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Insider Only 1st Half Notes: Ravens lead 7-0

1st Half Notes Ravens lead 7-0
Baltimore as expected started the game spreading the Steelers out with multiple receiver sets. On defense the Steelers came out extremely aggressive, getting the Ravens in 3rd and longs which led to two straight 3 and out’s to open the game.
However, Pittsburgh got exploited for big plays on 3rd downs.

On a 3rd and 15 inside their own 5 yard line, Flacco hit Anquan Boldin for a 61 yard gain, avoiding a Steelers blitz as Boldin beat Ryan Clark badly in 1-on-1 coverage for the big gain.
Flacco capped off the drive with a 14 yard touchdown pass to give Baltimore a 7-0 lead.
Flacco went 6-for-6 on the drive, throwing for 103 yards and 1 touchdown. In the first half, Flacco was 9-of-14 for 179 yards and 1 touchdown.
For the Steelers offensively, it’s been a struggle. Ben Roethlisberger took a blow to his face from Haloti Ngata on the Steelers very first drive. Roethlisberger’s nose was bleeding extensively and it appears he has a broken nose but the Steelers are saying he doesn’t.
Due to Roethlisberger’s ailing foot, the Steelers work primarily out of a pistol shotgun formation.
Roethlisberger is struggling to plant his foot which has affected his accuracy. As the game has progressed he is appearing to get more comfortable, which is a positive sign.
He made some big throws on the Steelers final drive of the half.
On a 3rd and 10 at Baltimore’s 39 yard line, Hines Ward had a big first down drop that forced the Steelers to punt when they were moving into position to get some points.
There’s been some surprise players involved in the passing game thus far. Tight end David Johnson leads the Steelers with 2 receptions for 31 yards.
Johnson came up with a 25 yard grab and a 6 yard reception on a 4th and 2 play to convert the first down.
Rookie Antonio Brown has been targeted 3 times and has 2 receptions for 15 yards, while Emmanuel Sanders came up with a 3rd down 12 yard reception in the half.
Rashard Mendenhall has 27 yards on 8 carries in the half. Pittsburgh has to get away from running the dive out of the pistol shotgun.
In the first half, Roethlisberger is 9 of 19 for 92 yards and has thrown an interception.
The Steelers offensive line has been no match for the Ravens. Baltimore has 2 sacks, led by Terrell Suggs who has 1.5 sacks thus far. Suggs has dominated Jonathan Scott.
Defensively the Steelers are putting the Ravens in 3rd and longs but Pittsburgh has been subceptiable to several big plays on 3rd down with the biggest play a 67 yard reception to Dante Stallworth who blew past Bryant McFadden who made a bad read.
Despite giving up two plays of 60+ yards and the Ravens getting good field position off of solid returns by Webb, the Steelers limited Baltimore to just 7 points in the half to stay in the game.
Defensively Pittsburgh has to keep getting pressure to Flacco but they might need to scale back on 3rd and long situations. The Steelers secondary is no match for the Ravens playmakers at the wide receiver position.
Kicker Shuan Suisham will handle punts as Daniel Sepulveda is injured.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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