I did not get too many of my observations in the game recap yesterday as I wanted to go back through the game a few times to pick it apart more. I watched it again a few times last night while doing some charting and here are a few notable observations and not many of them are earth shattering as to what my eyes saw live.
The pass rush on the edge was just not there and the Ravens did a great job picking up the blitz with all everything fullback Vonta Leach and the young Ravens tight ends also blocked much better than I thought they would have. You can not give any quarterback that much time in the pocket.
Left tackle Bryant McKinnie really did a good job with James Harrison and the Ravens gave him help when it was needed. Harrison just did not have the burst or the power to beat the big man.
LaMarr Woodley did not fare much better against right tackle Michael Oher on the other side and recorded just one insignificant sack after the game was well out of reach.
I pointed out when the Ravens acquired Lee Evans in a trade with Buffalo that I did not think he would be much of a threat against the Steelers. Ike Taylor, bad thumb and all, did a masterful job on him and kept him off the stat sheet. Maybe Evans was still not 100% healthy coming off his ankle/foot injury from the preseason, but he was effective in clearing out the secondary so Joe Flacco could work underneath. That of course is not the fault of Taylor, but it was good game-planning on the Ravens part.
I am not sure I understand all of the James Farrior and Larry Foote swapping and think it messed up continuity some. If Mike Tomlin thought that Foote is the guy, he should have played the whole game. Neither of them had a great game however as Ray Rice and the tight ends had a field day.
Impressive cut blocking was used by the Ravens offensive line and more than once I saw a member of our defensive line off his feet because of it.
It might be time for Ziggy Hood to start over Aaron Smith at left defensive end. Smith really looked sluggish on Sunday. He looked like his knee might be bothering him still from all of those practices on the field turf during training camp.
The play-action touchdown pass to tight end Ed Dickson fooled the entire defense as they line moved to the right. Troy Polamalu recognized it, but Dickson was a step ahead of him when he did and could not recover.
On the first play of the second half there was total confusion. Center Maurkice Pouncey kept changing the line calls and Ben Roethlisberger sternly told him, “Let\’s go Pounce!” At the snap Legursky leaves to go to the second level and tight end David Johnson let Haloti Ngata go right past him to almost take the hand-off himself. Not sure if this one goes on Legursky as I think Johnson might be the one at fault. Horrible way to start the second half as the Ravens scored on the very next play.
Legursky had plenty of problems with Ngata just the same and Jonathan Scott should have to pay full price for the rides that Terrell Suggs gave him. The Steelers also did not seem to give Scott much help either and pretty much left him to his own to play on the Suggs playground. The entire line had their struggles though in the passing game, but did fare better in the running game.
The offense lacked rhythm and I suppose that is why they through three straight times after getting the ball back again following their first touchdown. That indeed was not a wise choice by Bruce Arians as they were only 7 points down at the time and they needed to reward the defense for getting the stop. I do not think it would have made a huge outcome in the game however, but you never know. Chalk one up for the Arians haters on that drive. I think he catches more flack than what he deserves, but he deserves it on that possession.
We still saw the youthfulness of Antonio Brown poke its head out on Sunday as he clearly missed a hot read in the game and Roethlisberger let him know about it. The Steelers were not able to stretch the field with the deep shots that they like to take as the Ravens corners had good help over the top and the Ravens pass rush was getting pressure without extra bodies. Many do not like the multiple wide receiver screens and quick slants, but it is all that the Steelers had to work with. A few more running back screens could have been used, but the Ravens linebackers likely would have sniffed those out for short gainers.
Roethlisberger was not very accurate on the move Sunday and he also made some poor decisions that led to the interceptions. Everyone has a bad game every now and again and that was his. The touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders however was vintage Ben.
Another bright spot was punter Daniel Sepulveda, but being as I have to dig that far to list him; you can tell it was a bad game. Mike Wallace, Heath Miller and Hines Ward also had bright spots on Sunday.
I would not be surprised if Polamalu ends of having a FedEx envelope waiting for him on Tuesday. It really showed the frustration of the defense on the day. The only bad decision Taylor made Sunday was his head butt.
Not much good took place Sunday, but it was just one game and there is plenty of time to get things right. Straight out ass kicking is what it was. The Seahawks and Colts are up next and they could be just what the doctor orders before the tough match-up against the Texans in week 4.