NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 13 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Baltimore Ravens 19

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) celebrates a touchdown during the fourth quarter with offensive lineman John Leglue (77) and Dan Moore Jr. (65) and Najee Harris (22) against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers rebuffed a last-second two-point conversion attempt to escape for a nail-biting 20-19 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 13.

Pittsburgh’s dominance up front suffocated Baltimore’s offensive attack and helped preserve the Steelers' slim playoff chances as they improved to 6-5-1 on the season. Baltimore remains atop the AFC North despite falling to 8-4, as they now work to regain their status as the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed.

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Pittsburgh Steelers

Quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger bounced back from last week’s dismal performance to keep Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes alive, throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-31 passing in the win. After combining for seven turnover worthy plays over the past two contests, Roethlisberger was much more protective of the ball, registering just one in Sunday’s victory.

The former Pro Bowler found immense success getting the ball to his playmakers in space, as a season-high 69.9% of Roethlisberger’s yards came after the catch. Roethlisberger also thrived in play-action, completing seven of his nine attempts for 129 yards and one touchdown. The Steelers opted for play-action at their second-highest clip (31.3%) so far this season. 

Ben Roethlisberger | Week 13
Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 5/6 34 83.3% 0
Short (1-9) 14/15 133 93.3% 1
Medium (10-19) 1/2 40 50% 0
Long (20+) 1/6 29 33.3% 1
Running Backs

Najee Harris maintained his stranglehold over the Steelers' running back snaps, finishing with 107 total yards on 26 touches in the victory. Harris’ four first downs and five forced missed tackles led all ball-carriers despite averaging just 0.9 yards before contact.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 Wide receiver Diontae Johnson caught eight of his team-high 11 targets for 105 yards, finishing as the only Steelers pass-catcher to register over 52 receiving yards. Johnson was unsurprisingly dynamic with the ball in his hands, leading all Steelers in yards after the catch (53) and missed tackles forced on receptions (3).   

Tight end Pat Freiermuth continued what has been an excellent rookie season, reeling in three of his four targets for 26 yards in the win. Freiermuth finished third among all Pittsburgh receivers in both yards after contact (15) and yards per reception (8.7).

Offensive Line

The Steelers offensive line set the tone from the opening snap Sunday, conceding just five pressures and one sack in pass protection.  Four of the Steelers' five starting offensive lineman finished Sunday’s contest with zero pressures allowed; starting right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor conceded a unit-high two pressures. 

Defensive Line

Pittsburgh manhandled Baltimore up front for the entirety of Sunday’s contest, registering an astounding 26 unit-wide pressures and eight sacks in the victory. Edge defender T.J. Watt submitted possibly his most impressive performance so far this season, registering a season-high 11 pressures and four sacks in the win. 

Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Cameron Heyward 40 2 1
Alex Highsmith 35 3 0
T.J. Watt 34 11 4
Chris Wormley 33 6 3
Henry Mondeaux 16 2 0
Linebackers 

Joe Schobert led all Pittsburgh linebackers with seven tackles, averaging 4.7 yards of depth per tackle. The former Pro Bowler was less reliable in coverage, as he was responsible for six of the unit’s 10 allowed receptions. The group surrendered 116 yards through the air and five first downs.

Secondary 

The Steelers secondary held up well, conceding just 126 unit-wide yards on 11 receptions to finish with a combined passer rating allowed of 73.6. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon drew a team-high six targets yet allowed only three receptions for 37 yards, registering a forced incompletion and a dropped interception.

Player Coverage snaps  Receptions allowed/Targets Yards allowed Passer rating allowed
Minkah Fitzpatrick 47 2/5 22 14.2
Cameron Sutton 46 1/1 5 87.5
Terrell Edmunds 45 1/2 29 95.8
Ahkello Witherspoon 43 3/6 37 69.4

Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson was up and down, throwing for 253 yards on 23-of-37 attempts with one touchdown and one interception while adding 55 yards on the ground. Jackson was under pressure for the entirety of Sunday’s contest, succumbing to season-high seven sacks in the defeat. The former MVP was also uncharacteristically careless with the ball, finishing with a season-high three turnover-worthy plays.

Jackson was also forced to operate in the shorter and intermediate areas at a much higher rate than usual, as his average depth of target (7.3) was his second-lowest figure of the season, while his percentage of attempts beyond the first down marker (29.7%) was his lowest so far this year. One of the few silver linings was his proficiency as a rusher — Jackson averaged 6.9 yards per carry, his highest figure since Week 3. 

Lamar Jackson | Week 13
Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 5/5 35 100% 0
Short (1-9) 13/20 129 75% 0
Medium (10-19) 4/8 60 62.5% 1
Long (20+) 1/3 29 33.3% 0
Running Backs

Devonta Freeman thrived in his role as Baltimore’s lead back, racking up 97 total yards on 19 touches, including a rushing score midway through the second quarter. Freeman’s three forced missed tackles led all Baltimore ball-carriers, as the eight-year pro impressed as both a runner and receiver. 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Wide receiver Marquise Brown paced all Baltimore pass-catchers with 55 yards receiving, hauling in five of his seven targets. Brown maintained his role as the Ravens' primary downfield threat, leading all Baltimore wide receivers in explosive plays (2) and average depth of target (10.9).

Tight end Mark Andrews reeled in four of his team-high nine targets for 50 yards, finishing with a team-best three receiving first downs. The typically sure-handed Andrews suffered the rare drop in Sunday’s defeat, bringing his season drop total to just 3.

Offensive Line

Baltimore’s offensive line struggled to give Jackson time in the pocket Sunday, as the unit conceded 33 pressures and seven sacks in the defeat. Right tackle Tyre Phillips was especially liable in pass protection, allowing a team-high five pressures and one sack.

Defensive Line

Pittsburgh’s quick-strike passing attack negated the vast majority of Baltimore’s pass-rushing opportunities, as Ravens defensive linemen finished with a paltry two combined pressures. The unit was much stouter against the run, holding Steelers rushers to an average of just 3.4 yards per carry.

Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Calais Campbell 25 1 0
Odafe Oweh 21 0 0
Justin Houston 20 0 0
Tyus Bowser 18 1 0
Linebackers

Josh Bynes paced the unit with seven tackles, finishing with an average depth of tackle of 5.3  yards. He led a Baltimore linebacking unit that was rarely tested in coverage, as the group conceded just 26 receiving yards on two receptions.

Secondary

Baltimore’s secondary was not at its best Sunday, surrendering receptions on 17 of a unit-wide 24 targets for 185 yards to finish with a combined passer rating allowed of 121.0. Cornerback Anthony Averett drew a team-high nine targets, conceding six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Player Coverage snaps  Receptions allowed/Targets Yards allowed Passer rating allowed
Anthony Averett 31 6/9 108 144.7
Marlon Humphrey 30 5/6 43 136.1
Chuck Clark 27 2/3 9 70.1
Brandon Stephens 26 2/2 9 85.4
Jimmy Smith 19 2/3 16 79.9
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