Week 11 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 13, Baltimore Ravens 16
What you need to know
While Tommy Maddox had a better day statistically than he did in his last start versus Jacksonville, Oct. 16, where he coughed up four turnovers, his play was just as erratic. Maddox (19-39, 230 yards, one TD, one INT, one fumble lost) was indecisive and hesitant and the Ravens’ defense took advantage with six sacks, over a dozen hurries and nearly caused two or three more turnovers. His miscues included dropping a pump fake, underthrowing, overthrowing, using all three timeouts by the 14:00 mark in the fourth quarter, and thus, not being able to challenge a lost fumble a few minutes later, and he had several balls knocked out of his arm while throwing because of his inability to get rid of the ball fast enough.
The Steelers gained 69 first half yards. Maddox did rally the team in the fourth quarter, going four for four and found Willie Parker for an 11 yard touchdown pass. But that momentum quickly fizzled in overtime as he took two sacks and nearly tossed an interception.
The running game was just as ineffective in the first half, with only ten yards on eight carries. Willie Parker found some daylight in the second half, and he had a team high of 59 yards on 18 carries. He had two receptions for 11 yards each, one of which was the game tying touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter. Jerome Bettis had just two attempts, and was not used even in short yardage situations, specifically on a failed third down and one, followed by a fourth down and one, where they also came up short late in the third quarter in Baltimore territory.
Hines Ward was consistent as usual with six receptions and 81 yards. Heath Miller added five receptions for 37 yards, and Antwaan Randle El, who didn’t have a catch until the third quarter, chipped in with four for 50. Randle El did line up under center for a few gadget plays with some success. He completed a screen pass to Willie Parker and a shovel pass to Ward. He also ran the option on the aforementioned third and one in which he pitched to Parker for no gain.
Defensively the Steelers are 31st in the league on allowing third down conversions, and while they were able to get off the field with a more frequency, they still gave up key third downs, including on the winning drive in overtime, when Baltimore converted on third and ten, giving the Ravens new life, and eventually the win. Overall, however, they were still good, allowing 2.7 yards per rush and had five sacks and two turnovers. Ike Taylor had a game high ten tackles.
Like Maddox, Boller started out equally unimpressive, falling down on a hand off, and throwing an interception on his third attempt, but they continued to give him opportunities, and with every short completion, came more confidence. Boller finished 21 of 36 for 163 yards and a touchdown with an interception and 17 yards rushing. He found Randy Hymes for a second quarter touchdown and helped lead a ten play, 56 yard drive for a field goal before halftime.
It looked as if Boller might not pull his team through after getting sacked four times while the team gained just 41 total yards in the second half. He too was off target on many occasions, but in overtime he completed a key third down pass to Hymes and another to Heap to help set up the game winning 44 yard field goal by Matt Stover.
Chester Taylor subbed in for a struggling Jamal Lewis and came away with 59 yards rushing and 26 yards receiving. Once it became obvious that he was the more effective of the two, Taylor only exited the game for breathers, and a couple short yardage downs, a complete roll reversal as he typically will play on third downs and a spot series here and there. Lewis’ second quarter fumble would cost him playing time and he had just four carries through the rest of the game. He had 13 carries for 28 yards.
Mark Clayton, Derrick Mason, Todd Heap and Chester Taylor each had four receptions for 43, 42, 29 and 26 yards respectively, while Hymes had two for 15 and a touchdown. Clayton and Hymes were targeted most in the end zone and on longer range passes, while Mason and Heap collected short to middle gains underneath.
The Ravens sacked Maddox six times and had him second guessing himself throughout the game. Bart Scott had eight solo tackles and two sacks and Anthony Weaver had eight total tackles and two sacks. Terrell Suggs had an interception called back on a penalty, but got it back when he later intercepted a ball that bounced off Hines Ward’s foot at mid-field on the Steelers’ final possession in regulation with 1:14 remaining. They held Pittsburgh to 70 yards rushing.
What you ought to know
|QB Tommy Maddox, Pass: 19 - 36 - 230 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0|
If you have Maddox handcuffed to Charlie Batch who’s handcuffed to Ben Roethlisberger, your fingers are no doubt crossed that Roethlisberger will return next week at Indianapolis. While Maddox numbers could pass for efficient, he was anything but in a game that could have been much worse than the stats indicate. Aside from being off target more often than not, dropping pump fakes, having the ball knocked away during delivery three times, and nearly throwing two interceptions right to Ravens’ defenders, even some of his completions were poorly thrown passes. His 32 yard completion to a wide open Hines Ward, who had to stop and wait for the pass to get to him, erased what could have been an easy six points. He was at his best in hurry up mode when he completed four passes for 67 yards including an 11 yard game tying touchdown pass to Willie Parker with five minutes left in regulation. He was hurried quite a bit from a relentless Ravens’ defense, but Maddox’s indecisiveness also helped him get sacked six times. His knack for getting rid of the ball fast and with a sharp delivery, once his strength, is no longer evident.
Roethlisberger missed another game recovering from his knee surgery. Bill Cowher on whether or not Roethlisberger will be ready for a Monday night showdown in Indianapolis: “We’ll see.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Parker regained his starting role after missing a game with a sprained ankle. He and the entire RB staff struggled mightily in the first half as he had nine of the team’s ten yards rushing. He would do better with more carries in the second half, but not much better until he ripped off gains of nine and 14, to help set up his own 11 yard touchdown reception on the fourth quarter scoring drive, boosting his YPC average to 3.3.
The fullback had two receptions for 14 yards and dropped another short pass.
Haynes took pass in the flat for 17 yards and had zero yards on a third down draw play. He and Parker split third down duties.
Bettis had two second quarter carries, followed by none the rest of the game. He was not brought in on short yardage situations, nor was he used on a third down and one in Ravens territory, as the Steelers opted for a gadget option play with Randle El. They then ran play action on the subsequent fourth down that resulted in a sack.
After two successful games and one start, Staley was listed as inactive with Parker regaining his spot on top, with Bettis serving as the backup and short yardage runner.
Randle El didn’t see a pass thrown his way until the second half, but ended up with 50 yards on four receptions, including two for 41 yards on the Steelers touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. He was also listed as the number two quarterback behind Maddox, and he took three snaps from under center. He was two of two passing for 11 yards and ran an option play on third and one where he pitched to Parker for no gain. He did not attempt any rushes, and had just 12 punt return yards on four attempts.
Ward once again led the Steelers with 81 yards receiving, but he’ll most likely be remembered for the one he didn’t catch. On the Steelers’ final drive in regulation with the game tied, the Steelers were driving near midfield when Ward attempted to jump and collect a high pass from Maddox. The momentum of his hands pushed the ball down and he inadvertently kicked the ball high in the air and to his right, where a diving Terrell Suggs scooped it up for an interception. Ward had his best chance of scoring ruined by a severely underthrown ball, but he was able to stop in mid-route and catch it for 32 yards.
Wilson had one reception for 25 yards to the Ravens 48 yard line in overtime, but the drive stalled three plays later. He was targeted on consecutive plays in the second quarter, but was underthrown on one, and was missed wide and out of bounds on the other.
Morgan dropped his only targeted pass and was flagged for interference on the same play.
After he was only thrown to once last week, Miller caught five passes for 37 yards, including a 19 yarder early in the second quarter that helped set up Reed’s first field goal.
Reed booted field goals of 44 yards and 37 and he converted his lone extra point attempt.
After allowing Chester Taylor and Jamal Lewis to 77 first half rushing yards, the Ravens would finish with 109 total yards on the ground and 2.7 yards per carry and one fumble lost. Chris Kriewaldt had eight tackles in place of injured LB James Farrior (knee).
The Steelers eliminated the big play and could have held the Ravens scoreless had it not been for Randy Hymes’ one handed stab at a very high pass from Boller for their only touchdown. Ike Taylor had ten tackles and Pittsburgh sacked Boller five times. Deshea Townsend had an interception, a fumble recovery and three passes defended.
|QB Kyle Boller, Pass: 21 - 36 - 163 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 17 - 0|
Boller started off extremely slow, tripping on the team’s second play trying to hand off to Lewis, and throwing an interception right to a waiting Deshea Townsend, who had out positioned Derek Mason for the ball. In the second quarter Boller nearly fumbled the ball away on a pitch to Lewis from the one yard line, but replays showed that his knee was down after being contacted by a Steelers’ lineman. Two plays later, he tossed up a pass to 6’3 Randy Hymes, who pulled it down with one hand for a touchdown. Boller was inconsistent throughout the game, but not dangerous after the first couple of series. He checked down often for short passes to Todd Heap and Chester Taylor, and otherwise completed only out patterns between 10-17 yards. He was poised enough to hit Hymes for 12 yards on third and ten in overtime to keep their game winning drive alive.
Taylor emerged as the better running back and was rewarded more carries than starter Jamal Lewis. His 19 carries were the most he’s seen all year, and only the second time he has hit double digits attempts. He wasn’t always successful, but he ran harder and broke more tackles in gaining 59 yards. More importantly, he did not fumble. He had a long of 14 and another for 13, in which he broke two tackles and dragged two more defenders to the Steelers one yare line setting up Hymes’ touchdown catch in the second quarter. Taylor also had three kick returns for 101 yards including a 45 yard run back to midfield to start the Ravens’ second quarter touchdown drive.
With ten carries, 26 yards and a lost fumble in the first half, the Ravens sat Jamal Lewis for most of the second half in favor of Chester Taylor. Lewis did not run with imposing power, and rarely found open holes to exploit. He was, however, called on in overtime when the Ravens were trying to sure up much needed short and safe yards to shorten the distance of Matt Stover’s game winning 44 yard field goal. Lewis has not scored in six straight games.
The third string RB caught three short passes for eight yards.
Mason struggled by his own standards, but still had four receptions for 42 yards. He fell down in trying to battle Deshea Townsend for a ball that was intercepted in the first quarter, but later caught a 17 yarder on the first play of Baltimore’s touchdown drive in the second quarter.
The rookie had his best day since opening week. He led the team with 43 yards on four receptions. He was targeted twice in the end zone from 45 and 31 yards on Baltimore’s first field goal drive and nearly made a leaping catch on the former.
As tall as Hymes is (6’3), he was overthrown twice, once in the end zone and once on third and 17 when he was in good position to make the catch. He was nearly mistaken for 6’7 again in the end zone, but he jumped up and brought it down with one hand for a four yard touchdown in the second quarter. Hymes second biggest catch was a low pass from Boller on third and ten in overtime. He held on for 12 yards that moved the ball into Pittsburgh territory and the Ravens would win the game seven plays later.
Heap caught four passes for 29 yards. It was the eighth time in nine games in which he has had at least four catches. He had a long of 14 to put the Ravens in the red zone on their touchdown drive and a six yarder to put them in much better field goal range in overtime.
It wasn’t over until it was Stover, who kicked a 44 yard game winning field goal just inside the left goal post. He also nailed a 47 yarder, a 25 yard chip shot and an extra point all in the second quarter.
The Ravens became the first team to really shut down the Steelers running game this year, giving up 70 yards on the ground, and a most impressive ten yards in the first half. They snuffed out an obvious gadget play with Randle El as QB running an option on a third and one, and allowed the Steelers to 2.8 yards per carry. Bart Scott had a team high nine tackles (eight solo).
The Ravens were all over Tommy Maddox and took advantage of rookie Trai Essex, who was starting in place of Marvel Smith at left tackle. Baltimore had six sacks and twice as many hurries on Maddox, who only threw one interception, but it could have been two more if not for Ravens’ drops. Scott and Anthony Weaver each had two sacks and Tommy Polley had five tackles and a sack in place of injured Ray Lewis.