The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens finally matched up head-to-head in Week 12 after three delays of a game scheduled for Thanksgiving night in prime time. Despite the game being on a Wednesday and at 3:40 p.m. ET, the two AFC North rivals kicked off at Heinz Field.
The Steelers were winners of the opening coin toss, and elected to defer their possession to the second half, giving Robert Griffin III and the offense the ball to start the game. After the Pittsburgh defense forced a three and out, Ben Roethlisberger and the offense weren’t any more successful as they answered with a three and out of their own.
Griffin’s second possession didn’t last long as he fumbled the exchange with Gus Edwards and Vince Williams jumped on the ball giving the Steelers new life already in field goal range. Consecutive runs by Benny Snell Jr. got the Steelers in a first and goal situation, but after Eric Ebron was stopped at the one yard line on third down, Mike Tomlin had a decision to make.
Tomlin elected to go for it, but the play was diagnosed well by Baltimore and Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone.
Starting with the ball on their own 5 yard line, Griffin’s miscues continued when a third down pass was intercepted by Joe Haden and taken to the house for a pick-six.
Too easy for @joehaden23— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 2, 2020
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The extra point by Chris Boswell was pushed wide right, making the score 6-0.
Another three and out by the Ravens looked to allow the Steelers to dominate the game, but Sam Koch’s punt was muffed by Ray-Ray McCloud, and recovered by Baltimore at the Steelers’ 15 yard line. It didn’t take long for the Ravens to cash in, and it was Gus Edwards plunging in from one yard out to give the Ravens a 7-6 lead with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
The Steelers started the second quarter in the midst of their best offensive drive of the game. The drive featured a lot of Ben Roethlisberger to Eric Ebron, but also key receptions to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Anthony McFarland to extend the drive. However, when the field shortened the offense failed, and the Steelers were forced to rely on a Chris Boswell chip shot to put them up 9-7 with 11:50 remaining in the first half.
Another Baltimore three and out resulted in the Steelers’ second possession of the second quarter, and Ben Roethlisberger and the offense started to finally settle in. The Steelers’ spread offense continued to be the desired mechanism to move the ball, and this drive featured a lot of Diontae Johnson. However, the Steelers’ offense continued to struggle in the red-zone, settling for another Boswell field goal to make the score 12-7 with 4:27 left in the second quarter.
The Raven’s next offensive drive was driven by key third down plays. Griffin had a 40 yard scramble on 3rd and 9, and on 3rd and 10 Justice Hill moved the Ravens’ offense to the goal line. However, Harbaugh used his last timeout with 25 seconds left in the half, and when Gus Edwards was stopped short on the next play, Griffin barely got a play off before the end of the half. The pass intended for tight end Luke Wilson looked to be a touchdown, but Minkah Fitzpatrick broke up the pass and the teams went into halftime with the Steelers up 12-7.
The Steelers received the ball to start the second half, and on the first play from scrimmage Ben Roethlisberger took a shot to Chase Claypool down the left sideline. The pass fell incomplete, but drew a defensive pass interference call on Marlon Humphrey. The offense, facing a 4th and 1 near midfield, went away from the run for the second time and the Roethlisberger pass fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs.
Baltimore and Pittsburgh were both unable to add points on their next drives, it was Pittsburgh who put together a drive to get into scoring range. Thanks to a huge run by Benny Snell where the interior of the play was clogged and be bounced it outside, the Steelers found themselves in the red-zone again.
A pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster and run by Snell got the offense to the 1-yard line. They’d been in this situation once before, and this time Roethlisberger threw on 1st down and completed to Smith-Schuster for the touchdown.
Big Ben ➡️ JuJu— PFF (@PFF) December 2, 2020
Steelers starting to pull away
Boswell’s point after was good, this time, and made the score 19-7 with 13:20 left in regulation.
The Steelers’ defense was able to force to a three and out on Baltimore’s next drive, but the Pittsburgh offense stalled at midfield after an Eric Ebron drop forced a Jordan Berry punt.
The Ravens went with Trace McSorley on their ensuing drive after Griffen left the game with a hamstring injury. McSorley set up the offense with a 4th and 2 with just over 6 minutes left in regulation, and McSorley ran the ball for the Baltimore first down. That was all the yardage the Ravens would get on the drive, and the John Harbaugh elected to punt the ball back to the Steelers with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter.
After a dropped pass by Diontae Johnson on third down, the Steelers had to punt the ball back to McSorley. When the game looked as if it was over and done with, McSorley hit Marquise Brown and Terrell Edmunds missed the tackle allowing Brown to go 70 yards for the touchdown. With 2:58 left in the fourth quarter, the Steelers were clinging to a 19-14 lead.
With the opportunity to control the rest of the game, Roethlisberger connected with James Washington for a huge third down conversion. Snell had a big run for a first down on the next play, forcing Harbaugh to exhaust his last timeout of the game. Coming off the 2-minute warning, the Steelers ran the ball with Snell on three straight plays in hopes of getting a first down and ending the game. On 3rd and 1 Snell was able to get the yards needed for a first down, icing the victory for the Steelers.
The Steelers win moved their record to 11-0 on the season, and essentially ends the Ravens’ bid for a third straight AFC North championship. They have to turn away from the Ravens game quickly as they prepare to host the Washington Football Team in Week 13. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they press on through the regular season.