The Good, Bad, and Ugly column is a breakdown of several segments of each game into each of a grading category of "good", "bad", or "ugly". To get to the nitty gritty, Joe Kuzma dissects three moments from each game which could be best classified as each of those labels.
Good - 2:50 1st Quarter: 1-and-10 BLT 35
Heading into Sunday’s game many were concerned that JuJu Smith-Schuster wouldn’t even suit up for the game, as the Steelers wide receiver was battling a toe injury.
Old flames were reignited against Baltimore when a 5-play, 75-yard drive was capped off with a 35-yard pass between Rudolph and JuJu. The play looked like the JuJu of old, while the criticisms of not having Rudolph pass “beyond the line of scrimmage” were silenced throughout the game: this play itself traveled 15 yards downfield, while Smith-Schuster added another 20 yards after the catch for the score.
Bad - 7:14 1st Quarter: 1-and-10 PIT 12
The wildcat formation would return on the Steelers first play from scrimmage during their second possession of the game… and unlike the previous game against the Bengals, this wouldn’t be as successful on this occasion.
Jaylen Samuels lined up in the backfield, taking a direct snap and then rolled out to his right, looking to pass the football.
His duck of a wobbly four-yard throw landed in the arms of Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes, giving Baltimore the ball on the Steelers 15-yard line. The Ravens would score four plays later to go up 10-0 midway through the first quarter.
Ugly - 7:39 3rd Quarter: 3-and-11 PIT 12
No doubt you know which play this is, as it started out looking like more of Mason Rudolph’s heroics and ended with Ravens safety Earl Thomas knocking the Steelers quarterback out cold.
Rudolph, who escaped the pocket and completed a 26-yard pass to his former college teammate James Washington, would be hit by Thomas’ helmet nearly square in the jaw as he released the ball. The passer laid motionless for several minutes as players from both teams took a knee and fans joined them in their concern for Rudolph’s health.
Mason would be helped off the field on his own power, visibly shaken and in no condition to return to the game. The Ravens would be penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer, but Thomas would be permitted to remain in the game.
Ugly - 2:30 4th Quarter: 2-and-8 BLT 27
A bonus ugly from #TheRefsStink…
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson stepped back to pass and as Steelers LB Ola Adeniyi performs a textbook tackle on the elusive passer, almost seemingly a sack, Jackson got rid of the ball: for no gain to RB Mark Ingram.
Then a flag was thrown.
Sorry Steeler Nation was just tryna make a play. https://t.co/QaTqogMLci
— Olasunkanmi Adeniyi (@Love_Ola_9) October 6, 2019
Most in attendance felt it may have been a hold call as Adeniyi was shoved in the back as he got to Jackson, but instead, the referees called one of (and no this isn’t my bias showing) worst roughing the passer calls in the history of the game.
Rather than force a 3rd-and-8 from the Ravens 27, Baltimore marched up to their 42 with a new set of downs and their drive still alive…
One that would end with a game-tying field goal that sent everyone into overtime.
For all of the talk about coin toss decision or Smith-Schuster’s fumble in OT, there’s a strong possibility that none of those would’ve been discussed if this terrible call weren’t made. Beyond that, the Steelers may have also won the game.