Baltimore Ravens get ugly win in Pittsburgh, move to 3-2
The Baltimore Ravens got their third win of the season on Justin Tucker's overtime field goal, but coming away with the win is one of very few positives to take away from their performance in Pittsburgh. Road victories, particularly divisional road games are difficult to come by and the Ravens have no plans on giving it back, but their defense continues to look terrible and their offense struggled in this game.
Justin Tucker hit four field goals on the day, including the field goal that sent the game to overtime and the game winner, continuing to showcase the fact he's as good as any kicker in the NFL. In that respect, this game resembled so many from last year where the Ravens hung around in a low scoring game to have him come out and win it.
The defense continues to have major issues and today's performance is actually an improvement for them after how bad it was in September. The problem is that the Steelers came in with backup quarterback Mason Rudolph, who was then knocked out of the game, literally, and Devlin Hodges came in and they were still able to move the ball.
The Steelers tried to give the Ravens the game on a number of occasions and the Ravens refused to take it. This is in large part due to the offense's worst performance of the season. After being one of the most explosive offenses the first three games, they came regressed to a more normal looking offense against the Cleveland Browns last week.
In this game, the Ravens were downright abysmal, averaging just 3.8 yards per play. They couldn't run the ball with their backs as Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards totalled 61 yards on 24 carries. Combine that with a struggle to pass the ball and Lamar Jackson ended up having to carry the ball 14 times for 70 yards.
When the game started, Jackson was almost toying with Steelers defenders as he was able to make them miss on tackle attempts and scramble for yardage, but the passing game was a struggle. Marquise Brown hurt his ankle in the game and Mark Andrews hurt his shoulder, which didn't help matters, but the issue was turnovers. After not turning over the ball at all in their first three games, the Ravens turned it over three times against the Browns and three times against the Steelers.
Jackson has five interceptions in the past two games and he doesn't seem to bounce back from critical mistakes as quickly as he should. He will make brilliant throws and some great runs, but there seems to be a small period after interceptions where he doesn't trust himself and holds the ball too long. That enabled the Steelers to track him down and sack him five times in all. He took a ton of hits in the game overall.
The win gives the Ravens a 3-2 record and they get the 0-5 Cincinnati Bengals next week, so they can bounce back on both sides of the ball, making this poor performance a blip rather than an indication of where the team really is, but opponents watching and scouting the Ravens likely see weaknesses they can exploit.
The Ravens also look like they've lost Tony Jefferson for a significant amount of time, potentially for the season after he hurt his knee and had to be carted off in the game.
The Ravens win puts them back in first place in the AFC North, pending the result of the game between the Browns and the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. Meanwhile, the Steelers had a chance to get to 2-3 and put themselves right back in the divisional race. 1-4 doesn't knock them out entirely, but it's a massive difference, especially as they await the results of how long they'll be without quarterback Mason Rudolph.