In a game in which both teams were short-handed and appeared rusty, the Pittsburgh Steelers held on Wednesday afternoon to stay unbeaten with a 19-14 win over the visiting Baltimore Ravens.
The teams remained within a touchdown of each other until Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdown pass to Juju Smith-Schuster early in the fourth quarter gave Pittsburgh (11-0) a 19-7 lead, the eventual winning points.
The loss dealt a blow to the playoff chances of Baltimore (6-5).
Originally scheduled for Thanksgiving, the game was postponed three times because of COVID-19 issues with both teams. Several players from both sides sat out while on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, most prominently Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Roethlisberger was 36 of 51 for 266 yards with an interception and the touchdown.
Robert Griffin III, starting for Jackson, was 7 of 12 for 33 yards and an interception by Joe Haden, who returned it for a touchdown. Gus Edwards had a touchdown run for the Ravens.
Griffin spent the fourth quarter with his left leg on ice. Trace McSorley stepped in, going 2 of 6 for 77 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown to Marquise Brown to make it close.
The early part of the game was sloppy, including four turnovers in the first quarter.
Pittsburgh’s Vince Williams recovered a fumbled handoff for the first turnover.
The Steelers opted against a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-goal from the Ravens 1, but Roethlisberger’s toss under pressure was picked off by Tyus Bowser.
On a third-down play, Pittsburgh’s Haden stepped in front of receiver James Proche II to intercept Griffin and return the ball 14 yards for a touchdown. Chris Boswell missed the extra point, leaving the Steelers with a 6-0 lead.
The Ravens offense promptly experienced a quick three and out, but Pittsburgh returner Ray-Ray McCloud muffed the punt, and Baltimore’s Anthony Levine recovered at the Steelers 16-yard line. That led to Edwards’ 1-yard touchdown run up the middle for a 7-6 Ravens lead with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Boswell made field goals of 25 and 27 yards, giving Pittsburgh a 12-7 halftime lead.
A 12-play, 61-yard drive that started in the third quarter ended with Smith-Schuster’s 1-yard touchdown catch at the right edge of the end zone to give the Steelers the 12-point fourth-quarter margin.
McSorley’s first career touchdown pass brought the Ravens to within 19-14 with 2:58 left, but the Steelers held on by converting three first downs.
–Field Level Media