NFL Nation: 2013 Week 13 PIT at BAL Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Pittsburgh Steelers

November, 28, 2013

BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 22-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

What it means: The Steelers' most heartbreaking loss of the season also dropped them out of contention in the AFC North. At 5-7, the Steelers probably have to win their final four games to make the AFC playoffs as a wild-card team. The offense started slow but finished with a flourish and the defense played well enough for the Steelers to win. Who knows what the outcome may have been had a tying two-point conversion pass not gone through Emmanuel Sanders' hands? The last of a handful of Sanders' drops allowed the Ravens to escape with a two-point victory.

Stock watch: Special teams cost the Steelers a chance to even their record and sweep the Ravens for the first time since 2008. A botched field-goal attempt in the first quarter -- kicker Shaun Suisham appeared to be on a different snap count than everyone else -- cost the Steelers three points. It also gave the Ravens a short field that they turned into three points. In addition to that six-point swing, the Steelers gave up a 73-yard kickoff return that led to a Ravens field goal. And Suisham's feeble on-side kick attempt sealed the loss for the Steelers.

Best foot forward: Fans booed lustily when a shot of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin flashed on the M&T Bank Stadium scoreboard late in the late third quarter. The pro-Ravens crowd had good reason to jeer the seventh-year coach and not just because of their general dislike of the Steelers. Tomlin had his foot on the field right before Jacoby Jones raced past him on the way to a 73-yard kickoff return. Tomlin should have been hit with an unsportsmanlike penalty, and the non-call turned out to be significant as the Ravens had to settle for the third of Justin Tucker's four field goals.

Worilds brings more heat: With LaMarr Woodley again sidelined by a nagging calf injury, Jason Worilds excelled again at left outside linebacker. The fourth-year veteran continues to push his way into the Steelers' future plans -- and perhaps Woodley out of Pittsburgh. Worilds collected two sacks and made eight tackles, and that was just in the first half. Worilds may have been the best defensive player on the field, and he now leads the Steelers with six sacks. Woodley, who can't seem to stay on the field, has five sacks, and he is looking more and more like a candidate for the Steelers to part ways with after this season if they can re-sign Worilds, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

What's next: The Steelers get an extended break before returning to action Dec. 8 against the Dolphins at Heinz Field. The Dolphins got off to a promising start but their season has been engulfed in turmoil since the allegations of locker-room bullying turned into a national story. The Dolphins, who will be 6-6 at best after Sunday, haven't beaten the Steelers in Pittsburgh since 1990.

Rapid Reaction: Baltimore Ravens

November, 28, 2013

BALTIMORE -- A few thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 22-20 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

What it means: In a rivalry that has been defined by close finishes, the Ravens (6-6) came up big in a must-win game and took over sole possession of the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC. Baltimore ended the Steelers' three-game winning streak and split the season series with Pittsburgh (5-7). With their third win in four weeks, the Ravens closed to within 1 games of the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (7-4). Baltimore also evened its record for the first time since Week 6.

Game-saving stand: After allowing a 1-yard touchdown to Jerricho Cotchery, the Ravens broke up a game-tying two-point conversion with 63 seconds left in the game. Backup cornerback Chykie Brown had coverage on Emmanuel Sanders and didn't let him have a clear look at Ben Roethlisberger's pass to the end zone. It's the fifth straight meeting between the Ravens and Steelers decided by three or fewer points. This was redemption for a Ravens defense that allowed a game-winning drive in Pittsburgh as time expired last month.

Stock watch: Rising: Torrey Smith. The wide receiver scored Baltimore's only touchdown of the game when he caught a 7-yard pass in the end zone. It's his third touchdown in four games. Smith finished with five catches for 83 yards.

Where's the flag? Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 73 yards following the Steelers' touchdown in the third quarter. He would have run it back for a touchdown, but he was slowed by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who had his back turned to the play and was in the field of play. The Ravens eventually settled for a field goal on that drive.

Tucker for MVP: Kicker Justin Tucker is making a strong case to be the Ravens' Most Valuable Player. He kicked five field goals, hitting from 43, 34, 38, 45 and 48 yards, respectively. Tucker has made 27 straight field goals, which is the longest current streak in the NFL and second-longest in Ravens history.

Rough in red zone: The Ravens, who entered the game with the best red-zone defense in the NFL, gave up touchdowns on both drives inside their 20-yard line. Baltimore also allowed a one-yard touchdown to Le'Veon Bell. It was only the second rushing touchdown given up by the Ravens this season.

What's next: The Ravens wrap up their three-game homestand by playing the Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1) on Dec. 8.


Roster Advisor