When the Pittsburgh Steelers square off against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday night in Week 17 it could equate to several firsts for rookie Kenny Pickett. Not only will it be Pickett’s first trip to Baltimore, but also will be an opportunity to play a full game against the Steelers’ biggest rival.
In Week 14 Pickett started the game, but lasted only two series before he left the game with a concussion. After sitting out the Week 15 win over the Carolina Panthers, Pickett orchestrated a magical 4th quarter drive to beat the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17 on Christmas Eve.
Success aside, Roquan Smith is excited to play Pickett again.
“If I’m not mistaken, I think he has only played one – last game – since the last time we played him.” Smith recalled. “So, it will be nice to get out there and really get to see him for a full game. I’m excited about the challenge, and what he’ll bring to the table. I know he likes to pull it down a little bit. So, we’ll see.”
One of the biggest differences between the Week 14 game, which ended in a 16-14 win for Baltimore after three Mitch Trubisky interceptions, would be the venue. Playing at M&T Bank Stadium in prime time is something which used to be a regular occurrence for the Steelers.
When you think about the legendary games which took place in Baltimore, and in prime time, the list could be quite lengthy. Troy Polamalu’s blind-side sack/fumble of Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger’s broken nose, and of course Heath Miller’s tremendous dive to the pylon with Charlie Batch at quarterback.
While those names are all gone in this legendary rivalry, Smith knows this isn’t just another week on the schedule. It’s a big game, and another opportunity for the playoff bound Ravens.
“Yes, it will just be another awesome opportunity. It’s this week’s challenge. We’ll welcome those guys here, and we have to do what it takes to get the job done.”
For Smith, who was traded to the Ravens from the Chicago Bears prior to the NFL’s trade deadline, the Steelers vs. Ravens rivalry is still relatively new. However, it didn’t take him long to realize what kind of game these are.
“It’s definitely a physical game, playing those guys.” said Smith. “I even remember being a kid watching the games – the Ravens-Pittsburgh game – and seeing then. And I always knew it was a very physical game, and just being out there…I think it’s just like any other game, but you definitely feel like there are some slobber-knockers, guys want to run right at you, test your manhood in a sense.
“But I love that. I live for that.”
The Steelers and Ravens are the epitome of an even rivalry. Since the Ravens became an NFL team, the all-time history between the two teams is 32-25-0, in favor of the Steelers, with many of those games being decided by just one score. It’s safe to say the same could happen in Week 17, and the hope is the Steelers, and Pickett, are able to exact some revenge after Week 14.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the final two games of the 2022 regular season.