Ravens physically dominate Steelers in 30-17 win
The Steelers and Ravens met two times in the regular season, a 20 point Ravens win in week 2 that saw the Ravens dominate the line of scrimmage, and a 20 point Steelers win in Week 9 that saw Ben Roethlisberger chucking the ball all around the field and throwing for six touchdowns.
Tonight’s meeting with everything on the line resembled the week 2 matchup with the Ravens winning just about every key matchup and having a superior offensive game plan and quarterback play.
“We just got beat tonight,” Mike Tomlin said afterwards.
John Harbaugh and the Ravens now head to Foxboro in the Divisional Round. As many believed a Steelers team with Le’Veon Bell would be a threat to the Broncos, Baltimore may be the one team that can go into New England and win with their front-seven.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE STEELERS?
1. The Ravens front-seven is one of the best in football and defensive coordinator Dean Pees called an excellent game and the Steelers had no answers for the Ravens exotic blitzes. They caused the Steelers confusion all night in passing situations on who to pick up as Baltimore would slide three rushers to one side. This was one area the Steelers really missed Le’Veon Bell on blitz pickups and quickly opening up for Roethlisberger to dump the ball off.
On Terrell Suggs interception, the Ravens blitzed to the left size and Kelvin Beachum, Ben Tate took the outside blitzer as the inside blitzer came in clean and pressured Roethlisberger leading to the INT that went off Tate’s hands. That might have been the biggest area Pittsburgh missed Bell tonight.
2. The Steelers desire to get Dri Archer involved in the game plan was a win for the Ravens. The Steelers would set Archer in motion out wide and Archer was nothing more than a decoy in the Steelers trying to get the Ravens to think he was a threat in the passing game and Baltimore quickly realized that in fact he was nothing more than the Steelers throwing a cone out there as Roethlisberger had no plans in even looking his way, especially in the first half.
In fact the Steelers play calling was extremely bizarre for most of the night. They called a Bill Cowher type game plan in running the play clock down with little to no tempo and they wanted to try to out smart the Ravens into thinking that they were committed to establishing a run presence. Baltimore wasn’t fooled.
3. It wasn’t the only factor in the Steelers losing but Joe Flacco outplayed Ben Roethlisberger by a wide margin and it wasn’t even close. Flacco was 18/29 for 259, 114 QB rating and threw two touchdown passes and no interceptions. He improves to 10-4 all-time in the playoffs with 20 touchdowns – 9 interceptions. “He’s the best quarterback in football,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. Flacco protected the ball unlike his counterpart and made pin-point accurate throws.
Roethlisberger was 31/45 for 334 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. He was sacked five times for 37 yards. Roethlisberger was not accurate with his throws and made poor decisions on several throws. He wasn’t good enough to win and Roethlisberger admitted that after wards. “I didn’t play well enough to win,” Roethlisberger said.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 13-0 | In Joe Flacco’s last five playoff games, he is 5-0 with 13 touchdowns and 0 interceptions
- Baltimore 2-14 – Pittsburgh 8-114 | That was the difference in penalty yards. The Steelers were plagued by personal foul penalties, Jason Worilds, Mike Mitchell, Shamarko Thomas among them. Worilds the Steelers $9.5 million linebacker was even benched for a lengthy amount in the game.
- 35:17 to 24:43 – The Steelers controlled the ball for over 35 minutes and had one touchdown to show for it.
- Turnovers | Baltimore 1 – Pittsburgh 3
- 5-16 | Steelers third down efficiency
- 7 – On 7 of 10 drives, the Steelers started at the 21 yard line or worst