John Harbaugh, Ravens
Head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens reacts against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images


  • The Steelers pulled off a comeback victory in Week 17 to keep their playoff hopes alive
  • For the Ravens, it was another disappointing outing on offense
  • Their success will hinge on whether the offense can be fixed entering Week 18

The Baltimore Ravens entered their Week 17 matchup with eternal rivals Pittsburgh Steelers on New Year's Day with hope in their eyes as they sought to remain in contention for the AFC North title which has eluded them since the 2019 season.

As football fans expected of these two franchises, both the Ravens and Steelers went at each other's throats from the get-go, with the latter drawing first blood on the box score with a 21-yeard field goal.

The first touchdown of the game only occurred late in the second quarter thanks to quarterback Tyler Huntley's connection with rookie tight end Isaiah Likely, giving the Ravens a 10-3 lead entering halftime which kicker Justin Tucker would help extend to 13 with a 51-yard field goal make in the third quarter.

However, it would be the last score that the Ravens would put up on the board as the Steelers had a 13-point turnaround that the home team was unable to respond to.

For the Steelers, their biggest drive of the night was coincidentally their final one as they racked up 80 yards from their own 20-yard line and only needed three minutes, 20 seconds of game clock to do so.

Kenny Pickett found tight end Pat Freiermuth on a 20-yard pass which was quickly followed by a 28-yard bomb from Pickett to wide receiver Steven Sims down the middle to reach the Ravens' 22-yard line.

Baltimore looked shaken as the defense that had proven itself to be one of the best in the league since acquiring linebacker Roquan Smith was beaten on back-to-back shotgun formation plays–the latter being a no-huddle.

Pickett would go on to score Pittsburgh's lone touchdown of the night by connecting with running back Najee Harris, giving them the lead and keeping their chances of a postseason appearance alive.

While Huntley and the Ravens, who were still without Lamar Jackson under center, had an opportunity to get into field goal range, the Steelers' defense came alive and made the only turnover of the evening – sending fans at the M&T Bank Stadium home in disappointment.

According to Ravens Vault podcast host Sarah Ellison, winning this game was absolutely crucial for the Ravens as it would have allowed them to hand Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin his first-ever losing season.

She also added that the Ravens' offense went scoreless in their final four possessions.

While beating Pittsburgh was a necessity on their road to winning the AFC North, they still have an opportunity to do so entering Week 18, provided that the Cincinnati Bengals drop their next two games against the Buffalo Bills and the Ravens themselves.

It is not an ideal situation for the Ravens at this point since they were already making strides the past couple of weeks, though it has become clear that the offense is really where the problem has been for them.

To Huntley's credit, he had a decent outing with 130 yards, 14-of-21 passes completed and a touchdown, but the interception he threw to close out the game overshadowed his efforts and practically proved just how much they sorely missed Jackson.

Blaming the defense for their failure to contain Pickett and the Steelers late in the game would be an easy answer since they were the only thing stopping them from scoring, but they held up their end of the bargain after limiting them to 16 points despite racking up 351 total yards.

As it has been for much of the season, the Raven's offense is just not firing on all cylinders with offensive coordinator Greg Roman making some head-scratching decisions up in the booth, including going for the run at third-and-three with 5:50 in the fourth that was stopped for no gain.

It is important to note here that this was the exact play that preceded Pittsburgh's touchdown drive.

Repeated three-and-out situations for the offense in crunch time is no way to a football game and while Baltimore has pride in their identity as a defense-oriented squad, they still need to take the pressure off them too.

Something has to give soon on offense and taking on a Bengals squad that can put points on the board with ease, the Ravens have got to pool their luck and hope the offense comes up big.

Tyler Huntley
Tyler Huntley #2 of the Baltimore Ravens passes the ball against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images