2020 Steelers Season Recall: Unbeaten streak continues with win over Ravens in Week 8

Steel City Underground presents our 2020 Steelers Recall: a look back at Pittsburgh Steelers games and storylines from last season.

After a Week 7 win over the Tennessee Titans in a battle of the unbeaten, the Pittsburgh Steelers – with six wins and no losses – were given their original Week 7 opponents back, after COVID-19 rescheduling issues. The Steelers traveled to Baltimore to face their AFC North rival, the Ravens.

The Steelers got things started off hot when linebacker Robert Spillane, who made his start in place of injured Devin Bush just one week prior to the divisional game, jumped a pass route and handed Lamar Jackson his first career pick-six while scoring the first touchdown of the game for Pittsburgh. Spillane would lead the Steelers with 11 tackles and add a fumble recovery late in the game when Jackson was stripped on the Ravens’ second-to-last offensive drive of the game.

Baltimore responded to Pittsburgh’s early action by scoring 17 unanswered points. Wide receiver Miles Boykin and running back Gus Edwards both were successful in reaching the end zone. While Baltimore dialed up their offense, the Steelers struggled to get things clicking on that side of the ball in the first half. When the two teams entered the locker room at the half, the Ravens were up, 17-7, and the Steelers making adjustments.

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The Steelers came out in the third quarter with a lot more energy. Ben Roethlisberger, who’d completed just four-of-ten passes in the first half, started firing and found tight end Eric Ebron for an 18-yard touchdown that put the Steelers within three points. After the Steelers’ defense forced the Ravens’ offense to leave the field and punt, Roethlisberger drove his team down the field with a mix of plays that was capped off with a James Conner rushing touchdown for the lead.

After the Steelers punted early in the 3rd, the Ravens got the ball back starting at their 17-yard-line. Despite near-constant pressure on Jackson, the Ravens quarterback attempted a play-action fake to Mark Andrews that rookie edge Alex Highsmith sniffed out. Highsmith dropped into the zone and grabbed the ball for his first career interception, giving Pittsburgh even more momentum.

Although Baltimore outrushed Pittsburgh 265 yards to 48 yards, the Steelers’ defense logged four sacks that kept the game close. Some might say too close.

“It’s important that we don’t lie to ourselves. We did not function well in a lot of ways today.” – Mike Tomlin

In the final quarter, Jackson was able to connect with Marquise Brown that, with a Justin Tucker PAT, put the Ravens within distance to upset Pittsburgh’s unbeaten season to that point. Instead, Roethlisberger went to work via the pass to hit Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ebron, and Ray-Ray McCloud and move the ball down the field before hitting Claypool for an eight-yard touchdown. The Ravens attempted a similar drive but on fourth-and-three at the Pittsburgh eight-yard line, Jackson was hit on the quarterback keeper and lost the ball when Minkah Fitzpatrick and Isaiah Buggs made the hit; Spillane recovered the ball.

After being unable to take advantage of the turnover, the Ravens were given yet another opportunity to take the win. Pressing into the red zone after passes to J.K. Dobbins and a deep toss to Willie Snead, Fitzpatrick knocked down a pass intended for Snead at the Pittsburgh 23-yard line to seal the win for Pittsburgh.

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The Steelers became the only remaining undefeated team in the league and took a two-game lead over the Ravens in the AFC North.

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