The 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers got it done in their final game of the 2021 season on the road in Baltimore. Needing help to make the playoffs, the Steelers got the most unlikely assistance as the Jacksonville Jaguars got their third win of the season while still maintaining the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. It was in doubt if the Steelers would do their part to qualify for the postseason, but the overtime win gave them a chance at least one more game before the long offseason. Even though the Sunday night game came down to the final seconds of overtime, the tie did not occur as the Las Vegas Raiders went for the win and sent themselves and the Steelers into the postseason.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers’ win over the Ravens.
Once again, the Steelers were victorious in a game where they won the turnover margin. With three takeaways in the game, the Steelers also threw one interception in the first half. Although the Steelers only turned the three takeaways into three points, one interception by Cam Sutton was in the end zone which kept points off the board for the Ravens.
The Steelers ended up with three sacks of quarterback Tyler Huntley on Sunday. While T.J. Watt did get one sack to tie the single-season NFL record, he had another supposed sack earlier in the game in which a bad snap on a pass play was recovered by the quarterback only to get the ball stripped away from him again. In most other cases, this goes down as a sack. It will be interesting to see if the NFL changes the official ruling (done by Baltimore as the home team) towards another sack to the Steelers and put Watt holding the record by himself.
While the Steelers racked up three sacks and seven quarterback hits, the offense only gave up two quarterback hits the entire game with one of those hits was a sack of Ben Roethlisberger. Otherwise, Rothlisberger did not get hit much by the Ravens defense.
With the overtime win, Ben Roethlisberger now has 57 game-winning drives in either regulation or overtime including postseason games. This number now has him all by himself in second place all time behind Tom Brady with 67.
In overtime, the Steelers had to come up with some very clutch plays. First, they converted a third and seven from their own 31 yard line with a 14 yard pass a Pat Freiermuth. On the next set of downs, the Steelers converted a third and nine at their own 46 with an 11-yard pass to Diontae Johnson. After failing to convert their next third and eighth, the Steelers went for it on fourth down and converted with a 10-yard pass to Ray-Ray McCloud as Ben Roethlisberger‘s final regular-season pass of his career.
Once the Steelers got into field goal range in overtime, there was still no guarantee that Chris Boswell would connect from 49 yards in very difficult weather conditions of both wind and rain. But on second down and 10, Najee Harris busted a 15-yard run around the Steelers left side which set up a much easier field goal of 36 yards to win the game.
Ultimately what kept the Baltimore Ravens in the game was their running attack. The Steelers defense surrendered 249 rushing yards to the ravens on 36 carries for a 6.9 yard average. Latavius Murray and lead the way with 150 yards on 16 carries while quarterback Tyler Huntley added 72 yards on 12 carries. Although the Steelers gave up a large total, it was more about the Ravens busting out big plays as there were plenty of times were the Steelers held the Ravens to little or no gain on a rushing attempts.
Ben Roethlisberger targeted six different receivers in Sunday’s game against the Ravens and the production was spread around pretty evenly. Diontae Johnson lead the way in receptions with seven while Pat Freiermuth had the most yards with 53. In all, the Steelers utilized three wide receivers, two tight ends, and one running back in the passing game. Every receiver had between four and seven receptions and were between 27 and 53 yards.
Pressley Harvin returned to action for the Steelers after a two-week hiatus and, once again, struggled with quality punting. Averaging 37.3 yards per punt, Harvin did allow no punt return yardage and had three balls inside the 20. Unfortunately, the long for the day was only 49 yards. As for his competition on the other side, former Pro Bowl punter Sam Koch had not much more of an average at 38.3 yards on seven punts and also had three downed inside the 20. Koch only had a long of 1 yard farther than Harvin at 50 yards, and his net putting average was only 34.1 as the Steelers returned to punts for 29 yards. So while the punting was not good for the Steelers on the day, it was even worse for the Ravens.
The Steelers finish the season with four wins in the AFC North by sweeping both the Ravens and Browns. The Steelers have now swept the Ravens in back-to-back season which gives them a four-game winning streak.
One more win for the 2021 regular season. One playoff berth. One more chance to see a number seven Steelers jersey in action on the field. Now it’s one game at a time.
So there are some numbers to try to help put the Steelers Week 18 win over the Ravens in perspective. The Steelers came back in the fourth quarter, made key conversions in OT, and won their way into the 2021 NFL postseason. The Steelers also completed a season sweep of both the Ravens and the Browns, which is always extra special.
So what numbers from Sunday’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.