This is a fun game to re-live.
The Ravens pulled off the 20-17 upset victory over the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium, and they played perhaps their best overall game of the season.
Baltimore found a way to stop Pittsburgh's potent offense, and the Ravens had success moving the ball on the ground and through the air.
Here's a breakdown of some key plays from the game and other points you may have missed. (All of these plays were viewed using NFL Game Pass, which is available for fans to purchase).
Osemele Pummels Harrison
Ravens left tackle Kelechi Osemele clearly wasn't happy when Steelers defender James Harrison dove at Ryan Mallett's legs early in the third quarter. Harrison convinced the officials to pick up the flag for a low hit by arguing he was blocked into Mallett, and Osemele clearly wasn't happy about that decision. On the next play, Osemele buried Harrison into the turf with a pancake block in pass protection. The block was clean and legal, but several Steelers players got in Osemele's face after the play. Things always get a little chippy when the Ravens and Steelers face off, and this sequence is a perfect example.
Jensen Steps Up At Left Guard
Much has been made about Osemele's audition at left tackle over the last quarter of the season, but people have overlooked the fact that Ryan Jensen has also been given his shot to start at left guard. The second-year player has started the last five games and has made significant progress over that stretch. Jensen was the highest-graded offensive lineman in the NFL this week by Pro Football Focus, and the only players in the league rated higher than him were Pro Bowl defensive linemen J.J. Watt, Aaron Donald and Kawann Short. Jensen was particularly bruising as a run blocker, and he has made a case for himself to permanently step into the starting lineup next year.
What makes Jensen's performance even more impressive is that it primarily came against defensive end Cameron Heyward, who has established himself as one of the league's premier defensive ends. Jensen got the better of Heyward throughout the game, including the clips below.
Breakdown Of Givens Catch
The award for best throw of the day belongs to Mallett for his 39-yard strike to wide receiver Chris Givens in the fourth quarter. The pass jump-started a critical touchdown drive after the Steelers had cut the lead to three points in the second half. Mallett hit Givens perfectly in stride down the sidelines, and the pass is even more impressive when watching it on film. Mallett released the pass before Givens even had a step on the defensive back, and he led the receiver by about 20 yards on the throw. He also managed to deliver the pass in a tight window as the safety was running in Givens' direction from his post in the middle of the field. Here's a screen shot of the field just before Mallett released, and Givens caught the ball at Pittsburgh's 40-yard line.
Play-Action Set Up Juszczyk's Catch
This is the definition of selling the play-action. The Ravens had success running the ball with Buck Allen and Terrance West throughout the game, and the Steelers bit hard on a key play-action fake in the fourth quarter. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk sold the fake to Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, and then just ran right past him to get wide open in the second level. Mallett and West both sold the fake as well, and then Mallett delivered the pass to wide-open Juszczyk for a 34-yard gain that set up a touchdown.
Don't Block Upshaw With Tight Ends
The most notable play of the afternoon for outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw was unfortunately his offsides penalty that wiped away a 101-yard pick-six by cornerback Jimmy Smith. The play overshadowed an otherwise impressive game for Upshaw, who was the team's top-graded defender by Pro Football Focus. Upshaw was a dominant edge setter against the run and he also came up with a key sack late in the fourth quarter. Upshaw can absolutely abuse tight ends at the line of scrimmage when they're left to block him, and he showed that on this fourth-down stop against Pittsburgh on the game's opening drive. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith also deserves credit for a great read on the play.