We’ve already graded the offense for its effort in the Ravens improbable 23-20, overtime win at Pittsburgh. Now it’s time to grade the defense and special teams:
DEFENSIVE LINE: C+
The Ravens at times appeared to stop Le’Veon Bell inside, but he is a master at hesitation, patience and then hitting a hole late or changing direction. Bell would have been held under 100 yards if the game ended in regulation, but he finished with 129 yards on 22 carries. Brandon Williams finished with five tackles and Carl Davis continues to be an increasingly large part of the plan. He played 33 snaps at Pittsburgh, nearly twice as many as Timmy Jernigan.
The Ravens got pressure on Mike Vick, with four sacks, including two by rookie Za’Darius Smith on back-to-back plays. Daryl Smith finished with a game-high 13 tackles and a sack. The Ravens did a solid job in coverage and pursuit, which is one reason Bell was limited to 21 yards on seven receptions. Limiting his yardage after the catch was key. Tight end Heath Miller was held to one catch for 1 yard. Elvis Dumervil had six tackles and chased down Vick from behind for a sack, and he also was credited with the fourth-down stop in overtime when Vick tried to run for a first down.
The Ravens held Antonio Brown to 42 yards receiving, and granted, Vick being the quarterback had something to do with that. In fact, Vick’s best throw might have been a long pass in the end zone that went through Brown’s hands. There seemed to be a lot of room between Lardarius Webb and whoever he was covering. But the Ravens tackled better than they had in previous weeks. Will Hill finished with five tackles and made a great open-field stop on Antonio Brown for a 5-yard loss as Brown tried to reverse course. Cornerback Will Davis, making his Ravens debut after being acquired from the Dolphins two weeks ago, was a factor as well. He had a key third-down pass breakup just before the first Steelers missed field goal.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A-
What more can be said about Justin Tucker? He not only tied the game at the end of regulation, but his 52-yarder that won it is the longest kick ever made by an opponent at Heinz Field. Michael Campanaro had one punt return for 14 yards, and although he might have suffered a significant injury, he looks better and better as the punt returner. The only blemishes on the special teams unit were a failed fake field goal and a 29-yard punt return by Antonio Brown that gave the Steelers great field position in overtime.