The Pittsburgh Steelers dug themselves a 10-0 hole in the first half as the Baltimore Ravens took advantage of Pittsburgh’s missteps. Ben Roethlisberger was not sharp through the first two quarters, and has led to some inconsistent play for an offense that has yet to crack the scoreboard.
Cortez Allen missed a tackle on Jacoby Jones on the kickoff, and Jones beat him for a first down two plays later. Jason Worilds and others got pressure on Joe Flacco on second down to force an incompletion. On third and eight, Torrey Smith just got to the first down marker.
Marlon Brown took a screen pass for a first down after Smith’s conversion. The Steelers held the Ravens to just two yards afterward to force third and eight near the 30. William Gay came in on a corner blitz, but Flacco was able to avoid it, and he found Smith for the first down at the 20.
Ray Rice found room up the middle for nearly a first down. On second and one, Michael Oher was flagged for his second false start of the game. Ike Taylor broke up another pass to Smith in the end zone, as he did in the first half. On third and six, pressure forced a bad pass, resulting in a field goal and a 13-0 lead off the opening drive of the second half.
Starting at the 20, Ben Roethlisberger floated a pass over the middle to Heath Miller on first down for 21 yards. Le’Veon Bell picked up about six on the following play. On second down, Miller gained only about two yards on a short pass. On third and two, Bell found a crease and caught the edge for a big gain into the red zone.
On first and goal, Roethlisberger’s pass dropped right into the dirt. On second down, he looked for Jerricho Cotchery in the corner of the end zone, but it was deflected away by Jimmy Smith. On third and eight, Roethlisberger climbed the pocket up to the line of scrimmage to draw in the defenders, leaving Emmanuel Sanders in the back of the end zone for the score to make it 13-7.
Unfortunately, Jones returned the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the 27-yard line. Flacco’s bootleg opened up Ed Dickson into the red zone. From the 11, Rice was stonewalled after about a yard. Lawrence Timmons blew up Rice after another short gain on a pass to set up third and long from the seven. On third down, Timmons stopped a draw with a shoe-string tackle. Rice was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play to make the ensuing field goal attempt more difficult, but it was good anyway, making it 16-7.
Starting at the 21, Bell took a screen pass about eight yards on first down. He was held to no gain on a draw on second down. On third down, Roethlsiberger’s pass was too strong for Bell down the right sideline to force a punt.
On second and four, Troy Polamalu came up to make a great stop for no gain to Bernard Pierce. On third down, Flacco had all day to throw and eventually found Jones for 33 yards down to the 25. The Steelers got pressure on the play after, but Flacco was able to get a throw off and nearly completed it to Smith near the goal line. After Oher’s third false start of the game, Rice only gained two yards, setting up third and 13. On third down, Flacco’s pass was high and incomplete. Another field goal made it 19-7.
After kick out of bounds, the Steelers started from the 40. Antonio Brown seemed to have the balled ripped out after pulling it in on first down. On second down, Roethlsiberger checked down to Bell for seven yards. On third down, the Steelers sent five receivers, and Sanders got four yards.
Bell took a quick toss nine yards over the middle after eluding a tackler on first down. He ran for the first down a play later. The Ravens were flagged for holding for five yards and a first down. Roethlisberger went for Brown deep to the end zone, but it was incomplete. The Ravens were called for holding again on the play.
Following the consecutive penalties, Roethlisberger looked to the end zone again, but the pass wasn’t there for Sanders. On second down, a floating pass was deflected by the safety on a heady play that would have set up first and goal. On third down, Roethlisberger, scrambling, threw down the field and found Brown for the big first down.
From the eight, Roethlisberger found Miller, who was held just shy of the end zone. On second and goal from inches out, Bell walked into the end zone for the score. With 9:32 to play, the Steelers trailed 19-14.
After the success Jones had on special teams, the Steelers squibbed the kickoff, which was returned to the 34. The Steelers quickly got the Ravens into a third and four situation, but Flacco floated a ball up to Rice on the flat that went all the way down to the Steelers’ 38.
After a false start, Timmons tackled the back after two yards to set up third and 12. From the 40, the Ravens were able to get off an 11-yard pass to make it a manageable field goal attempt. Yet another field goal made it 22-14, meaning the Steelers need a two-point conversion.
Roethlisberger had all day to throw, but his pass to Cotchery was broken up, and nearly intercepted. On second down, he hit Brown quickly and out of bounds for 19 yards. Miller was good for eight yards. On second and two, Miller got the grab for the first down. On five wide, Roethlisberger looked to Miller again over the middle for 13 yards.
Bell was wrapped up for no gain the play after. On second down from the 34, Roethlisberger had Sanders on a difficult pass that he couldn’t hang on to, but a penalty would have negated it anyway. Now second and 24, Bell took a check down down to the 21. After an incompletion, Roethlisberger found Miller between two defenders seemingly for the touchdown, but after review, he was just short.
On first down, Bell was stopped short, and the Ravens used their final timeout. On second and goal, Bell scored, but his helmet came off, blowing the play dead at the half-yard line. On third and goal, Will Johnson could not catch Roethlisberger’s pass. Cotchery caught a wide open pass for the score. The two-point attempt went to Sanders over the defender, but he could not bring in the tough pass.
Shaun Suisham redirected his kick twice before pooching a short one that did not travel the requisite yards, which essentially ends the game. the Steelers fall to 5-7, which likely ends their hopes of a playoff run.