Blown opportunities cost Steelers dearly in loss to Ravens
By Cory Rogers
Sunday’s 16-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium was a crushing blow to the Pittsburgh Steelers already slim playoff chances.
Pittsburgh (5-8) lost starting quarterback Kenny Pickett on its third offensive series of the game due to concussion protocol but still managed to win many of the key statistical battles to set themselves up for a possible victory.
The Steelers had more total net yards (329 to 309), more yards per play (6.2 to 5.1), more first downs (23 to 18), and more touchdowns scored (2 to 1) than the AFC North-leading Ravens (9-4), who were playing without starting quarterback Lamar Jackson due to a knee injury.
Steelers backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky was responsible for most of those statistics, and actually finished 22-of-30 for 276 yards and a TD pass to Pat Freiermuth to cut the Ravens’ lead to just two points with only 2:30 remaining. However, it was what Trubisky and the Steelers couldn’t do that resulted in another close loss.
It was the sixth time in eight defeats this season that Pittsburgh lost a game in which they were within at least a touchdown and a two-point conversion at the two-minute warning. And blown opportunities throughout this game were a big reason why.
Blown Opportunity #1: First Quarter, 8:20 Remaining, 0-0 Score
The Steelers’ run defense couldn’t stop the Ravens when it counted, both early and late (see below) in the game. In this instance, Baltimore basically showed a sign of disrespect to Pittsburgh by going for it on 4th-and-one from its own 34-yard line in a scoreless game midway through the first quarter.
After all, the Ravens were playing with their backup quarterback, and conventional wisdom would suggest that field position would be at a premium in this rivalry. But John Harbaugh’s gamble paid off with a first down and eventually led to a 42-yard Justin Tucker field goal that gave the Ravens a 3-0 lead.