The Steelers bring a 20-14 lead into the second half, with the offense scoring on all four of its first-half possessions, but the defense is struggling mightily to contain running back Alex Collins, who has 98 yards of offense in the first half.
Antonio Brown has gotten some touches, with a game-high 74 receiving yards in the first half on four receptions. Le’Veon Bell has a rushing and receiving touchdown on 55 yards rushing and receiving, while Jesse James and Vance McDonald have combined for seven receptions, going for 78 yards. Eli Rogers had a big third-down conversion with 15 yards needed at the end of the half.
Martavis Bryant chose to return a kick from about four yards deep, but was tackled inside the 20. Bell was engulfed by Brandon Williams on first down for two. McDonald delivered a hit at the end of his fourth reception of the game for eight yards. Bell bowled over a defender, Marlon Humphrey, for a six-yard reception. At the 35, Roethlisberger threw to McDonald against the blitz, but the tight end couldn’t grab it, possibly dropped. On third down, the play was busted by a blitz. Roethlisberger aired a ball to Brown, who was tackled for a loss.
Jordan Berry’s first punt of the night was an average one, a 45-yarder that was fair caught on the 25-yard line. Coty Sensabaugh starting the second half was tasked with making the tackle on Collins on first down after a short gain. Mike Wallace was somehow wide open for 40 yards down the field. Looks like Sean Davis bit on a double move. Davis really trending in a negative direction since his interception.
Joe Flacco’s next throw was a stupid mistake that nearly was intercepted by Cameron Heyward on a screen pass. Collins picked up a few. On third and long, T.J. Watt pressured Flacco to force a bad throw. Watt having a strong night, his fourth pressure of the game. Justin Tucker’s field goal made it 20-17.
Tucker’s next kickoff landed dead at the one and Bryant had to escape just a safety, returning the ball to the nine. Bell picked up a yard or two on first down, but was stuffed for no gain on second. Now third and eight, Justin Hunter in the game, was incomplete looking for either Brown or James, forcing a three-and-out. Berry’s second punt was fielded running out of bounds at the Ravens’ 40.
Collins picked up nine yards around left end on first down. Jeremy Maclin was good for 20 as the Ravens are already in field goal position, looking to at least tie the game, if not take the lead. Allen was tripped up for a short gain. With a first down inside the 20, Artie Burns was targeted against Wallace, who had to become the defensive back, climbing over Burns to break up the pass. Collins forced a couple of missed tackles for 17 to set up first and goal at the one. Allen gave the Ravens the lead at 24-20 with the fullback rush.
A quick run and pass for Bell set up third and four. Matt Judon, tackling Bell, was injured on the pass play on second down. Facing third and four, with Hawkins at left tackle, Roethlisberger was incomplete to Brown, Brandon Carr breaking up the pass, as the offense continues a dreadful start to the second half.
Collins broke free yet again for 22, and a personal foul on Davis added another 15. The Ravens are quick in Steelers territory at the 38.
Allen was tripped up for a short gain on first down. Mike Mitchell dropped an interception in the end zone, but it would not have counted anyway because Artie Burns was flagged for pass interference, setting up first and goal for the Ravens. Both defenders were banged up on the play. Flacco hit his fullback for the six-yard touchdown as the Ravens take an 11-point lead. There has been a 25-point swing since the Steelers were up 14-0, now down 31-20.
Bryant fumbled on the kick return, giving the offense bad starting field position. A quick pass to Brown picked up eight. Roethlisberger looked for Xavier Grimble in tight coverage, incomplete. On third and two, he dumped off to Bell to convert, I think their first conversion of the half.
At the 34, a quick pass to Bryant went for nine. Roethlisberger’s pass on second and one was off-target for Brown. Bryant converted with a short catch. With the third quarter running out, at midfield, Roethlisberger shoveled the ball to Bell, who hurdled Carr for about eight to end the third. A big gainer to James with room to run went for 18, but Brown was flagged for unnecessary roughness, negating most of the gain.
Going back to James for six, then a slant to Brown for the first for 12, the offense reached the 21. James took a big lick after a 10-yard reception, taking a shot from Weddle. At the 11, Roethlisberger went to Bell on a quick slant for five. After an incompletion in Rogers’ direction, Roethlisberger had nobody open, eventually throwing to Bell covered by C.J. Mosely for an incompletion. A Boswell field goal makes it a one-possession game, down eight, 31-23.
Boswell’s kick was returned to about the 23, the tackle by Fort. Following a Ravens edition of Renegade, the defense looks to finally get a stop. Collins was stopped for a loss for I think the first time all night. A screen to the tight end was stopped for no gain. Now quickly a third and 11, a three-man rush with eight in coverage took away Flacco’s first option, resulting in a low incomplete pass. Sam Koch’s punt went out of bounds at the 33 as the Steelers look to tie the game.
On the first play of the drive, Roethlisberger tried to get a screen to Brown, but he led the pass too much, basically into Rogers’ backside. On second down, he overthrew Bryant down the field. Quickly third and 10, it was Brown, with the big catch for a bigger gain, down to the 10. Roethlisberger’s pass for Bryant was too high on first down. A shot to Brown in the back of the end zone was incomplete, but drew a pass interference on Brandon Carr, setting up first and goal from the one.
And of course it was Roosevelt Nix making a stellar catch in tight coverage against Tony Jefferson for the touchdown. Down two, going for two, showing five wide, a fade looking for Bell was incomplete, but it drew a penalty, setting half the distance. Now from the one, Bell got the carry, but was stopped, so the Steelers still trail two, but with 9:15 left to play.
Campanaro returned the kick out to the 44. After an incompletion, Davis slammed the tight end down for a 15-yard personal foul. Now at the Steelers’ 41, Collins was stuffed for a loss of several yards. On second and 14, Burns was flagged for pass interference, putting the Ravens at the 25.
Collins was good for five on first down. Vince Williams made the tackle just before a first down for Woodhead. Now third and two, Watt could not catch up to the pitch to Collins, setting up first and goal. From the nine, Allen virtually walked in for the touchdown. The Steelers now trail two possessions with under seven minutes to play. 38-29.
McDonald was ruled out of the game with a shoulder injury. Bell took a pass for five on first down. Roethlisberger hit Brown for 23 down the field to the Ravens’ 45. Another reception for Brown picked up 11. After a batted pass, Roethlisberger checked down to Bell for 10, down to the 20, with under 4:30 to play. Another nine for Rogers. At the 11, Roethlisberger threw wide for James, incomplete, with 3:36 to play. Looking for more than the conversion, Bell took the ball on the ground into the end zone after some juking for his third touchdown overall. Boswell’s extra point reinstated the two-point deficit, with 3:29 to play and three timeouts at the Steelers’ disposal. We should be getting a double Renegade.
Following a touchback, Flacco off play action threw a bad pass, incomplete. Collins picked up six yards on second down. Now third and four, off an RPO, Flacco’s pass was tipped by Stephon Tuitt, forcing an incompletion. On the punt, Rogers fielded the ball at about the 17, leaving 2:25 on the clock with all timeouts.
Unfortunately, Roethlisberger was sacked on first down for a loss of nine. Rushing to get a play off before the two-minute warning, a quick pass to James picked up five, setting up third and 14 at the 13-yard line. Roethlisberger hit James for the big conversion, arguably the biggest catch of his career to date.
Following another five-yard completion to James, Roethlisberger was incomplete looking for Bryant toward the right sideline. At the 35-yard line, Roethlisberger trusted Brown down the field, hitting him for 34, down to the 30-yard line. With 1:02 to play and two timeouts, there is some clock to kill.
On the ground, Bell was stopped after a short gain. The Ravens now considering time left used theirs second timeout. On second and eight, Roethlisberger took a shot down the field to Grimble, looking to catch the Ravens off-guard. Roethlisberger nearly hit Rogers for a third-down conversion as he was going down for a sack. Boswell lining up for a 46-yard attempt, was routine, hitting the potential game-winner, leading 39-38. But there are 42 seconds left and a timeout in hand for the Ravens.
Starting from the 25, it’s now up to the defense. Flacco on first down threw down the field to Maclin, who was hammered to force an incompletion. He stayed down on the play, and the Ravens were forced to use their final timeout due to the injury. A completion to Wallace picked up 14. A spike left 21 seconds on the clock at the 39. The rookie, T.J. Watt, chased Flacco from behind, from the left side, sacking Flacco, but he lost the ball out of bounds, stopping the clock.