Wow. What a game.
The Baltimore Ravens, behind the leg of Justin Tucker’s five field goals, defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 22-20 on Thanksgiving. For the Steelers, this is not something to be thankful for.
In typical Ravens-Steelers fashion, the game came down to the very end. Leading 10-0 at halftime, the Ravens were handling the Steelers in the first half. Nothing seemed to be clicking for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his team.
But that changed in the second half as Roethlisberger caught fire. A couple of dashes by running back Le’Veon Bell and a catch by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders got the Steelers right back into the game. Four second half field goals by Tucker gave the Ravens a 22-14 lead late into the fourth quarter, but that’s when Roethlisberger performed his magic.
He drove his troops down the field and connected with his trusty tight-end Heath Miller for what looked like a touchdown. Replay showed Miller’s knee was down at the one.
On first down, Bell was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
On second down, Bell dashed through the Ravens’ defense for what looked like another score. Bell took a vicious blow to his head and his helmet flew off right at the goal line. By rule, when the ball-carrier’s helmet comes off during play, the play is dead at the spot where the helmet was dislodged. Replay showed Bell’s helmet popped off at the half-yard line. Bell’s bell was rung and he was taken to the locker room with what looked like a nasty head injury.
On third down, Roethlisberger tossed it to his fullback Will Johnson in the flat, but Johnson was unable to hold on.
On fourth down, Roethlisberger found a wide open Jerricho Cotchery for, undoubtedly, a touchdown. The score read 22-20 in favor of the Ravens
After all that, the two-point conversion seemed easy.
Roethlisberger took the snap and fired a beautiful ball to Sanders in the corner of the end zone. But Sanders couldn’t hold on, the onsides kick failed and the Ravens conquered the Steelers in another, close slugfest.
Let’s take a look at some post-game flair:
MVP – Kelvin Beachum
Steelers offensive-tackle Kelvin Beachum had the unfortunate assignment of guarding Roethlisberger against dominate pass-rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. Mr. Suggs finished the game with just one tackle and zero sacks. Mr. Dumervil finished with three tackles and zero sacks—in fact, the Steelers didn’t allow Roethlisberger to be sacked for the second consecutive game. But Beachum was amazing in a matchup that clearly favored the Baltimore pass rushers and clearly deserves this game’s MVP.
LVP – Shaun Suisham
It was difficult to choose a LVP for this game, as all the Steelers players played valiantly. But I just can’t forget Suisham’s missed field goal that would have made those wacky closing-minutes significantly less heart-attack-inducing. Especially after many Steelers’ fans were at greater risk for one after their Thanksgiving meal.
X-Factor – Ben Roethlisberger
A clean Ben equals a successful Ben. And we’ve seen that the past three weeks. Roethlisberger has been sacked just once over that span, and didn’t hit the turf once on Thanksgiving. When he’s upright, he’s deadly, and the Steelers are never out of a game—just like tonight.
Key Stat – Too close to call
Take a look at Thursday’s box score to see just how close this game was statistically. The teams had almost identical stats—nothing new, right? It just goes to show how well-matched these division rivals are, and just how much one play—like a two-point conversion—can matter.
Tweet of the Game
Steelers’ fans were looking for a turnover all game. They’ve come accustomed to No. 5 handing one over, too. But not this day:
I mean I thought Flacco would have a turn over or ten in him but apparently not.
— Jasmine (@jBSTEEL_) November 29, 2013
What This Loss Means
*Sigh* This loss is a killer. At 5-7 the playoffs seem like a long-shot at this point. Especially after losing in-division to a team with an identical record. Don’t look for the Steelers to quit, but also don’t hope for much football in Pittsburgh come January.
Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
December 8, 2013, 1:00 p.m. (ET)