Beleaguered Steelers Offensive Line Finally Puts Together Complete Performance
BALTIMORE — The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, in a must-win game to extend their season, but not only did the Steelers beat the Ravens, they beat the Ravens, particularly on offense, in a way that they haven’t in a very long time, especially along the offensive line.
The front five of the Steelers offensive line absolutely caved in the Baltimore defense on snap after snap, giving the Steelers running back duo of Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren plenty of room to run.
The Steelers finished with 198 rushing yards, their second0-highest total of the season, and they did it despite trailing for most of the game.
Pittsburgh has been able to lean on the ground game a good bit in the second half of the season, but most of those games came against NFL bottom feeders. In Week 14 against the Ravens, the Steelers were held to 3.3 yards per carry, one of their worst performances of the season.
“When you watch the tape from last game, they destroyed us,” right guard James Daniels said. “Their defensive line, their front seven, killed our offensive line.”
And they took that personally.
The Steelers came out from the first snap of the game and cleared gigantic holes in the center of the Baltimore defense. When they noticed that the Ravens seemed more worried about helping their banged up corners with George Pickens and Dionate Johnson down the field than Harris and Warren up front, they took advantage.
“We found out during the game that they were running a lot of two-high safety,” Daniels said. “So when you run two-high safety, that means the people in the box, the D line and the linebackers, they essentially have to play two gaps. When they have to do that, it’s very tough for their defense. It was a great job by our coaches recognizing that and calling the correct plays.”
With the Ravens light in the box, the Steelers stampeded to a win, and even on the final drive of the game, with the Steelers needing to score, Matt Canada was able to rely upon the running game to get the job done.
“If you look at where we were at before the bye week, and see where we’re at now, we knew it was possible, but at 2-6, it feels like world is caving in on you,” center Mason Cole said. “These guys just never quit, man. We keep fighting. We’re still in the hunt.”