By Danny Cox
Both the Steelers and the Ravens pretty much knew that this would be as close to an elimination game as humanly possible in the AFC, and it was a must-win situation for both. When all was said and done – and there was a lot that went on – the Baltimore Ravens pulled out a big victory over the PIttsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving, and it was a weird one.
John Harbaugh had a good idea of what he wanted to do – that was pass the ball – and that’s just what he did. It has been virtually the same game plan all season since the Ravens just can’t get the running game going even though they’ve got Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce back there.
Somehow, the Ravens were able to overcome nine big penalties for 55 yards and keep the Steelers at bay. This was just a weird game overall and it was very nit-picky as the first quarter alone had three fights break out so neither team was really being controlled at all.
Well, Joe Flacco was the offense once again as he completed 24 of 35 for 251 yards and one touchdown. He didn’t turn the ball over and was sacked only twice. Torrey Smith caught the bulk of the yardage as he pulled in 93 on six receptions and the lone touchdown for Baltimore.
For a while in the first quarter, it seemed as if the running game would get going as Pierce found a few holes and got around the end of the line well, too. From there, the rushing attack just died again and Pierce, Rice, and Flacco combined for a mere 74 yards.
There were not a lot of yards given up by the Ravens defense, but they failed to commit a turnover and didn’t register a single sack either. Looking at the final drive by the Steelers, they let Pittsburgh get into the end zone three times on five plays, but two of the scores ended up being called back.
That final touchdown by Pittsburgh was also given way too easily and on a totally busted coverage play by the Ravens. Throughout the first half, it almost looked like a Ravens defense of old, but they just disappeared and gassed out for the last quarter and a half. It was pretty while it lasted though.
It is highly evident that Jacoby Jones is back, and it showed in his two kickoff returns of 73 and 31 yards. It almost looked as if he was headed for a touchdown on his long return, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was actually standing on the field and distracted Jones to the point where he had to slow down and got tackled from behind. It was truly one of the weirdest plays ever.
Justin Tucker had his work cut out for him and he completely stepped up to the challenge. He attempted five field goals and nailed every single one of them, with his longest proving to be the game-winner.
Tucker’s shortest was 34 yards and three of his made field goals were over 43 yards.
For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.