Week 17 Takeaways: Steelers get sweet revenge over Ravens #Raiders #NFL #Steelers #HereWeGo #Pickett #Franco


After playing on Christmas Eve, the Pittsburgh Steelers had another holiday eve game on the first day of the new year, on the road against the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens. The two divisional teams met previously in Week 14 with the Ravens eeking out a two-point victory. In Week 17, though, Pittsburgh was determined to stop the run defensively and not allow Baltimore to eliminate them from playoff contention. The game mirrored their first meeting early but the Steelers were able to rally and stay alive by getting sweet revenge over the Ravens in a 16-13 win. Here are our Week 17 takeaways from the comeback victory:

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The world of sports journalism came alive following the Week 17 matchup when rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett orchestrated his second come-from-behind win in two weeks by running the game-winning offensive drive for the Steelers that was capped off with a toss to running back Najee Harris for a touchdown. After months of discussion about whether the Steelers made the right decision in grabbing Pickett with their first pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, questions about Pickett’s hand size and ability to get things done as a starting quarterback, social media trolls insisting that Mitchell Trubisky was a better option and writing off the season, Pickett has put back-to-back wins together in the fourth quarter of games, making a statement that he is clutch in tough situations.

Ben Roethlisberger may have been known for his valiant gunslinger comebacks, putting together six just in 2021’s NFL season alone, but Pickett – the new kid on the block – has stepped into the “franchise quarterback” conversation after the win in Baltimore. With just over four minutes left in the game, down five points, there was no question that the Steelers had to score a touchdown to win; a field goal just wasn’t going to keep them in playoff contention or give them a victory. With the game on the line, the Steelers’ offense moved the ball down the field and took control of their own destiny.

“It was just kind of extend the play a little bit. I wanted to keep my eyes downfield and give one of our guys a shot. We had a real similar play earlier to Najee like that, kind of extending and he was down the left side… We didn’t hit it [then] but I’m real happy we got it when it counted.” – Kenny Pickett

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As for Harris, he ran angry (someone alert Good Morning Football) and kept his legs pumping after the initial hit on several plays, added a hurdle, didn’t get flustered when Jaylen Warren was in the game in his place (and on one play, they were in together), and gained 111 yards on 22 carries. Harris also added two catches for 12 yards, including the critical game-winner.

On the touchdown, Harris released into the flat but saw Pickett scrambling out of the pocket due to pressure and took off for the end zone. It paid off.

“Obviously, if the guy comes to me or not, I have to motion-out… but if not, then Kenny looks somewhere else. But then it turned into the scramble rule and I just scramble, like in practice, and I was open and Kenny threw a good ball,and I was able to catch it and score.” – Najee Harris

Making things happen when it counted was a theme on the night, not just for the Steelers offense. The defense also came through in several key moments, especially in the second half of the game.

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Pittsburgh had been focused on shutting down J.K. Dobbins and the Baltimore offense’s run game from the very start. They’d practiced all week in anticipation of having to, yet again, stop a team with an offensive line that could get the push needed to propel their running backs – and quarterbacks – into the gaps and space needed to chew up yards on the ground.

In Week 14, the Steelers gave up 215 rushing yards and a win to the Ravens. Sunday night, the defense only allowed the Ravens’ 28 carries to go for 120 yards. That was a 4.3 yards-per-rush average. With DeMarvin Leal, Mark Robinson, Larry Ogunjobi, and Montravius Adams rotating in – the Steelers utilizing a six-lineman look many times throughout the game – Pittsburgh kept quarterback Tyler Huntley from gaining more than 24 yards with his legs on scrambles, as well. The longest run the Steelers allowed was a 22-yarder by Dobbins.

“(Robinson) throws his face in the fan every time. He’s going to hit hard… Leal is a yes guy. He’s going to do whatever it takes to win, whether it’s dropping into coverage or rushing the passer or sitting in the two gap…” – T.J. Watt

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It was Minkah Fitzpatrick who came up with the big highlight play in the final quarter of the game, however. There were just 56 seconds left in the game when Chris Boswell, who’d “boinked” the upright while missing one field goal in the game, kicked the ball off to the Ravens and put it in the end zone for a touchback. Following a successful first down conversion between Huntley and tight end Mark Andrews to get to the Baltimore 38-yard line on the fourth play of the drive, Huntley spiked the ball dead to stop the clock on 1st and 10 to stop the clock. With zero timeouts left, Huntley looked deep over the middle to connect with Demarcus Robinson but Fitzpatrick grabbed the ball for the interception.

Although the Steelers were penalized for the celebration, the ball was turned over to the offense, who were able to just kneel down in victory formation and get the revenge they sought for the loss the team had taken in Week 14.

Pittsburgh (8-8) will play the Cleveland Browns (7-9) at Acrisure Stadium in Week 18. If the Steelers can win, they still need the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots to lose in order to grab the final wild-card spot. Miami lost to New England in Week 17 and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater left the game due to a hand injury. The Patriots face the Buffalo Bills in Week 18, while the Dolphins face the New York Jets.

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