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Week 17 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 10, Baltimore Ravens 28
What you need to know
On a miserably rainy day in Baltimore, the Pittsburgh Steelers easiest path to the playoffs was winning against the Baltimore Ravens, minus Lamar Jackson
and a few other starters, and the Tennessee Titans losing against the Houston Texans.
The first drive, which took 44 seconds off the clock, was an omen of things to come for the Steelers. The Steelers lost the time of possession by almost double, had half the number of first downs, and had almost half the number of total yards. There wasn’t one aspect of this game the Steelers. To add insult to injury, late in the fourth quarter on a punt attempt, the ball was snapped and mishandled by the punter. The Ravens recovered the fumble and were able to score a defensive touchdown.
III and the Ravens offense relied upon their rushing attack to move the ball, control time of possession, and score points. Robert Griffin
III did not find much success throwing the ball and was not asked to throw the ball many times. Much of the game was played in heavy rain fall and the Ravens went even more run heavy when they established a lead. Gus Edwards
and Justice Hill
were the two offensive stars for the Ravens. The pair of backs showed they can carry the load without Mark Ingram
who is dealing with a calf injury. Edwards was outstanding outside of a fumble running through tackles and showing off impressive speed. Justice Hill
continued his momentum from last week and scored an impressive touchdown on a physical run. Hayden Hurst
made a few plays in the passing game. Griffin's best throw of the game was a 20 yard strike to Hurst on 3rd and 12. Griffin stepped into the throw and fit it into a tight window.
|QB Devlin Hodges, 50 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 25 - 95 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Hodges came into the game with little expectations. The weather was poor, and he has been turning the football over at an alarming rate over the last several weeks. To start the game Hodges made a good throw to Diontae Johnson
on a shallow slant. The ball was well placed and allowed Johnson to work after the catch. Hodges’ best throw of the day was at the end of the first quarter. Hodges threw a perfectly placed ball to Diontae Johnson
along the sideline. Another highlight on the day for Hodges was on a drop back. Hodges managed to spin away from pressure in the pocket. After eluding the defender, Hodges was able to deliver a pass to Vance McDonald
, who adjusted well to a ball thrown behind him. On the Ravens side, they opted to keep blitzing all game. Hodges was sacked multiple times by blitzing safeties and linebackers. The Steelers got the ball back with under two minutes left in the first half and down two points, the Steelers opted to keep firing with Duck Hodges. Hodges ended up fumbling the ball away with 45 seconds left in the first half. This is the fifth time Hodges has fumbled the football and the first time he has lost one of his fumbles. In the second half Devlin Hodges
imploded. He had an intentional grounding when the Ravens were sending another blitz, was almost picked off. Delivered a pass hot and high to Juju Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster couldn’t handle the pass, tipped it up in the air, and it was almost picked off. To wrap things up Hodges had a second intentional grounding of the game came in the end zone and was a safety.
Snell was the shining star on the Steelers offense this week. He started the game with a six-yard gain. Found a nice lane through the right side of the offensive line. His best run of the game set the Steelers up inside the 5-yard line. Snell found the perfect hole between the left guard and center. Once Snell was past the line of scrimmage, he managed to shed an attempted arm tack and keep his balance for a 19-yard gain. Snell’s following carry was a rush to the outside, when the hole up the middle closed, for a rushing touchdown. This was the Steelers’ only offensive touchdown of the game. This dive alone counted for six carries and forty yards of Snell’s total production. Snell continued running strong on first possession of the third quarter making sharp cuts upfield through the left side of the offensive line. On the same drive Snell falls to the ground and almost takes out his center, who is already filling in for the injured Maurkice Pouncey
There was a much bigger game to be had for Johnson if Hodges would have been more accurate. He started with a good catch on slant route. Throw was on time and put in a spot to allow Johnson to work after the catch. His best reception was over Marcus Peters and Johnson was able to play the sideline perfectly on an over the shoulder reception. Johnson was targeted in the end zone and barely couldn’t bring it in. On the possible touchdown reception Johnson was able to get one foot down and almost toe tapped the second down.
This wasn’t Washington’s game. He had two clear opportunities to make big plays for the Steelers. His first was when he was wide open in zone coverage over the middle on a shallow crossing route. Unfortunately, Washington dropped the reception. The second was a deep pass off the fingertips on an over the shoulder pass.
|QB Robert Griffin, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 21 - 96 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 50 - 0|
III played the role of game manager as the Ravens relied on their ground attack to secure the win against the Steelers. The Ravens threw the ball only when needed and found mixed results with Griffin when they did. The heavy rain throughout the game likely played a factor in the Ravens game plan. Griffin made some key plays with his legs and was very effective as a runner. Robert Griffin
III and the Ravens ran the ball significantly more than they passed it and ran it with a variety of different players. Griffin found good success keeping the ball on read option plays. Griffin struggled to see and feel the pass rush coming at times showing a lack of pocket awareness. Griffin was sacked on 3rd and goal on the Ravens opening possession forcing a field goal attempt. The Ravens second drive stalled in the red zone after a few failed pass plays. The Ravens were happy to rely upon their defense, play the field position game, and kick field goals offensively. Robert Griffin
III threw an interception on a tipped pass on 4th down late in the game with the game already in hand.
|RB Gus Edwards, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 130 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets)|
played the role of lead back with Mark Ingram
out of line up. Edwards was outstanding. Edwards ran physical and picked up the tough yards running inside but also showed his breakaway speed and big play ability. Edwards did have a costly fumble but the Ravens coaches went back to him after the mistake. Edwards broke through a massive hole into the open field following nice blocks from Nick Boyle
and Willie Snead
. Edwards was brought down at the 4 yard line after a 38 yard run. On 3rd and 1 Edwards picked up 9 making another cut running behind Snead. Edwards made a nice cutback to find a hole for 14 yards. On the ensuing pay TJ Watt punched the ball out of Edwards hands as he crossed the line of scrimmage and the Steelers recovered. Edwards had a 15 yard run thanks to another nice cut back and Nick Boyle
getting a piece of 3 different defenders on the play.
|RB Justice Hill, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 39 - 1, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)|
played his best game of the season against the Steelers. Hill caught a pass in the flat on 3rd and 5 and made a man miss to pick up 10 yards. On the following play Hill ran through two tackles up the middle and slipped through a 3rd as he broke the plane for an impressive 8 yard touchdown. It was a continuation of the physical plays Hill made last week and it was one of his best runs of the season. Hill broke through an arm tackle at the line of scrimmage and found 13 yards.
|WR Willie Snead, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (5 targets)|
made some underneath catches and made some nice blocks in the run game. Snead made an 8 yard catch running a curl over the middle. Snead picked up 10 yards making another catch over the middle. Snead made a 4 yard catch underneath.
was a non factor as the Ravens went run heavy in the rain. Brown made an 8 yard catch running a quick out route. Brown picked up 7 yards on a screen pass.
|TE Hayden Hurst, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 35 - 0 (2 targets)|
was the Ravens leading receiver with a pair of nice catches. Hurst made a reaching one handed catch for 15 yards on a crossing route. Hurst made a 20 yard catch on 3rd and 12 running a deep in breaking route against zone coverage. Hurst did a nice job finding the soft spot in the coverage.