With two division matchups looming, the Baltimore Ravens welcomed the Pittsburgh Steelers to M&T Bank Stadium with much of their 2018 season on the line.
After dropping their last two games, a division win at home would have provided a much-needed confidence boost for the Ravens. But after 60 minutes of physicality, the Ravens were left with more questions than answers.
Lamar Jackson continued to put his versatility on display, Steelers running back James Conner showed why the Steelers are no longer concerned about Le'Veon Bell and the Ravens defense couldn't stop the Steelers on third down.
Here's what you need to know from the Ravens' 23-16 loss to the Steelers.
— Ravens-Steelers games are always interesting, but the most interesting play of the game happened between Ben Roethlisberger and Eric Weddle. Facing a fourth down, the Steelers kept their offense on the field but pulled some trickery when Big Ben punted the ball. Safety Eric Weddle saw it coming and was able to return it. You read that right. Roethlisberger punted the ball, Weddle returned it.
— We knew we'd have to keep an eye on Steelers running back James Conner all afternoon, and on their first drive he already had more rushing yards than he did all of Week 4 (19). The AFC Offensive Player of the Month made the Ravens' defenders look like children at times and finished the day with 24 rushing attempts for 107 yards averaging 4.5 yards-per-carry and 56 receiving yards and one touchdown.
— Joe Flacco's day didn't get off to a strong start. On a third down and with Lamar Jackson in at receiver, the QB overlooked a wide-open Jackson in the end zone instead of throwing to John Brown in double coverage. What would have been an easy touchdown turned into a field goal attempt from Justin Tucker. We're sure Flacco will be reviewing that play a lot in film session this week.
Lamar Jackson is wide open for an easy TD but I’m gonna throw it into double coverage. pic.twitter.com/xAcDTYvof0— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 4, 2018
— The Ravens' offensive woes continued against the Steelers going 4-for-12 on third downs and finishing the day with 268 net yards.
During the second quarter with the Ravens facing a third down in the red zone, a questionable play call had Lamar Jackson tackled for a loss, and prior to that play, Flacco's pass to Michael Crabtree was ever so slightly overthrown. If mistakes like these could have been corrected, the Ravens' season would be a different story.
Having a banged up offensive line didn't help them either. Patrick Eluemunor, who was starting at left tackle for the first time since college, was hit with a false start and a holding penalty all in one drive.
— Third down conversions were one of many problems for the Ravens' defense Sunday. The Steelers converted 10-of-16 third down attempts (63%) and were 3-for-4 in the red zone. The men in black and yellow also held 36 minutes and 29 seconds of possession opposed to the Ravens' 23 minutes and 21 seconds.
— The Ravens' first touchdown of the game didn't come until late in the third quarter. It took 11 plays, 75 yards and 3 minutes and 50 seconds for a one-yard touchdown run from Alex Collins to put the Ravens down by seven. The defense followed up on that much-needed drive with their first, and much-needed, three and out.
— The hearts of Steelers fans everywhere dropped when Big Ben dropped after being tackled to the sideline by linebacker Za'Darius Smith in the fourth. Backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs then took over, throwing a 23-yard completion. Big Ben only missed a play and led his team to the red zone before cornerback Jimmy Smith broke up the QB's pass to Antonio Brown forcing a field goal. Postgame, Roethlisberger said he just had the wind knocked out of him.
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