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Steelers finish off Ravens 17-10 to take the lead in the AFC North

Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands the ball off to Najee Harris #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After a yet another ugly AFC North battle, the Pittsburgh Steelers walked away with a 17-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens to take the lead in the division ahead of their Week 6 bye.

It all started as the Steelers won the opening coin toss, deferring the kickoff to the second half. As soon as the Ravens took the field, audible boos permeated the broadcast audio, but it wasn’t long before those boos started to be directed at the offense. After somehow holding the Ravens following a big chunk run for a 26-yard gain for Lamar Jackson, the Steelers defense forced a punt and the offense took the field.

It was after back-to-back two-yard gains on the ground from RB Najee Harris to open the Steelers' first offensive drive, audible boos, this time for the Steelers, echoed throughout the stadium. After a six-yard pass to TE/FB Connor Heyward yielded a first down, the offense once again stalled out. Run, run, pass, and the team is forced to punt once again after failing to gain another first down. Their second offensive drive? The same. Run, run, pass, punt. Their entire first quarter yielded just 20 yards offensively to the Ravens’ 141 yards.

The Steelers' third offensive drive was where some magic started. Pickett took a timeout before getting off the play, starting the drive at their own 10 after a penalty pinned them near their own end zone. It appeared to be worth the timeout, too, regrouping with Mike Tomlin at the sideline and following it up with a 21-yard pass from Pickett to Pickens. The offense went no-huddle, and the increase in tempo seemed to help.

They found some success on the drive, totaling three first downs on the 43-yard drive. However, a sack from former Steelers CB Arthur Maulet ended their hopes of getting points on the board, however. The Steelers were once again forced to punt. Luckily, the defense had a splash play with DT Larry Ogunjobi forcing a fumble on RB Justice Hill that changed the momentum of everything. The Steelers recovered at their own 49-yard line and marched down another 26 yards to set up a 43-yard field goal from Chris Boswell for their first points of the game.

On the final drive of the half, it looked like the Ravens might pull out a score of some sort, but rather than kick a field goal with... you know, the best kicker in the NFL... the Ravens surprisingly decided to go for it on fourth down, going incomplete on a target from Jackson to rookie receiver Zay Flowers.

Things didn’t get any better for the Steelers offensively coming out of the half, unfortunately. After deferring the opening kickoff, they opened the third quarter going three-and-out... once again. Tale as old as time.

The back-and-forth defined the entire third quarter, as each team traded punts before being jolted back to life in the fourth quarter. Things never got going for the Ravens in the rest of the game, with a second half that ended up looking like this: punt, punt, safety, punt, interception, fumble, turnover on downs.

With 2:49 to go following Joey Porter Jr.’s first career interception, the Steelers executed an 80-yard drive ending with a 41-yard touchdown from QB Kenny Pickett to WR George Pickens. The excitement wasn’t over, however. As the Ravens took possession on the following drive, LB Alex Highsmith forced a fumble, of course, recovered by T.J. Watt, and the Steelers bizarrely kneeled it out rather than attempting to run out the clock. The Ravens used their timeouts before the Steelers elected to kick a field goal to take a seven-point lead.

With 0:49 on the clock, the Ravens got the ball back at the 25-yard line. Incomplete from Jackson to TE Mark Andrews. Holding call to set them back to 2nd-and-20. Complete to Andrews to make it 3rd-and-7. Incomplete to Duvernay... and BOOM. SACK BY T.J. WATT TO SEAL THE WIN.

This wasn’t a pretty win. But it was a win, nonetheless. Steelers are once again above .500 and hold the lead in the AFC North.

Who saw that coming?