BALTIMORE — The Pittsburgh Steelers know what they have to do: beat the Baltimore Ravens. That’s the last thing in their control for the team improve its chances of making the 2023 NFL playoffs. After that, all they can do is sit and watch, needing help from at least one other team on Saturday night or Sunday.
Pittsburgh Heads Home with Win, Wait to Playoff Hopes
Behind Najee Harris and a solid defensive performance, Pittsburgh will walk out of this one with a 17-10 victory over Baltimore. Harris stomped for over 100 yards for the second straight game. Markus Golden filled in well for an injured T.J. Watt, and now they will await their playoff hopes from here.
Chris Boswell Extends Lead
Chris Boswell nailed a chip shot field goal after Eric Rowe forced a fumble to give Pittsburgh a two-score lead. They continue to to gain a more comfortable lead and with just over three minutes left in the game, they know are in the driver’s seat to snatch this win and go to 10-7.
Eric Rowe Forces Massive Fumble
Eric Rowe, who has battled back into this game after suffering a neck injury, just forced a huge fumble on Gus Edwards. It’s slippery, but that punch worked to perfection, which Pittsburgh needed badly. Now, they are threatening in Baltimore territory with a chance to go up. Rowe got credited with the forced fumble while Markus Golden, who has applied plenty of pressure, was given the credit for the recovery.
Mason Rudolph, Diontae Johnson Connect for Splash, Steelers Lead
After three fumbles, one of which was recovered by the Ravens, Mason Rudolph atoned himself with a big strike to Diontae Johnson over the middle. The Steelers wide receiver caught it in stride and took off for a 71-yard touchdown, giving the Steelers the first big splash play of the game and a 14-7 lead after two quarters of not scoring.
TO. THE. HOUSE. 🙌 @Juiceup__3
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 6, 2024
T.J. Watt Snags Two More Sacks, Patrick Queen Down
In this one, T.J. Watt nabbed two more sacks on Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley. That extends his league lead for sacks. Watt wants to set some marquee marks with that one, which could continue to bolster his resume. Meanwhile, Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen looks to be sitting for the rest of this one. Trenton Simpson and Del’Shawn Phillips should seem more playing time moving forward in the middle of the Ravens’ defense.
Mason Rudolph Puts the Ball on the Ground, Tied at the Half
Mason Rudolph put the ball on the turf. Dan Moore Jr. and Broderick Jones both got beat, causing turnovers at different points in the drive. But they had the ball right back into field goal range before Rudolph tried to get a quick play off for one more chance at the end zone. Instead, the Ravens beat Moore badly off the edge and recovered the fumble. As such, the Steelers will come away with zero points on that drive and head into the half tied at seven. It should be more than that. The defense has played well, sans one sloppy drive. Pittsburgh’s run game is averaging five yards per carry. They’ve had chances.
But a fumble by Warren after a Melvin Gordon fumble, this Rudolph fumble, and some costly errors have hurt the Steelers all evening. That’s why this game is not a cruise for them.
Isaiah Likely Punches Ravens to Even Game
The Ravens have responded on three huge plays to crack through the Steelers defense. On 3rd and 9, Huntley hit Laquon Treadwell for a 16-yard gain. Following that, Gus Edwards busted through the line and got 29 yards on an explosive play. Two plays late, Isaiah Likely would run Patrick Peterson over and go for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 6, 2024
Pittsburgh has had chances to respond, but the Ravens have kept at it, and finally broke through on their offense. Following this, Godwin Igwebuike made a smart play to get Baltimore called for an out of bounds kick, and so Pittsburgh takes over on their own 40-yard line.
Mark Robinson Gets the Game’s First Turnover
In a game where it’s going to be easy to drop the ball anywhere, considering the conditions, Mark Robinson purely forced a fumble from Baltimore Ravens running back Melvin Gordon III in the second quarter. Gordon was holding on tight, but Robinson punched it out and Larry Ogunjobi came away with it.
Robinson also sacked Tyler Huntley on the following series. A strong showing for the second-year linebacker.
Isaac Seumalo Clears Way for Najee Harris Touchdown
Steelers left guard Isaac Seumalo may be their best offensive lineman, but he is not known for serving pancakes. But Justin Madubuike found that out on Saturday
Seumalo driving a man into the ground lolpic.twitter.com/yYpCk08jw8
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 6, 2024
The Steelers willed their way down the field the entire drive through the running game. Najee Harris ran for a six-yard touchdown with excellent balance and vision while Seumalo cleared a lane. Working as a pseudo fullback, Allen Robinson kicked out his defender to give a clear lane on top of that. By the end, the Steelers had gone 76 yards on 12 plays, elapsing over seven minutes of game time. It was an old, smash-mouth football that they are known for and have embraced over the last few weeks. That all ended up with Pittsburgh taking a 7-0 lead.
Ravens Star LB Roquan Smith to Sit
The Ravens listed seven inactives — Lamar Jackson, Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, Kyle Hamilton, Malik Harrison, Kevin Zeitler, and Marlon Humphrey. But others will not play, too. In warmups, the Ravens did not have Roquan Smith in their warmup lines; instead, they opted to go with the versatile Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy is a spiritual leader of the team who has gone to many playoffs and should be expected to have a significant presence in the game.
STEELERS-RAVENS PREGAME STORYLINES
Here’s the stories we’re following in advance of kickoff: