Week 7 Game Thread: Ravens vs. Steelers

This is a huge game … obviously. Let’s do it in loving memory of Levi Brown’s Steelers’ career.

* Fantastic video via the fine folks at Benstonium

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  • calig23

    Creative play-calling so far. Ben was split out wide on 2 straight plays.

  • calig23

    Shovel pass to Miller for the TD!

  • calig23

    Whimper and Adams on the field at the same time. Oh boy…

  • calig23

    Not a fan of that 3rd down call, especially coming out of a timeout.

  • calig23

    And so it begins. Bell gets flagged for a face mask, wiping out a solid catch and run. The Steelers run a draw that gets a few yards, but show no urgency to get the next play off. Then Ben completes a pass to Miller which would have gotten the first down, but Miller has it punched out, and the Ravens recover in Steelers’ territory.

  • calig23

    At least they held them to a field goal.

  • calig23

    Ravens burn a timeout early in the third quarter and then get flagged for a delay of game. Naturally, the Steelers then allow Flacco to scramble for a 1st down and get flagged for holding.

  • calig23

    Now the Ravens gets flagged for a false start.

  • calig23

    Steelers get a sack on 3rd down…. but were offsides on the play, so its first down Ravens.

  • calig23

    Ravens settle for a FG to cut the Steelers’ lead to 13-9, then try a surprise onside kick. They commit two penalties on the play, but it doesn’t matter because the Steelers’ recovered.

  • calig23

    And Derek Moye drops a TD, and the Steelers have to settle for another FG.

  • calig23

    I don’t like this. Ravens only need one big play and its a tie game. A turnover would be awfully nice…

  • calig23

    The defense has just folded on this drive. Can’t make a stop at all.

  • calig23

    Ravens score.

  • calig23

    I’m officially tired of Polamalu trying to jump the snap count.

  • calig23

    Sanders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh my god!!

  • calig23

    Coming back. Sanders stepped out of bounds.

  • calig23

    FG is good! Not the prettiest game, but any win over the Ravens is a good win.

  • Cols714

    That team looked like a contender. Really if the Steelers have a better LT and don’t cut every decent ILB before the start of the season we are probably 3-3 at worst right now. Most likely 4-2. Stupid roster decisions.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Five quick thoughts:

    1. calig is gunning for this season’s SteelerBill Memorial Game Thread Award.
    2. We are one game in the loss column out of a wild card spot.
    3. It is amazing how much a good running back slows down even one of the best pass rushing teams. Even more amazing that he ran well behind late round picks and street free agents like Velasco, Whimper, Beachum and Foster playing most of the snaps.
    4. Lots of snaps from Sharknado.
    5. Are we allowed to say that Haley has called three good games in a row?

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      Add another:
      6. If Troy’s timing on the last PAT block attempt had been slightly better or Manny’s foot had been in bounds, either could’ve been our play of the year. Turns out that we won without needing either.

    • countertorque

      Can we stop trying to use 3 RB’s now that it’s clear that Bell is way better than any of the others?

      • Eric

        I suspect Tomlin still believes in running a guy “until his wheels fall off”. So be careful what you wish for.

        • Cols714

          Why not do this? Draft a RB and run him until his rookie deal expires and then draft another RB. No reason to try to preserve him.

          • Eric

            I was thinking more of the “curse of 370″ carries. Burning out your running back one year could jeopardize their health the next.

            In fact, high mileage might have contributed to Bell being hurt at the beginning of his pro career. He was very heavily used at Michigan State.

          • EasyLikeSundayMorning

            I doubt there’s a connection between Bell’s college carry load and his injury. Adam wrote a post about the college players with the most carries ever. In the comments, I noted that this looked to be highly correlated with successful pro careers and weakly (or possibly inversely) correlated with injuries after college. A hypothesis I threw out at the time is that college defenders are much smaller and slower, making each hit less impactful. Also, maybe guys who get a lot of carries in college learn to lessen the power of hits on them before they give hit in the pros.

  • Ted

    Obviously very happy with this win. Pleasantly surprised at how well the o-line played. We’ll see if that continues before we get too optimistic. Bell is a huge upgrade over the other candidates at TB, and a consistent rushing threat definitely helps out a heavy offensive line that struggles in pass pro..

    Our best defensive players are either old (Troy, Clark, Ike, Keisel, etc.) or middle-aged (Timmons, Woodley). But two young players are really coming on and need to be locked up early in Heyward and Cortez Allen. Still baffling that we would not start Heyward over Hood last year when Cameron was clearly the better player.

    Win two more in a row (very doable) and we are back in playoff contention. 9-7 may well get the last wild card/Cincy, however, looks like the class of the North.

  • Rob D

    I picked the Steelers to win because they were playing the Ravens. Who aren’t very good. But we looked better than them in most areas and with a little more luck , we’d probably have put this one away with Moye catching that perfect pass from Ben..

    It was great to see them celebrating like kids after winning. I think the losing makes you focus on details more and whilst they weren’t perfect, they put together a really good team effort and that includes ST’s. I’m still very wary of our O-line (although Velasco is , to my mind, holding his ground better than Pouncey was to start this season. He’s been a revelation and DeCastro was very good too) and I’m worried about our pass rush..but overall, we are starting to see the kids contribute..Bell, Cortez, McClendon, Heyward..with support from Polamalu, Woodley, even Worilds.

    Next up is Oakland..a bit scared of that one considering recent history. Not real scared of NE..I think they are a team that is going to sink fast in the 2nd half..hope we can handle them and their awful WR’s and that Gronk gets covered by Cortez like the last time we played them. That’s two winnable games. I think Cincy will falter but it willl be hard to catch them for the division. HOpe a wild card is possible if we keep showing we have some fight left.

    A very enjoyable Sunday, all in all. I had too high expectations for the year and then had a hard crash..now I’m just going to try and enjoy the rest of the year without expectation. It’s actually interesting to do so..its like we are underdogs now who are surprising with good play. Enjoy the ride.

  • Terribletoweler

    5 thoughts:
    1. Redman isn’t just in the dog house. He’s in the pasture unless an injury occurs, which means we’ll see him again.
    2. Abdullah the Butcher can block much better than we expected, at least at RT.
    3. Beachum has earned the LT position and would have to get pushed out of it at this point. Seeing as how Adams didn’t have any push to begin with, Beachum is our LT this year.
    4. Willy Gay isn’t getting beat a whole lot this year. Solid game from him.
    5. Cody Wallace got a hat for the game! Thankfully I didn’t notice him take the field.

  • countertorque

    If the Steelers go 3-13 and beat the Ravens twice, I’ll consider this to be a moderately successful season.
    It’s important to remember though, that the Ravens suck. Going into this game, footballoutsiders had the Steelers at #25 and the Ravens several spots below them.

    • Rob D

      Indeed, this isn’t 2008 and this wasn’t a clash of the titans. STill… a very important win. I hesitate to use the word, but the Ravens look soft..never thought I’d say that about that organization..

  • Cols714

    How nice was it so see a RB with patience and burst? How nice was it to see the center and two guards consistently get push and open holes? How nice was it that the RB didn’t have to immediately dodge a tackler in the backfield?

    Just a fantastic performance by the OL. DeCastro seems to be all that he was supposed to be.

    • Rob D

      Is Velasco a better option at C than Pouncey was/is? From my perspective, we can run up the middle now with Bell and BEn doesn’t seem to get huge pressure up the middle. I’m liking it! DeCastro is coming into his own..Someone wrote a piece detailing his abuse of Arthur Brown yesterday. I think Le’Veon is a potential Pro Bowler. He’s huge, has burst, vision and really smart. Plus he has great receiving skills that hasn’t been exploited much yet. What’s not to like! I thought Felix was pretty good too..in limitied snaps, he can contribute. Dwyer had a nice third down pickup yesterday..

      • Cols714

        Yep. Bell is the best RB we’ve had since Mendenhall was good in 2010. DeCastro looks great. I have no idea if Velasco is better than Pouncey, but he looks to at least be as good.

  • Rob D

    Want to feel better about the STeelers? Watch a replay of the Minny/NY Giants game tonight..good lord..what a yawn fest. Didn’t reach the minimum level of excitment even preseason games sometimes reach (like when a rookie draft pick makes a nice play) We lost to Minny..not sure how..

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    QOTD: what do you want Ryan, Adam and JJ to discuss on the next podcast?

    Here are a few from me: What do you think our record would be if Bell had been healthy all season? What do you (esp. JJ) think of Whimper’s play at RT against the Ravens (and is it consistent with his past performances)? On a neutral field, how many NFL teams do you think we’d be underdogs by more than 3 points if we played this week?

    • Cols714

      Good questions. I’d like them to discuss how William Gay has been pretty good this year and why he still gets no respect from the Steelers faithful.

      Also, why in hell did it take the coaches so long to get Cameron Heyward in there?

      I think with a healthy Bell and Beachum at LT to start the year we are 4-2.

      • Rob D

        The Heyward thing is inexplicable, IMO. The usual excuse/explanation was he was playing behind Keisel who was still playing at a very high level. When the question was asked why he wasn’t replacing Hood who was struggling and getting single blocked effectively most snaps, there was silence. Anyway, better late than never? No, those kind of obvious personnel moves need to be made quickly. Heyward is now learning new ropes he should be completely familiar with already. Sometimes, the fans and popular opinion are right. EVery film breakdown I’ve watched over the last few years, both online and on TV (I remember Brian BAldinger on NFLN doing a completely dismissive breakdown of Ziggy’s talents..”he can be single covered…not a guy you have to gameplan for etc” Seems like everyone and their brother knew this but not the STeelers. I admire their patience most times, but in the modern NFL you have to know what you have and what you don’t. By the time the guy is due for a 2nd contract, we sometimes dont’ know what we have since they haven’t hit the field enough in pressure situations.

    • Terribletoweler

      Interesting questions. If I may hazard an answer in the spirit of discussion, in my uninformed, couch coach sort of way…

      I think if Bell were healthy all season our record may not be any different. Consider that we would still have had Adams in, the Pouncey injury still occurs, and Miller would still be out. Bell is getting credit for running great, as he should. But the staff began to figure things out.

      Whimper was solid. I and many others gave him flack and had no faith, but for at least one game he was money for a backup. No idea about his past, never watched him.

      Tunch Ilkin wanted to see Beachum at LT. Too many times Tunch is right about o-line play. Beachum might have a tough assignment out there, but against Suggs he did pretty well. Sure Suggs was in our back field some, but that’s what he does.

    • David

      How about:

      1) What will our record be by Jan?

      2) Have we finally found a LT, KR, RB?
      3) Why are we still not causing turnovers?
      4) Where the heck is SteelerBill?

      • Randy Steele

        Bill is one of the moderators on Jim Wexell’s site, Steel City Insider.

  • Eric

    Anybody watch some Dolphin games? Any insight into Mike Wallace’s apparent struggles?

    • Terribletoweler

      Tannehill is getting sacked on one out of every 8.5 attempts or so. Not good for throwing deep balls, and Tannehill is not as good as Ben. Ben will help a receiver get open with pump fakes. Tannehill doesn’t do that, and Wallace has never been a great route runner. If I remember, he was once a below average route runner, but has improved some. Factor in a new offense, playbook, and QB….

    • Randy Steele

      I spent last Sunday walking around Miami Beach with a close friend who gave up his season tickets for Dolphins’ games this year, which he had held for about 25 years. A true, hardcore fan since his youth, he’s completely fed up with the team and can’t take it anymore. He can barely watch the games on TV.

      Nevertheless, we popped into and out of various bars and restaurants to catch snippets of the Jets’ game that was in progress. My friend thought the signing Mike Wallace was a complete gross waste of money, but he doesn’t blame Wallace. He blames Ryan Tannehill.

      Yes, Wallace seemed to be pretty much invisible during the game, but it’s not so much that he’s struggling. One major problem is that Tannehill simply doesn’t have a long-range cannon that can reach Wallace on deep routes.

      Of course, I remember Wallace, after beating his coverage, being forced to circle back and wait for some of Ben’s passes, too. Which is why I was surprised by the interest and the crazy money that Wallace was able to garner during the off-season as he entered free-agency. There aren’t many teams with a quarterback who can take advantage of Wallace’s “one-trick-pony,” track-and-field skill set. (Miami should try to use him more as a slot receiver, toss him some short, quick passes, and then watch as he outruns the defense.)

      Anyway, while the game was going on, I thought for a moment how lucky I was to be a Steelers’ fan, even if their record was 1 – 4 at the time . Because even at 1-4, you figure the Steelers still have a glimmer of hope.