The Pittsburgh Steelers are determined to keep the Baltimore Ravens from repeating as AFC North champions. The Steelers remained perfect Sunday, narrowly beating the Ravens 28-24 in one of the best games of the season.
In typical AFC North fashion, the contest was a physical, back-and-forth affair. Pittsburgh looked strong early, with linebacker Robert Spillane picking off Lamar Jackson on his second pass attempt of the day and returning it for a touchdown. Jackson responded to that pick well, throwing a touchdown to Miles Boykin on the next drive to tie the game.
That sequence turned out to be a microcosm of the game. Both teams kept battling back, never allowing the game to get out of hand. While the Steelers pulled things out in the end, it wasn’t a perfect game for their offense.
Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t seem to get anything going early and the Steelers trailed 17-7 at halftime. Roethlisberger came alive in the third quarter, with an early touchdown pass to Eric Ebron bringing the Steelers within three points, and they took the lead later in the quarter on a touchdown run from James Conner.
Jackson led the Ravens down the field for another score to go up 24-21. With 7:32 remaining, Roethlisberger found Chase Claypool for an 8-yard touchdown, which accounted for the final score.
Steelers defense keeps Lamar Jackson in check late
With plenty of time left in the game after that score, it was up to the Steelers’ defense to prevent Jackson from pulling out a win. Jackson once again led the Ravens down the field, but the drive stalled out in the red zone. With two minutes to play, the Ravens went for it on fourth-and-3 from the 8-yard line, and the Steelers stopped Jackson short of the first down.
While it looked like that play might end the game, Baltimore got the ball back with 59 seconds. On fourth-and-2, Jackson hit Willie Snead with a 32-yard pass, putting the Ravens on Pittsburgh’s 23-yard line. On the game’s final play, Jackson fired another pass to Snead in the end zone, but the ball was batted away.
Keeping Jackson in check proved to be crucial for Pittsburgh. Jackson finished the contest with 208 passing yards, 65 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but couldn’t find his usual magic when the Ravens needed it most. Jackson also turned the ball over three times against the Steelers, throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles.
Steelers win could determine winner of AFC North
With the win, the Steelers take control of the AFC North. Coming into the contest, the 5-1 Ravens trailed the 6-0 Steelers by one game in the division. The victory gives the Steelers a significant edge for the AFC North. It also gives them the early edge on the Ravens in the head-to-head matchup.
The two teams will play again in Week 12. That game should have massive implications on the AFC playoff race.
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