STEELERS – RAVENS: WHAT WE LEARNED
— Great offenses are ones that can score points in bunches and put teams away. The Steelers did all of that for a second straight week, delivering a 43-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The win improved the Steelers to 6-3 at the nine game mark for the second time in three years.
After a poor start, two Ravens turnovers led to a 22 point second quarter for the Steelers and the Steelers offense put the game out of reach in the 4th quarter with a 21 point quarter.
In the win, Ben Roethlisberger continued his historic stretch, throwing for 340 yards and 6 touchdowns. Roethlisberger became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 12 touchdowns in a two-week span.
Antonio Brown hauled in 11 catches for 144 yards and one touchdown, while Martavis Bryant added two touchdown catches as he continues to add a new dynamic to the receiving group.
Bryant has 5 touchdown catches in three games and Markus Wheaton is coming on in the past two weeks, hauling in a 47 yard touchdown grab in the second quarter.
For the Steelers offense it’s all starting to come together and it starts with Roethlisberger who is playing at an MVP level. He’s making every throw and the element of a vertical passing game finally has this offense maximizing it’s ability and the Steelers have finally found an identity.
On throws downfield of at least 15 yards, Roethlisberger is 14/20 with 7 touchdown passes over his last two games.
The most impressive drive for the Steelers offense was following Jacoby Jones 108 yard kickoff return touchdown early in the 4th quarter. Jones cut the Steelers lead to 29-17 and a quick stop from the Ravens defense could have quickly altered momentum but the Steelers offense answered, going 9 plays, 71 yards with Roethlisberger connecting with Martavis Bryant for a 18 yard touchdown — Game over — A killer instinct has been lacking for years from this group and the way the Steelers offense answered the Colts last week and the Ravens Sunday night is a great sign moving forward and maybe the most positive sign.
— Martavis Bryant has added a new dynamic to the Steelers offense and on the other side of the ball, it’s been James Harrison who has changed the dynamic on defense.
The Steelers front seven has been dominant the past two weeks and Harrison has been front and center. Harrison truly terrorized Joe Flacco all night, with 2 sacks, 4 QB hits. It was a vintage Harrison performance as he showed great power and speed from the outside. It might have been the most explosive Harrison has looked in a Steelers uniform since the 2010 season. Harrison leads the Steelers with 4 sacks on the season and has 9 QB hits, 2 QB Hurries over his last three games.
— Cortez Allen played 0 snaps and the results were great for his replacement Antwon Blake who allowed just 3 receptions for 23 yards on 7 targets, per Pro Football Focus.
— Despite a surprising 6-3 record at the nine game mark, the AFC North is much improved this season and the AFC is so bunched up, the Steelers have to avoid those devastating losses to inferior teams that been a norm under Mike Tomlin if they’re to return to the playoffs. Pittsburgh has a great chance to go into the bye at 8-3 with road games against Jets (1-8) and Titans (2-6). Pittsburgh, though, has lost to the Titans in back-to-back years (2012, 2013). The Steelers come out of the bye with four tough games among their five remaining opponents with the Saints, Chiefs and Bengals twice.