Steel City Underground presents our 2017 Recall: a brief look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games from last season.
The Steelers had just dropped a bad game in an overtime loss on the road to the Chicago Bears a week earlier and now stood at 2-1 on the season. So far, they had issues in Week 1 playing against an inferior Cleveland Browns squad and lucked out by missing the Week 1 offensive player of the week, Sam Bradford, in their Week 2 win at home against the Vikings.
Thus, the stage was set for another disappointment. After all, the Steelers are thought to be a bad road team and typically "play down" to their opponents. That shouldn't have been the case, but after allowing Mike Glennon to defeat them a week earlier (by completing only 15 passes) there wasn't much optimism despite the Ravens relinquishing 44 points to the Jaguars seven days earlier.
The reason for that is because the Ravens had been owning the Steelers as of late. Pittsburgh had lost the previous four games at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and lost four of the last five games against their division rival. The Ravens should be prepared and seemingly always are.
This time, the tables would turn in the Steelers favor, but it was a slow start to get there. The first quarter was capped off with an incredible 16-play 10:23 possession by the Steelers offense, which ended disappointingly with a field goal following several self-inflicted penalties.
Yet, their offense played far superior to the Ravens, who punted four times, fumbled, and missed a field goal (unheard of with All-Pro Justin Tucker kicking) in the first half.
The Ravens would rebound after Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick a minute and a half into the third quarter, as Baltimore took advantage of the Steelers turnover and a Chris Boswell miss to put up ten points, closing the gap from 19 unanswered Steelers points to 19-9. (Baltimore would miss a two-point try following their TD.)
The Steelers defense would clamp down in the fourth quarter, however, picking off Ravens QB Joe Flacco twice and forcing a turnover on downs near the final seconds of regulation, as the Steelers would finally get a road win against their rivals with a final score of 26-9.
What Stood Out
Maybe he doesn't have it anymore?
Through four weeks, Ben Roethlisberger had not thrown for 300 or more yards. At the time, it was his tenth straight regular season game without hitting the 300 mark.
Le'Veon Bell crushed the Ravens for 186 total yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time in 2017 Bell had rushed for over 100 yards and only the second time getting more than 20 carries.
Steelers play possession game
In addition to the big 16-play drive to start the game, the Steelers held the ball for 35 minutes and 29 seconds on 12 possessions leaving Joe Flacco and the rest of the Ravens offense on the sidelines for a majority of the game.
Is Blitzburgh back?
The Steelers defense sacked Joe Flacco four times, bringing their total to 15 for the year. (Cam Heyward would have two of them.)
What's a catch?
This game will be remembered for mostly two specific reasons. The first is a play in which the referees determined Antonio Brown did not complete a catch, was not down by contact, and technically since the football never touches the ground, gave the Ravens an interception and the ball.
It wouldn't be the first time the referees would overturn a "catch" and screw the Steelers this season.
Play of the Game
The second memorable moment from this specific game came from JuJu Smith-Schuster's huge TD that put the Steelers up 19-0 before half. It wasn't the play that most fans remember, rather the celebration.
Smith-Schuster, the youngest player in the NFL at the time, breaks off of his route and frees himself for Ben Roethlisberger's pass, taking it to the house for the score. JuJu then winds up and lets out a "hadoken", which fans who follow cartoons, comic books, or video games were all too familiar with.
It was the first time anyone had seen something like this as the league relaxed celebration rules in 2017 and would be the first of many enjoyable moments from JuJu to come.
Here's a better look at the celebration:
Feeling like Goku 😂 pic.twitter.com/aaLErS7dra
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) October 2, 2017