Trends Steelers need to avoid to get first Thanksgiving win
Finally, we come to the most recent Thanksgiving Day bout against the Ravens. This game is arguably the most applicable, as it is the most recent example and against the team, the Steelers will ultimately face off against this week. Both teams entered with the same record and were fighting for an edge in the AFC North that year. This game was the closest yet but still ended in a Steelers loss.
The Steelers offense was better than the Ravens, and both defenses were solid overall. Similar to 1998, this game looks like one that the Steelers should have won based on stats alone. The biggest issue was Justin Tucker, as he was the eventual cause of a loss. He connected on five field goals on the day which, along with an early touchdown pass, swung the game for the Ravens. The Steelers scored three times to their credit, but the classic “bend don’t break” defense failed. It did enough to prevent touchdowns yes, but the Ravens moved the ball well enough to still score via Tucker.
This game also has the distinction of being one of the dirtier ones from the Steelers. Mike Tomlin famously was standing close to the field of play on a kickoff return that should have been a touchdown which made Jacoby Jones lose his stride. Even with that and a strong second half, the Steelers still found themselves defeated after this game.
While none of these games will likely be a direct comparison from this Thursday, notice a lot of the trends that have appeared from these bouts. Even when the Steelers were favored, they still struggled on both sides of the field at times. They will be facing off against a unique talent in Lamar Jackson, meaning the defense needs to be on its toes. Most importantly, the Steelers can’t allow for the same issues that have haunted them on thanksgiving to reappear this year.