The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 19-16 Sunday at Heinz Field and their ability to move the ball on first down played a big part in it.
When you exclude the kneel down by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the end of the first half and the final run by running back Le'Veon Bell which was an attempt to get the football in the middle of the field for the game-winning kick by kicker Shaun Suisham, the offense ran a total of 23 meaningful first down plays for an average gain of 6.09 yards.
Of those 23 plays, 13 were runs and 10 were passes.
The success by the Steelers offense on first down led to the Ravens being unable to really get after Roethlisberger on second and third downs as they had to respect the run first on the way. This of course made life a bit easier for tackles Kelvin Beachum and Guy Whimper, who both played a really good game.
The first down success also resulted in an average third down distance in the game of 4.48 yards and that opened up huge options as far as they play calling went. In fact, the offense ran four out of 12 times on third down not counting the scramble by Roethlisberger in the game and they converted three of those for first downs.