Ravens at Steelers: 3 Things to Keep an Eye On

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By: CJ Lester, @CJLester58
SteelerNation.com

 

Week 11 has come and gone and the Pittsburgh Steelers moved to 10-0 on the season after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-3, which seems like forever ago. Despite not putting up points until the 2nd quarter, the Steelers played well. Jacksonville took a 3-0 lead on their first drive and failed to score again the rest of the game. Ben Roethlisberger completed 32 of 46 passes for 267 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. James Conner had 13 rushing attempts for 89 yards as the Steelers offense was able to reach the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time since Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. Diontae Johnson had a second consecutive game of 100+ receiving yards. He caught 12 receptions for 111 yards. Defensively, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds intercepted 2 passes a piece on the day. The Steelers keep pushing forward in the season of the unknown due to the pandemic we are currently facing. We have reached the day before the game, after a couple of postponements. Tomorrow night, the Steelers take on their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens. The game was originally scheduled to take place on Thanksgiving night, then Sunday afternoon, and finally, Tuesday night due to a major COVID-19 outbreak within the Ravens organization. The Steelers also had a few players placed on the COVID-19/Reserve List. Conner, Stephon Tuitt, Isaiah Buggs, and Jerald Hawkins were all placed on the list this past week. Before we take a deeper look into this rare Tuesday Night Football matchup, let’s review the Steelers last matchup with the Jaguars.

 

Last week in review

The three things I noted that we should keep an eye on last week were:

 

  1. Again, Hey Rookie, Welcome to the NFL!

The Steelers took on a rookie quarterback for the second week in a row this week. This Steelers defense has the ability to disguise coverages and send pressure from a variety of position groups, which can be a nightmare to face for any quarterback, but especially young and inexperienced quarterbacks. Jaguars QB Jake Luton struggled heavily the entire game. Luton finished the game going 16 of 37 for 151 yards and 4 interceptions. The Steelers defense registered 18 pressures, 7 QB hits, and 2 sacks on the day. It seems that having a 6th round rookie quarterback throw 37 passes on the day probably wasn’t the best game plan for the Jaguars, especially against the Steelers.

  1. Create Turnovers, don’t let the Jaguars Control the Tempo!

There really isn’t too much to be said here. The Steelers were able to pick off 4 of Luton’s passes. The Steelers safeties, Fitzpatrick and Edmunds, both intercepted two passes. The 4 interceptions by the defense helped the Steelers completely dominate the game’s time of possession. The Steelers controlled the ball for 36 minutes even after the slow start.

  1. Special Teams Unit Play Disciplined

After giving up a few huge special teams plays the past couple of weeks, the Steelers special teams unit did in fact play more disciplined on Sunday. The Jaguars shifty return man, WR Keelan Cole Sr., was held to 2 punt returns for 10 yards total. After taking the 3-0 lead on their first drive, the Jaguars did try to catch the Steelers kick return team off guard. The Jaguars attempted a surprise onside kick with Cole, which Steelers S/LB Marcus Allen was ready for!

 

Let’s take a look at 3 things we should watch for in Week 12 against the Ravens:

 

  1.  Stop the Run!

In the first matchup between these two teams, the Steelers struggled heavily with the Ravens running game. The Ravens rushed for 265 yards on 47 carries with three players getting 15 carries or more. The Steelers have to be ready to stop the run, even without their three most effective rushers. The Ravens will be without Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and JK Dobbins with all three players, among others, being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week. Ingram didn’t play in the first matchup earlier this month due to injury, but Dobbins gashed the Steelers for 113 yards. It will be next man up for the Ravens at the running back and quarterback positions and Gus Edwards is more than capable. In the first matchup, Edwards totaled 87 yards on 16 carries. Neutralizing the Ravens running game has to be a point of emphasis for the Steelers defense this week no matter who is running the ball. We also can’t forget that Robert Griffin III is a mobile quarterback as well, of course not as dynamic as Jackson, but a capable runner at the quarterback position. As far as the Steelers defense, it will be next man with Tuitt ineligible to play this week. I expect to see Chris Wormley get the start in place of Tuitt, as he will get the chance to take on the team that drafted him for the first time.

  1. Continued Use of 4 and 5 wide receiver sets

In the first matchup against the Ravens, the Steelers offense just couldn’t seem to get things going. That was until the second half when the Steelers decided to spread things out with 4 and 5 wide sets. After that game, the locker room echoed that Roethlisberger was playing “backyard football,” making things up based on what the defense was throwing at them. Look for the Steelers to employ 4 and 5 sets early on in the game to take advantage of mismatches across the board.

  1. Jump Out to an Early Lead, Force the Ravens to Pass

If the Steelers are going to push to 11-0 on the season tomorrow night, the offense cannot start slow as they have the past couple of weeks. They need to jump out to an early lead and force the Ravens to pass the football. The Ravens rank 31st in the NFL in passing yards per game with averaging a little over 183 yards per game. The Ravens just cannot seem to win games when they are forced to come from behind. This needs to be emphasized even more so now that Griffin III is filling in as QB1. The Steelers need to force the Ravens back up to have to put the game on his shoulders. The Steelers defense averages 2 takeaways per game on the season and are going to be opportunistic this Tuesday night as well.

 

What do you think, Steeler Nation? What should we watch for in Week 12 against the Ravens? Sound off in the comment section below, or on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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