The Steelers pulled off a 23-16 win against the Baltimore Ravens this week. Though it was just a one-score game, Pittsburgh really controlled the tempo in this one. It wasn't always pretty, but the Steelers got the job done on the road against their most threatening division rival. Here are my winners and losers for the Steelers week 9 match-up against the Ravens.
What can I say? James Conner's phenomenal play has been key to the Steelers offensive success this year. Forget about Le'Veon Bell - James Conner is his own animal. He compiled 107 rushing yards and added 56 receiving yards and a score in this one.
I could list them all here, but I'll save us some time and just say the o-line was great in this contest (as they really have been all season). They yet again paved the way for a 100-yard rusher and kept Ben clean in the pocket. They are performing as the best unit in the league right now, in my opinion.
Keith Butler and the defense
There were some notable players on defense like Mike Hilton and Sean Davis, but overall, the Steelers defense as a unit was surprisingly solid in this contest. They were able to hold Alex Collins and the Ravens to 3.8 yards-per-carry, and (though they failed to register a turnover) held Flacco to just over 200 yards and sacked him twice.
It wasn't the prettiest performance of Ben's career, but he got the job done. Though he completed just 28 of 47 passes, he was solid in the redzone with two touchdowns. His best play may have been taking a sack at the end of the game instead of forcing a throw, which kept the clock moving.
JuJu wasn't perfect. He dropped a big pass down the field and wasn't his usual self after the catch today (though he seemed to be nursing an injury). He did, however, come up big in the clutch with a couple key first down receptions on third down late in the game. JuJu caught 7 of 9 targets for 78 yards in this one.
The Steelers defense was solid, but Sensabaugh is clearly the weak link in the secondary. I'm nit-picking a bit in a game where the defense only allowed 209 passing yards, but against better opponents, his game needs to improve.
I won't try to be too hard on the rookie, but he wasn't quite in sync with Ben against the Ravens. Though targeted 5 times, he reeled in just 2 catches for 17 yards.
Burnett hasn't played a lot for the Steelers, and it shows. Though the former Packers safety appeared to have tight coverage on several pass plays, he gave up a huge catch down the field and had another crucial pass interference penalty in the end zone.
There wasn't a lot to complain about in this game, but Boswell's kicking has been more than concerning. He was 35 of 38 on field goal attempts last season, but this year is a different story. Boswell missed yet another extra point in this contest - bringing him to 4 missed PATs in the first 8 games of the season.