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What was the game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Ravens?

The Steelers failed in all three aspects of a game they had a great opportunity to win.

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers once again fell in defeat for the eighth time in the 2022 season. Even though the defense held the Ravens 16 points, it was failing to stop the run throughout the game, but especially when they needed it the most. As for the offense, throwing three interceptions, two of which were in the red zone, made a huge difference in the game.

But what was the biggest moment that sent the Steelers down the path to the loss?

With each win for the Steelers this season being where we hand out a game ball and look at the top individual performance, each loss we will take a look at what we will call the “game-changing moment” of the game. What was the individual play or a set of plays that ended up being the biggest contribution to the loss? While it does not necessarily come down to just one thing that keeps a team from winning, it also doesn’t mean that all the moments share equal blame.

For the Week 11 loss, the biggest game-changing moment was determined to be squandering the drive that started in Bengals territory. The Steelers pinned the Bengals deep at their own 10-yard line with over 12 minutes left in the game and trailed by four points. After playing Renegade and getting a false start to begin the drive, the Bengals managed to gain 2 yards and punt the ball to the Steelers at the Cincinnati 47-yard line. Set up on a short field, Najee Harris ran for 13 yards on the first play setting the Steelers up on the edge of field goal range. That was where everything fell apart. The Steelers were called for an offensive hold on first down. On the next play, Najee Harris missed the handoff and Kenny Pickett ended up throwing a 7-yard pass to George Pickens only to have pretty much the entire offensive line down field because it was supposed to be a run. Facing a first and 25 at the Bengals 49 yard line, the next two plays saw inaccurate check-down passes which fell incomplete. On third and 25, the Steelers ran a draw play for 7 yards and punted the ball back to the Bengals.

I will reiterate for everyone of the rules that it is individual plays or series of plays that will be highlighted from this game (and the coin toss officially occurs before the game). Although it could be applicable, it will not be total performances as they are more in line for Jeff Hartman’s Winners and Losers article.

So here are the nominations in chronological order:

Kenny Pickett leaving the game

On the Steelers opening drive after getting a first down thanks to two scrambles by Kenny Pickett, the drive ended when he was sacked on third down and slammed to the ground. Getting the medical clearance to return, the Steelers went three and out on their second drive in which Pickett threw his only pass of the game which didn’t make it past the line of scrimmage thanks to a Ravens’ defender. After the three and out, Pickett was taken to the locker room where he was ruled out due to being in the NFL‘s concussion protocol. Would the Steelers have won? Would they have suffered a bigger loss? We will never know as we have no idea how the game would have played out. But the moment that Kenny Pickett left the game and didn’t return it changed everything.

The 17-yard punt and subsequent touchdown

Following Kenny Pickett‘s final play of the game, the Steelers were punting from their own 31-yard line. The short punt that instantly bounced back across the midfield did not get downed by the Steelers until it was at their 48-yard line. The 17-yard punt set the Ravens up for great field position in which they only took two plays, rushes of 44 yards and 4 yards, to score their only touchdown of the game and take a 10–0 lead.

The two red zone interceptions

The Steelers had two positions during the second quarter of the game, the first one in which they were down three points and the second in which they were down six points. Both drives ended in similar fashion as the Steelers moved into field goal range before disaster stalled their progress. On the first drive, on second down and eight from the Ravens 17-yard line, Mitch Trubisky‘s pass to Pat Freiermuth was intercepted by Roquan Smith and took at least three points off the board for the Steelers assuming a field goal attempt would have been successful (which might be a bigger assumption than normal). On the next drive, the Steelers moved the ball to the Ravens 23-yard line where Mitchell Trubisky was once again intercepted trying to get the ball to Pat Freiermuth, this time by Patrick Queen. If either one of these interceptions would not have occurred, yet alone both of them, it would have significantly changed how things played out throughout the game due to the difference on the scoreboard.

The blocked field goal

Trailing by six points in the fourth quarter with more than 11 minutes remaining in the game, the Steelers lined up for a 40-yard field goal only to have it blocked. It was Chris Boswell‘s first field goal attempt since returning from the Reserve/Injured List. Had the Steelers converted the field goal, the two-point margin in the score would likely not have been the same and how both teams handled the remainder of the quarter would have been under a completely different philosophy.

Not stopping the run in the fourth quarter

After missing the field goal, the Steelers allowed the Ravens to move the ball 57 yards on 13 plays which took 7:55 off the clock and resulted in the Steelers going down by nine points. The Ravens only passed the ball three times for 13 yards as the other nine plays, other than the field goal itself, were 44 rushing yards. After the Steelers responded and scored a touchdown to cut the game to two and kick the ball back to the Ravens with 2:30 left, the Steelers gave up 13 yards on three rushing plays and allowed the Ravens to take a knee coming out of the two minute warning.

So what do you think? What was the biggest moment that had the most effect on the Steelers loss this week? Make sure you vote in the poll as this is how the winner (which is ultimately the loser) will be determined. And of course, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


What was the biggest game-changing moment in the Steelers loss to the Ravens in Week 14?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Kenny Pickett leaving the game
    (202 votes)
  • 5%
    The 17-yard punt and subsequent touchdown
    (48 votes)
  • 52%
    The two red zone interceptions
    (432 votes)
  • 6%
    The blocked field goal
    (57 votes)
  • 10%
    Not stopping the run in the fourth quarter
    (86 votes)
825 votes total Vote Now