Joe Flacco walked off Heinz Field after taking a sack on fourth-and-10, trailing by three points, with just over two minutes remaining Thursday night. The Baltimore Ravens‘ season looked all but over at 0-4.
Little did we know the fun part of the game was just starting.
The Ravens outlasted their bitter rivals 23-20 in overtime after a series of critical late failures by the Steelers. After Flacco’s sack, the Steelers were unable to convert a first down. And then kicker Josh Scobee missed his second field goal in the final two and a half minutes of regulation. Justin Tucker’s 52-yard field goal in overtime was a reminder how valuable a good kicker can be. Now 2-2, the Steelers might just be undefeated with better kicker play.
The Ravens survived a game in which Flacco had a lazy fumble and an ugly interception. His best receiver Steve Smith left with a back injury. By the end of the game, Flacco was throwing to Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken, Darren Waller, and Nick Boyle. The Steelers knew they could blitz in critical situations because the Ravens receivers couldn’t get open. But when Flacco was given a third life, he executed an excellent drive at the end of regulation without any timeouts to set up a game-tying field goal.
The Ravens appeared to lose the game multiple times in regulation, but their defense did a fine job bottling up Vick. He finished with only 124 yards passing on 24 attempts for a dreadful 4.4 average.
After blowing the lead in regulation, the Steelers were also in good position to win the game twice in overtime. They failed on two different fourth down conversions in Ravens territory. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, who was electric racking up 150 yards from scrimmage, didn’t touch the ball on either fourth down.
Instead, Vick showed his age. On a night where Vick mostly threw short, safe passes, the Steelers called for a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-two in overtime. The Steelers defense got the ball back again for Pittsburgh and Bell put the team back in scoring range. But Mike Tomlin rightfully didn’t trust his kicker and the Steelers aggressively called for a pass on fourth-and-one from the Ravens 33-yard-line. Antonio Brown was open, but Vick airmailed him.
“That last pass is going to haunt me for a long time,” Vick said after the game.
Baltimore’s season has life at 1-3. And the city of Pittsburgh have all sorts of targets to blame for blowing a 20-7 lead: Vick, coach Mike Tomlin, offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and a kicker that probably won’t be on the roster by the time they play again.