Thanksgiving served Baltimore well, as the Ravens beat the Steelers, 22-20. The Ravens are now back in the hunt for the AFC North at 6-6, just one game behind the Bengals for the division lead and in the final wild card spot heading into Week 13's weekend slate of games. They will be nipping at the Bengals' heels down the season's home stretch.
The Ravens kicked off to the Steelers to start the Thanksgiving battle between AFC North rivals. After a quick three-and-out, a scuffle broke out just over a minute into the game. Soon after, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a 55-yard bomb to Torrey Smith to get to the one-yard line in the red zone. Smith then made a grab on third down to for a seven-yard touchdown, following a sack on Flacco, to the put the Ravens up, 7-0.
The Steelers started the game with five straight runs before quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit wide receiver Antonio Brown on a slant for a first down. The Steelers were able to move the ball on their second drive, but they stalled around midfield and were forced to punt again.
Pittsburgh would look to trick the Ravens in the second quarter. The Steelers botched a fake field goal by Shaun Suisham and gave the Ravens great field position midway through the quarter. The failure to convert the fake came after a pretty crafty drive by Roethlisberger. On the drive, Roethlisberger kept the Steelers going with his legs:
But Shaun Suisham is no Ben Roethlisberger:
The Ravens got great field positioning following the blooper by Suisham, which led to a 43-yard field goal by Justin Tucker. The kick brought the Ravens lead to 10-0 late in the second quarter. The Ravens would later get back the ball to close the half, but was booed by the crowd for not attempting a drive that would have led to a field goal attempt. Baltimore went to halftime with a two-score lead.
After halftime, the Ravens got the ball back and proceeded to orchestrate a dominant drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock and led to a 34-yard field goal by Tucker, his 24th-straight made attempt. The Baltimore lead was extended to 13-0 with nine minutes left in the third quarter.
The Steelers answered back with a Roethlisberger touchdown throw to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. A massive 43-yard run from rookie running back Le'Veon Bell put the Steelers in the red zone and Pittsburgh was able to capitalize with their first score of the game. The score and an extra point reduced the Ravens lead to six at 13-7 towards the end of the third quarter.
The Ravens' Jacoby Jones nearly ran back a kick return for a touchdown after the Steelers score, but Pittsburgh cornerback Cortez Allen was just able to stop him within the red zone, possibly due to head coach Mike Tomlin conveniently standing too close to the field. The 73-yard run back gave the Ravens the momentum again as they scored on another field goal by Tucker (after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by running back Ray Rice). The touchdown and an extra point gave Baltimore a 16-7 lead.
The Ravens added another field goal at the start of the fourth quarter after another stalled drive by the Steelers. The 45-yard field goal was Tucker's 26th-straight made attempt. The Ravens led 19-7 with just over 14 minutes left in the game.
The Steelers finally scored again after a rather long drive with a rushing touchdown by Bell. Roethlisberger moved the ball with quick passes and spread the ball on the drive. The Ravens led was cut to five with a score of 19-14 in the middle of the final quarter.
The Ravens responded with a fifth field goal from Tucker. The 5-of-5 performance of the kicker from Texas brought the Ravens lead to eight with a score of 22-14. The score forced the Steelers to score a touchdown and convert a two-point conversion with less than six minutes left in the game.
The Steelers were able to answer with a touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery after a score was called back on a Bell rush. The rookie lost his helmet prior to going into the end zone and was injured on the play. The Steelers failed to convert the two-point conversion and an onside kick, which gave the Ravens the 22-20 lead.
Fantasy Studs and Duds
Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith had 93 yards receiving and a touchdown in the game. Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker made five field goals and an extra point.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell collected 136 total yards and a touchdown. Pittsburgh wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had 43 yards and one touchdown.
Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum left the game with a right knee injury. Backup tackle Mike Adams also left the game with a leg injury. Running back Le'Veon Bell suffered a head injury late in the game.
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered an apparent back injury.
Did They Cover?
The Ravens were 3-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com, so they covered the spread.
The Ravens will host the Vikings in Baltimore on Dec. 8.
The Steelers will host the Dolphins in Pittsburgh on Dec. 8.