Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, left, paces the sideline in front of some of the defense during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
It was another classic Ravens vs. Steelers game. It came down to the team with the ball last and it was decided by a field goal. More than just a classic game between these two bitter rivals; it was a look at the past and possibly the future for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The black and gold got back to smash mouth football and while it may have been nail biting and nerve wracking, the result was a notch in the win
column. LeVeon Bell, the rookie sensation making only his third career start, brought back memories of the Steelers that used to run the ball successfully on a weekly basis. He bruised and battered the Ravens defense for 93 yards on only 19 carries. He showed an ability to find the holes and cut back through them for additional yards, something the other backs on this roster have been unable to do.
It wasn’t just about Bell however; the offensive line really played up to expectations and protected Big Ben all day long. He was sacked a few times, but overall the line kept him safe and clean, something that is a major key to the team’s potential success. When you can hold Terrelle Suggs to 1 sack and 1 QB hit and the Ravens team to 3 sacks and 4 QB hits, you did your job. Not to mention the Steelers were able to pound the ball on the ground for 141 yards, the most they’ve had in almost a calendar year.
To add to the “return” of the Steeler way, the defense played extremely well and aggressive. They failed to collect a turnover but they held the Ravens to field goals almost all game long. The most outstanding player on the field was far and away Lawrence Timmons as he boasted 17 tackles. That is an amazing feat that should not be overlooked. Troy Polamalu added 8 tackles and a little entertainment when he jumped over both the defensive and offensive lines trying to block a game tying extra point. The play resulted in a penalty but it was a true sign that Troy is back to his old form athletically.
It’s safe to say that LaMarr Woodley is back to old form too. He added 4 tackles and collected his team leading 5th sack. He’s been far more disruptive this season than the last two.
Smash mouth football, hard nosed defense and a low scoring win is reminiscent of the old Steelers. It’s also a hopeful glimpse into the re-born Steelers. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time after the 0-4 start. Thus far they have come off of that off week with a resurgence and a display of young talent. LeVeon Bell is clearly a key on the offense, Jarvis Jones (who missed yesterday’s game) is a play maker on defense, Shamarko Thomas the Steelers rookie safety added 7 tackles against the Ravens and appears to be a true force, Vince Williams, the rookie inside linebacker is now a starter and added 3 tackles of his own and it cannot be overlooked that Markus Wheaton should be returning to the team to take his role as the 4th wide out again soon.
The end result for the season is yet to be seen and there is a lot of football to be played but currently the team finds themselves on a two game winning streak and are within striking distance of the Ravens and Browns for second place in the division. One step at a time but things look a lot better in Pittsburgh than they did a mere 2 weeks ago.
NEWS, NOTES and SUPERLATIVES:
Game Ball: Lawrence Timmons-17 tackles, enough said.
Play of the Game: Emmaunel Sanders kickoff return for a touchdown that wasn’t. It turned out it wasn’t a touchdown but Sanders obtained great field position and enabled Big Ben and the offense to push the ball into game winning field goal range.
Questionable Coaching move: At the end of the first half the Ravens were content to let the Steelers run the clock out. Pittsburgh elected to throw the ball and Heath Miller fumbled inside the team’s own 50, enabling the Ravens to kick a field goal at the end of the half. Why not just run the ball and the clock along with it?
Notes: Jarvis Jones didn’t play due to concussion symptoms suffered in the Jets game. Marcus Gilbert left the game due to injury. Mike Adams played a significant number of downs as a tight end.
The Steelers ran 4 wildcat plays with LeVeon Bell in the QB position.
2-4, up next at Oakland
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com- Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.