The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Baltimore Ravens 13-10 Sunday night and below are my second half notes from the game. Here are my first half notes if you missed them.
On the first run by Ray Rice of the second half, Casey Hampton, Larry Foote, and Ryan Clark all miss tackles. On 3rd and inches LaMarr Woodley gets great penetration as he blows tight end Ed Dickson off the ball. Rice is not done as he rolls left off of the initial hit but Keenan Lewis is there on the edge to finish off the stuff. The Ravens go three and out.
On 3rd and short on the Steelers opening possession of the second half the line protects well enough in order to give Byron Leftwich the time to hit Emmanuel Sanders on a deep post against quarters coverage. It was a great catch by Sanders and Leftwich put the ball where only he could catch it. The explosive play has the offense at the Ravens 40 yard-line. On the first down that follows center Maurkice Pouncey can\'t handle Maake Kemoeatu, who slides off the block to stuff Jonathan Dwyer. On second down it is Mike Adams with the run block fail and that results in another short run for Dwyer. On third down Leftwich is fooled by cornerback Corey Graham and his pass intended for Sanders is intercepted. Ill-advised throw and Leftwich appeared to have Jerricho Cotchery open to the left for an easy first down.
On the second down play of the Ravens next possession Foote gets enough pressure that it forces Joe Flacco to throw off target deep. Lewis and Will Allen had great coverage regardless. The Ravens convert on the short pass to Rice on third down as Foote cant keep up with the running back after he reverses direction after making the catch short of the sticks. Lewis has great coverage deep on Anquan Boldin on second down and on third down it is Lewis again as he undercuts the pass intended for Jacoby Jones. Great job of breaking on the ball as Jones breaks in his route. The Ravens settle for a field goal and now have 6 points off of turnovers.
Dwyer does a great job of breaking tackles on the second and long screen pass to give the Steelers offense a first down and breathing room. Dwyer then goes up the middle on the next play for good yardage after reading the double team block of Willie Colon and Max Starks nicely. Pouncey may have gotten away with a hold on the play. Not enough Dwyer? He follows Ramon Foster up the middle on the next play for good yardage. Adams and Heath Miller also had a nice blocks on the play. 33 yards of offense for Dwyer on those 3 plays. Rashard Mendenhall chips in a nice run and reception after Dwyer taps out and Baron Batch comes in on 3rd down and goes up the middle for the first down. That would be his only carry in the game. On the ensuing first play Leftwich goes play action and draws in the linebackers with a good fake. He has max protection and hits Sanders on a deep crossing route against quarters coverage. Ed Reed is flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Sanders and the Steelers offense is inside the red zone. Leftwich can\'t connect with Cotchery on first down as Graham fights through the rub of Miller to get in position to defend the pass. On second down it is back to the running game as Dwyer takes it down to the four. The Steelers are forced to use a timeout before running the third down play, which ends up being a fade to Mike Wallace in the back right corner of the end zone. Leftwich actually delivered a nice ball and I really don\'t see how Wallace didn\'t get both of his feet down. This should of been 6 points. That being said, I don\'t understand why Todd Haley didn\'t run Dwyer here as he had been the hot hand on the drive. Surely they could have gotten the first down on two runs up the gut as the Ravens defense was way back on their heels. Sadly the offense has to settle for a field goal here. Crushing.
The Ravens go three and out on the ensuing possession as Woodley ends it with a sack. Cameron Heyward also provides nice pressure up the middle as well on the play. Props to the coverage on the play in addition as Flacco pulled back the ball after seeing all of the eligibles locked up down the field.
On the Steelers next possession it is Dwyer who gets the second first down of the drive as Leftwich avoids pressure and flips it to the running back. The spot is short but Mike Tomlin smartly challenges it and wins. Leftwich ends up being sacked on the following third down as the offensive line fails to handle the blitz. Another rough shot on Leftwich, who has been in pain all night.
The Steelers defense forces a three and out but the offense will again start at their own 25 yard-line after the punt. These long fields are a tough challenge.
After a few first downs the offense appears to be moving again as Miller makes a great effort after the catch to move the chains on third down. The counter trap is blown up on first down by Terrell Suggs and Leftwich one hops a second down pass to Wallace after that. On third down Colon misses a blocking assignment which leads to Leftwich taking a brutal sack from behind on the safety blitz.
On the next Ravens possession Tomlin chooses to burn his final timeout just a few seconds prior to the two minute warning instead of letting that be his timeout. This was a very curious timeout call to only save a few seconds. The Steelers wind up jumping offsides on third down. After the two minute warning and a Ravens timeout, James Harrison ends up sacking Flacco. The Ravens use up all of the play clock before punting on fourth down and the Steelers are out of timeouts as they get the ball with 1:05 left in the game.
On second down Mendenhall makes a bonehead decision to not go out of bounds on the dump-off. This decision wasted about 20 seconds. All that is left now is for Cotchery to get his ribs broken by Bernard Pollard on the right side and Leftwich to under throw David Gilreath on the third down play after escaping pressure to the right. Leftwich normally has the arm to make this throw but not after the beating he took in this game. The game ends on one of those goofy lateral plays.
This was a very frustrating game that they had a chance to win thanks to the defense. Had Ben Roethlisberger played...