The Pittsburgh Steelers have three games in a row for the first time of the 2022 season. Coming through with a victory when anything less would eliminate them from playoff contention, the Steelers now head into the final week of the season still in the hunt.
So without further ado, here are some of the numbers involved in the Steelers win over the Ravens.
Both teams played a relatively clean game in the turnover department. The closest thing the Steelers had to a turnover was a deflected pass intended for Diontae Johnson which ultimately fell harmlessly to the ground. But when the Steelers needed a stop the most while holding on to a three-point lead with only seconds remaining, Minkah Fitzpatrick came up with the interception to seal the win.
With the Ravens scoring a touchdown just before the end of the first half and adding a field goal on the first possession of the second half, they pulled out to a 10-point lead with under 25 minutes remaining in the game. The Steelers answered the Ravens third-quarter field goal with one of their own on the very next drive. But in order for the Steelers to completely overcome the 10-point deficit, they put up 10 points on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, which was the exact number of points they had to score in the fourth quarter the previous week in order to take down the Las Vegas Raiders.
Rushing for a total of 198 yards on the night, the Steelers would have hit the 200-yard mark had it not been for two kneel downs which each lost a yard, one of which occurred at the end of each half. It was the most yards the Steelers have rushed for as a team since they ran for 240 yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 14 of the 2016 season. Leading the way for the Steelers was Najee Harris with 111 yards on 22 carries followed by Jaylen Warren with 76 yards on 12 carries.
After surrendering 215 rushing yards to the Ravens in Week 14, the Steelers cut into that total significantly in the rematch game as they held them to 120 rushing yards. It was only the fourth time this season the Ravens rushed for less than 150 yards rushing, and it was the first time a team has done it against the Ravens in the 2022 season in which they were able to come away with a victory.
Not only did the Baltimore Ravens have 120 rushing yards on the night, they also had 120 passing yards for a perfect balance in yardage. Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley actually threw for 130 yards but lost 10 yards on the T.J. Watt sack. Of the 130 yards which came through the air, 100 of them belonged to Mark Andrews with nine receptions on nine targets. Another Ravens tight end, Isaiah Likely, added three receptions for 12 yards along with the Ravens touchdown. When it came to the wide receivers, only two players, DeSean Jackson and Demarcus Robinson, had receptions as they each had one catch for 9 yards.
In Week 14, the Steelers lost the time of possession battle to the Ravens by 5:58. This time around, the Steelers held the ball for 34:14 while the Ravens only had possession for 25:46, giving the Steelers an 8:28 advantage for the game.
Something I charted throughout the game was the number of times the Steelers ran motion along the line of scrimmage to which they could have performed a jet sweep. The Steelers ran this motion 23 times during the game, and on all 23 times they rushed the football. On these plays, the Steelers handed the ball to the normally-aligned running back 17 times while running the sweep on four plays. On the two other plays, the Steelers ran a quarterback sneak. Although the Steelers were very successful running the football, if they continue to only rush the ball when running this motion it could allow the defense to completely sell out on the run. Personally, I’d love to see a play-action pass out of running the jet motion.
After the Steelers kicked the field goal to cut the game to a four-point deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Baltimore Ravens got a 56-yard kickoff return which set them up at the Steelers 40-yard line. Needing only a few yards to be in Justin Tucker field goal range, the Steelers tackled running back J.K. Dobbins for a two-yard loss on first down. With incomplete passes on the next two plays, the Steelers turned what looked to be a sure scoring opportunity into a three and out on a drive that lost 2 yards.
Although the Steelers did give up three points in the second half, they only surrendered four first downs the entire half. The Ravens achieved two first downs on their opening drive in which they kicked a field goal and had one first down on their next drive before being forced to punt. The only other first down the Ravens had in the second half was on their final possession just before the game-clinching interception.
The Steelers once again turned in a great third-down performance on offense converting 10 of 16 third-down attempts throughout the game. In the first half, the Steelers converted 4 of their 7 third down attempts for a 57% completion rate where the second half saw them completing 6 of 9 third-down attempts for a 67% completion rate. This compares to the Ravens only converting 42% of their third downs as they were 3 of 6 in the first half but only 2 of 6 in the second half.
On a day where the two other games that had to go in a certain manner for the Steelers to put themselves in the best playoff scenario fell exactly how they needed them, the Steelers had to do their part and take care of the only thing they could control which was getting their own victory. The Steelers got the job done and added another tally to their win total bringing their overall record up to .500 as they now stand at 8–8 going into the final week of the regular season.
So there are some numbers to help put the Steelers Week 17 win in perspective. The Steelers employed a different strategy to stop the Ravens rushing attack which was enough to give them the victory.
So what numbers from Sunday night’s game stand out to you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.