PITTSBURGH — With a 3:40 p.m. kickoff on a weekday afternoon, there was plenty of weirdness built into the Steelers’ Week 12 game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Wednesday.
The Steelers added to it, as they muffed a punt, Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone, and the team’s receivers had a handful of key drops, several in the red zone.
But the Steelers leaned on their strong defense and got just enough production out of the offense to secure a 19-14 win over their AFC North rivals.
The Steelers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after a Joe Haden, but the most painful of Pittsburgh’s miscues let Baltimore, which was playing without over a dozen regulars due to a COVID-19 list, take an early lead.
Ray-Ray McCloud muffed a punt, giving Baltimore the ball at the Pittsburgh 16-yard line and the fill-in Ravens were able to punch it in. Running back Gus Edwards, who started with J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram both on the COVID-19 reserve list, scored from 1-yard out to give Baltimore a 7-6 lead.
The Steelers scuffled their way back into the lead on two short Chris Boswell field goals that were precipitated by red zone drops by the Steelers’ receivers.
The game remained 12-7 for most of the second and third quarters before the Steelers finally seemed to be able to break the game open late in the third, when Roethlisberger hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 1-yard score.
But Baltimore got right back into the game on a 70-yard strike from backup quarterback Trace McSorley to Marquise Brown, who beat Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick on his way into the end zone.
The Steelers struggled to run the ball all day, but needed to in the waning moments in order to run the clock out. Benny Snell had gains of 13 and seven yards to force the Ravens to burn their time outs and then converted a first down on 3rd and 1 with just over a minute to play to secure the victory.
Roethlisberger finished with 266 yards passing on 36 of 51 with one touchdown and one interception. Eric Ebron was his most prolific receiver, gaining 54 yards on seven catches. Chase Claypool had six for 52 and Diontae Johnson hauled in eight of his 13 targets for 46 yards.
The 11-0 Steelers will now have four days of rest and practice before hosting the Washington Football Team on Monday, Dec. 7.
Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns
PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.
In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.
Not the way we wanted the season to end but I am thankful to have been a part of this amazing ride! The Highsmith Family is proud to wear the Black & Gold and we look forward to more success in the future! Please pray for Alex as he gets an MRI tomorrow on his ankle! #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/JJA4PpZpvx
— Sam Highsmith (@SHighsmithClan) January 11, 2021
Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.
The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered an ACL injury that required surgery.
On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.
With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.
Mike Tomlin Doesn’t Regret Punt, Will Talk to Ben Roethlisberger About Future
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions from the media following his team’s shocking defeat at the hands of the Browns in the playoffs. Tomlin explained why he decided to punt on a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter while trailing by multiple scores. He also touched on the timeline for when he will talk to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about his future with the team.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Says He Doesn’t Regret ‘Browns Is the Browns’ Comment
PITTSBURGH — It was repeated so often in the five days between when JuJu Smith-Schuster said the phrase on Wednesday to Sunday night’s game at Heinz Field, that it nearly became the No. 1 talking point coming into the game.
“The Browns is the Browns.” Before the game, after the game and probably during the game, many of the Browns made it clear that they had taken exception to Smith-Schuster’s characterization of the team.
The Browns IS THE BROWNS!! 🌚
— Jedrick Wills Jr.®️++💕 (@JWills73) January 11, 2021
Smith-Schuster said after the game that he had no regrets about what he said.
“You know, I don’t regret what I said,” Smith-Schuster said. “I said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ They came out and they played a hell of a game. You know, there’s been games where we feel we lose them and today wasn’t our night and hopefully the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game.”