- John McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information
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When the Baltimore Ravens (12th) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (27th) meet this Sunday, it’ll be the first time since Week 16 of the 2009 season that the rivals will play when both outside the top 10 of ESPN.com’s NFL Power Rankings.
Although both offenses are being led by Super Bowl winners neither unit has effectively moved the ball this season.
Below is a look at how each offense has struggled this season:
Neither team can run
The Steelers and Ravens rank among the worst rushing teams in the NFL this season, as only the Jaguars are averaging fewer yards per rush.
Fewest Yards per Rush
The Steelers’ inability to run may not come as surprise. The team entered the season without a clear cut starter, with second-round draft pick Le’Veon Bell missing most of pre-season with a foot injury.
Both Rice and Pierce averaged at least 4.4 yards per rush last season, making their struggles more unlikely. This season, the duo is having a tough time even getting out of the backfield unscathed.
The Ravens have been contacted in the backfield on an NFL-high 34 rushing plays this season, which accounts for 22 percent of their total rushes. Last season the Ravens were hit in the backfield on 13 percent of their rushes.
The quick hits have contributed to the Ravens averaging 1.6 rush yards before first contact this season (31st), more than a yard worse than their 2.9 yard average last season.
A lack of run game hasn’t helped either team’s quarterbacks, but those aren’t the only problems on offense for each.
Flacco Targeting No. 2/3 Options
Last 2 Seasons
Torrey Smith still remains in Baltimore, but he has primarily been used as a deep threat. Since entering the NFL, Smith’s average target has been 17.7 yards downfield, highest in the NFL.
With few dependable options, Flacco has already targeted 13 different receivers this season, two more than all of last season (including playoffs).
Roethlisberger immobile and under pressure
Roethlisberger has always been susceptible to sacks in his career, but this season he has found himself under more pressure than usual.
Passing Under Duress
Roethlisberger Last 5 Seasons
Roethlisberger has been sacked or put under duress on 30 percent of his dropbacks this season, his highest rate in the last five seasons.
Unlike in years past, Roethlisberger hasn’t been able to escape the pocket and make plays.
Only 20 percent of his passes when under duress have been from outside the pocket (37 percent from 2009 to 2012), which has led to a diminished performance overall when under pressure.
When the Baltimore Ravens (12th) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (27th) meet this Sunday, it’ll be the first time since Week 16 of the 2009 season that the rivals will play when both outside the top 10 of ESPN.