgh Steelers dropped to 1-4 on the season, falling to to the Baltimore Ravens 26-23 in overtime at Heinz Field on Sunday. It was a physical game with multiple injuries on both sides, most notably Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph getting knocked out of the game with a concussion in the third quarter. Devlin Hodges came off the bench and played well and gave the Steelers a three-point lead late in the game, but with the aide of a questionable roughing the passer penalty, the Ravens were able to send the game to overtime with a Justin Tucker field goal. Tucker struck again in overtime on a 46-yard kick after a JuJu Smith-Schuster fumble.
It was the first victory in 2019 for the Baltimore Ravens against a team that has at least one win on the season. Unfortunately, the Steelers do not have a victory against the team with a win as the Cincinnati Bengals dropped to 0-5. More importantly, the Steelers find themselves two games back in the AFC North.
It was an unusual game for the Steelers. After losing yet another quarterback, the Steelers still found themselves in a position to win. But good teams find a way to finish close games, and the Steelers are 0-3 when the final score is within four points in 2019. So here are some additional numbers which contributed to the Steelers loss in Week 5.
Coming into Week 5, the Balrimore Ravens were averaging over 205 rushing yards per game. The Steelers managed to hold them to 138 yards, their lowest total of the 2019 season by 35 yards. After somewhat slowing down Baltimore’s rushing attack, the Ravens have fallen to an average of less than 200 yards per game with a new average of 192 yards.
3.45 v. 4.05
Even though the Ravens out-rushed the Steelers 138 yards to 77 yards, the Steelers actually had more yards per rushing attempt. Running the ball 40 times, the Ravens averaged 3.45 yards per carry where the Steelers only rushed 19 times and had 4.05 yards per carry. With the Steelers having a more successful rushing attack per play, perhaps they should have handed the ball off more considering Devlin Hodges had to come in to play quarterback.
Running the ball 21 more times in the Steelers and only completing two fewer passes, the Ravens were able to amass nearly 13 1/2 minutes more in time of possession than the Steelers. Even with some extra time due to the game going into overtime, the Steelers still only held the ball for 25:34 compared to the Ravens 39:00.
One other factor which led to Pittsburgh’s defeat were the 11 accepted penalties against them on the day for 76 yards. The most questionable of these yards came on the Ravens scoring drive to end regulation where Olasunkanmi Adeniyi was called for roughing the passer on a hit that was neither late nor low. The Ravens actually lost the penalty battle as they also had 11 accepted penalties for 92 yards.
One welcomed site by the Pittsburgh defense was their three interceptions of Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson. Kam Kelly, Devin Bush, and Mike Hilton all had an interception on the day, their first of the 2019 season for each of them. The three takeaways gives the Steelers defense 12 in 2019, tying them for the league lead while only three shy of their total last season.
The Steelers defense also had another five sacks on Sunday. All five were by different players and came from two defensive linemen (Cameron Heyward and Javon Hargrave), two outside linebackers (T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree), and an inside linebacker (Vince Williams). With 19 sacks on the season, the Steelers are in third in the NFL behind the Patriots and Panthers.
Chris Boswell has still not missed a kick in 2019. On Sunday, he was 3/3 on field goals and 2/2 on extra point attempts bringing his totals to 10/10 in field goals and 9/9 in extra points.
Unfortunately, the Steelers offense has converted only three third downs in each game on the season, going three for nine on Sunday.
So there are some numbers to help evaluate the Steelers’ performance Sunday against the Ravens. While some of these numbers may be encouraging, the number which was added to the loss column is really the most indicative of them all. But do these numbers accurately describe what transpired Sunday? Were there any other numbers not listed which really stood out to you? Please leave your answers in the comments below.