5 Steelers surprises in Sunday’s win over the Ravens #Raiders #NFL #Steelers #HereWeGo #Pickett #Franco


Each week our SCU staff and contributors picks the “surprises” from the Pittsburgh Steelers latest matchup. Check out more below to see which plays and situations surprised us the most!

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers met the Baltimore Ravens for their Week 17 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Steelers would win their eighth game of the season by a margin of 16-13. Here are some of the surprises from that game.

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Run Defense

After allowing 215 rushing yards in their first meeting with the Ravens this year, the Steelers held them to only 120 yards on the ground after “selling out” to stop Baltimore’s run game.

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Defensive Schemes

It was more surprising how Pittsburgh “sold out” using different schemes which often involved four defensive linemen and four linebackers. This saw Montravius Adams (56%) and rookies DeMarvin Leal (52%) and Mark Robinson (50%) all play a season-high amount of snaps.

LB Robert Spillane also played a full game, not missing a single down. He would lead the team with nine combined tackles while Robinson added seven.

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Run Offense

The Steelers put up 198 rushing yards on the Ravens’ third-ranked run defense.

Surprisingly, this was only the Steelers second-most rushing yards as a team this season (217 against New Orleans). However, Najee Harris would top 100 yards for the first time this season with 22 carries for 111 yards (5.0 average!) while Jaylen Warren also had a season-high with 76.

The Steelers 198 yards are the most the Ravens relinquished all year, previously giving up 145 to the New England Patriots and 143 to the Cleveland Browns.

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Another Kenny Clutch Comeback Drive

For the second-straight week, Steelers rookie QB Kenny Pickett led a game-winning drive in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. This time, he would orchestrate an 11-play, 80-yard drive while completing 5 of 6 passes for 64 yards, capping it off with a ten-yard toss to RB Najee Harris for the go ahead touchdown.

Last week Pickett went 5 of 7 for 52 yards, leading a 10-play, 76-yard drive which ended with a touchdown pass to fellow rookie WR George Pickens with under one minute left in the game. That drive was good for a 132.14 quarterback rating.

This week? Pickett scores a cool 150.69 rating.

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Cam Heyward Penalty

I haven’t had as many complaints about officiating this season, mainly because the Steelers have shot themselves in the foot enough where a bad call or non-call wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome anyway.

However, Sunday night’s game featured one of the more baffling decisions made by the zebras all year long, and certainly could’ve had a major impact on the final score.

Cameron Heyward, the AFC’s reigning Defensive Player of the Week coming into this game, was caught in a pile of players as the Ravens attempted to position themselves for a field goal before the end of the half. Heyward attempts to get off of the pile, but is pulled down more than once – and one of the referees decides to throw a flag on him.

Heyward is first pulled from the back of his jersey and held in place by #72 Ben Powers of the Ravens, as Heyward tries to shed him, #79 Ronnie Stanley grabs the Steelers defender from the front of his pads and pulls him back down.

The bonehead referees think they saw Heyward attempting to waste time, as the clock was ticking down from 22 seconds. Instead of realizing that the Ravens, were exhibiting gamesmanship, Heyward was penalized and a failed 3rd-and-16 conversion.

The initial result would’ve resulted in at worst three points, but was changed to a 1st-and-goal from the Steelers seven yard line, giving Baltimore a new set of downs. The clock resumed and with 11 ticks left, the Ravens would score a touchdown.

In my opinion this was one of the worst, game altering calls I’ve seen in years. (Going back to Joe Haden‘s phantom pass interference call against the Saints in 2018.)

How the referees couldn’t have determined together that there was either 1) no foul or 2) at least another penalty on the Ravens, is baffling. Actually, its mind-blowing and nearly cost the Steelers their season.

This type of situation should never occur in a game played by professionals with millions of dollars at stake. NFL officiating must do better, though I don’t anticipate that any of them saw anything wrong with the call, according to referee Land Clark’s explanation afterward:

“There was some pushing and shoving after the play. Number 97 continued to push after the play, and that’s why it was called.”

Need I mention this is the NFL again?

#Steelers #surprises #Sundays #win #Ravens