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A win over the Ravens will give fans hope for a Steelers playoff push

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/11/2022 - 7:00am
Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If the Steelers defeat the Ravens to improve to 6-7, that should give fans a reason to believe in a playoff push.

If you’re a fan of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin—or, better yet, if you’re one of his detractors—you’re likely not surprised that his team has picked itself off the mat and has survived another eight-count.

For now.

That’s right, the Steelers, a team that was 2-6 at the bye and teetering on the brink of total destruction, now sit at 5-7 as they get set to take on their long-time AFC North rivals on Sunday afternoon at Acrisure Stadium: The Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore goes into the game with an 8-4 record and a legit shot at the division title but will also be missing quarterback Lamar Jackson. Thanks to backup Tyler Huntley starting in Jackson’s place, the Steelers are two-point favorites, meaning the oddsmakers expect the home team to pull out a narrow victory.

Steelers fans might actually be expecting the same thing, and if that happens, look out!

Put a pin in the 2023 NFL Draft talk (for now) and ramp up the 2022/2023 NFL postseason talk (for now).

A win would improve the Steelers’ record to 6-7; that’s not normally a great mark to have with a month to go in the regular season, but assuming the Jets lose on the road to the juggernaut Buffalo Bills on Sunday (New York is a 10-point underdog), Pittsburgh would pull to within a game of the team that currently sits in the seventh and final playoff seed in the AFC.

Yes, I realize that the Jets defeated Pittsburgh in Week 4 (at home). I also realize that New England (6-6) defeated the Steelers in Week 2 (at home), but who cares about tiebreakers at this point? That’s a bridge the Steelers and their fans will have to cross when and if they get to it.

Right now, it’s about getting to a place where Pittsburgh is realistically in the hunt. After that, you can truly begin to worry about what the teams in front of the Steelers are doing on a weekly basis (can’t forget about the 6-6 Chargers).

Sure, I mentioned the Jets, but that’s only because I fully expect them to lose on Sunday, but even if they don’t, they still have dates with the Seahawks and Dolphins to close out the year.

As for the Patriots...they finish off with...


I’m not going to do that just yet, but I will start to look at schedules and scoreboards if Pittsburgh knocks off the Ravens on Sunday.

If I know my Steelers fans like I think I do, a win over Baltimore will not only cause the faithful to expect Pittsburgh to take care of business against a bad Carolina team the following week (forget about the fact that both teams will have losing records) but they’ll be concerned that the matchup vs. the Panthers could be one of those yearly Tomlin “trap” games.

I’m ready for all of it.

Draft talk in December is depressing, but you can never have too much playoff hope this time of year.

The BTSC Delorean: Looking back at the most memorable Steelers home contests vs. Ravens in the Steel City

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/11/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

BTSC takes a look at the most memorable Steelers/Ravens games in the city of Pittsburgh

Do the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens have a long and storied history? Storied, yes. Long, no. The rivalry dates back to 1996, and the series includes 56 games, which the Steelers have an 8-game advantage. No matter the record of either team, they both always seem to put on a fantastic show with great storylines attached twice, maybe three times a year.

Here’s a brief tale of the tape:

Points: Steelers 1,145, Ravens 1,105

Wins: Steelers 32, Ravens 24

Record in Pittsburgh: Steelers 19-11, Ravens 11-19

Points in Pittsburgh: Steelers 687, Ravens 576

Record in Baltimore: Steelers 13-13, Ravens 13-13

Points in Baltimore: Steelers 458, Ravens 529

Shutouts: 3 (Ravens lead 2-1) Steelers 37, Ravens 0, (11/9/97), Ravens 16, Steelers 0 (9/3/2000), Ravens 27, Steelers 0 (11/26/06)

Biggest Win Margin: 11/9/1997 - Steelers 37, Steelers 0

Closest Game: Steelers 39, Ravens 38 (12/10/2017), Steelers 20, Ravens 19 (12/5/2021)

Overtime Games: 7 - Steelers 2-5, Ravens 5-2

Postseason Record: Steelers 3, Ravens 1

December 29, 2002 - Steelers 34, Ravens 31

The Steelers had already clinched the first-ever AFC North title, but momentum going into the playoffs is a crucial thing, especially when facing a bitter rival hellbent on knocking you down. The Ravens were 7-8 and eliminated from entrance in the AFC tournament, while the Steelers were tuning up for the dance. But the Steelers had a penchant for turning the ball over and squandering big leads in 2002. That was something that Bill Cowher’s team was trying to avoid going into the game, without ground control from the injured Jerome Bettis.

The Steelers would get a semi-comfortable advantage in the game, but it was Brian Billick’s team that was threatening first. With a 3rd and Goal at the 14, Deshea Townsend intercepted Jeff Blake in the end zone to put a stop to the drive. Tommy Maddox countered with a long drive of his own that almost ended in disaster when Gary Baxter’s pick-six was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty on B-More’s Anthony Weaver. With new life, the drive culminated in a 23-yard scoring strike to Hines Ward for the game’s first points. Baltimore evened things up on a drive that featured a 43-yard pass to big Randy Hymes and a Jamal Lewis fumble that teammate Allen Rickard advanced into the end zone. To follow, a Jeff Reed field goal from 23-out and Amos Zeroue’s 1-yard plunge with 6:48 to go in the half made the score 17-7. After the Steelers surrendered Rickard’s second score of the day, the Ratbirds were in Steeler territory again, when Blake was strip-sacked by Jason Gildon and the ball was recovered by Brett Keisel with :09 seconds until the half. A quick, 21-yard strike to Plaxico Burress gave Jeff Reed enough room to successfully convert the turnover into points from 46-yards away and a 20-14 lead.

After the break, the Ravens emerged from the visiting locker room energized, scoring 17-straight points. First, after stopping the Steelers on 4th and 1 on the 37, Matt Stover’s 43-yarder gave the Ravens three more points. Then, the visitors took advantage of a carom out of the hands of Dan Kreider into those of James Trapp with a 31-yard Blake to Todd Heap scoring connection. Maddox would throw another pick on the next drive that was expropriated by Anthony Mitchell and returned 30 yards to set the stage for a 20-yard touchdown toss to Chester Taylor. With 13:04 remaining in the game, the Steelers now trailed 31-20.

Steadfast and with a clear head, Maddox engineered a 10-play drive of 67 yards that culminated in an Amos Zeroue touchdown run from the five, but his attempt at a two-point conversion failed. Trailing the Ravens now by the score of 31-26 with 7:51 left in the game, a huge break came the Steelers Way when Lamont Brightful fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Larry Foote recovered. One of the players most vociferously signaling the black-and-gold recovery was a rookie wearing No. 93 by the name of James Harrison. With the opportunity, the veteran Maddox full-on seized it by knocking on Antwan Randle-El’s door with a scoring delivery of 8 yards, capped off with a two-point conversion success from Tommy to Plaxico. On the play, the Steelers QB had Peter Boulware wrapped around his ankles, but persevered to throw the go-ahead score. But with a 34-31 lead and 2:21 ticks on the clock, Blake got to work. Thanks to a dandy catch-and-run by Hymes and a roughing the passer penalty on works the Ravens into chip-shot FG range at the Steeler 10 with 21 seconds left. drove all the way down to the Steelers 11 on the verge of stealing a win with :27 left, but his pass to Hume’s

Peter Boulware clutching his ankles but hangs in to find Antwaan Randle El for the TD, then hits Burress for the 2-point conversion with 2:29 to go. Jeff Blake, aided by a nifty Todd Heap catch-and-run and a roughing the passer penalty on Joey Porter, Billick goes for it all instead of settling for a field goal and overtime. It didn’t work as Blake forces an ill-advised pass to Hymes, who was double covered by Lethon Flowers and Dewayne Washington. It was Washington who came down with the ball and the Steelers securing the win against a heated-foe and the AFC’s third seed in the playoffs.

October 31, 2005 - Steelers 20, Ravens 19

The Ravens and Steelers always have a potential to get scary whenever the two AFC North enemies lock horns, but a Halloween Night scrum on Monday Night Football ups the ante a bit. Baltimore came in at 2-5 to challenge 5-2 Pittsburgh, but records don’t typically matter in this fierce rivalry, even with Ben Roethlisberger gimpy and playing despite still nursing a knee injury and the visiting ratbirds sans the last two NFL Defensive Players of the Year in Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.

Roethlisberger started the scoring on the opening series after his 4th and 1 sneak from the Baltimore 23 extended the drive to allow a 4-yard touchdown connection with Heath Miller. Former Steeler quarterback Anthony Wright was able to match after his drive was extended on 3rd and 4 when Deshea Townsend was called for defensive holding at the Pittsburgh 15. Wright then hooked up with Chester Taylor for a 13 yard scoring play and the stadium scoreboard showcased 7–7. The Steelers were driving again late in the quarter, but Kelly Gregg sacked Ben on a 3rd and two and Seven reach into his bag of tricks and pooch punted as the quarter ended. But Jamal Lewis fumbled on the very next play, after a Townsend hit allowed Ike Taylor to recover the football. Hopes were dashed though when Peter Boulware and Terrell Suggs’ sack of the black-and-gold QB1 forced the home team to settle for a 42-yard Jeff Reed field goal with 13:26 to go in the half.

The Steelers were sloppy, though, on this particular October evening, as they started dropping balls like it was a turd stuffed in a Baby Ruth wrapper. Ben threw a pick to Adalius Thomas, and Baltimore advanced the chains to the 4 before settling for a 22-yard Matt Stover kick. The Ravens had an opportunity to get up on Pittsburgh when Ricardo Colclough fumbled away the ensuing kickoff. Luckily the Steelers held B-More to a three-and-out and Stover missed from 30-yards away. Baltimore was driving late in the half though, but Ike Taylor scarfed-up Wright’s heave from the 42 to end the half tied at 10.

In the second thirty minutes, Wright tried some trickery with a flea-flicker, but Chris Hope was not fooled and intercepted the deep pass in centerfield. That allowed Roethlisberger to go back to Heath Miller for their second scoring connection from the 8, and a 17-10 lead. Baltimore goes on a nearly nine-minute drive that extended into the fourth quarter, but only netted a 40-yarder from Stover and then a three-and-out from Pittsburgh put the visitors in position to get a 49-yard field goal from the leg of Stover. The score was now 17-16 with the Steelers hanging on with a one-point advantage. The defenses from both teams were stout down the stretch, but the home team offense was going nowhere. Then a botched punt attempt, in which the rookie Greg Warren’s snap to Chris Gardocki deflected off Sean Morey, resulted in Chris Gardocki trying to salvage something but throwing an incomplete pass. While the Steelers were sputtering, the Baltimorons were putting up field goals, adding a 47-yarder from Stover with 3:27 left on the clock to take a 19-17 lead.

Trailing for the first time, Ben Roethlisberger was poised but unpredictable. Instead of utilizing Ward and Miller, it was Antwaan Randle-El and Quincy Morgan catching balls on the final drive, while Jerome Bettis carved up the Ravens defensive unite on the ground. When the Steelers were stopped on 4th and 3 at the Baltimore 19, Jeff Reed gave his team the lead with a 38-yard field goal late. But with 1:40 left on the clock, Anthony Wright returned with intentions of securing a last gasp win for the white, black, and purple. Dick Lebeau’s defense wasn’t having any of that talk and shut that dream down as Pittsburgh advanced to 5-2 and ended a two-game home losing streak. The final score of 20-19 completed an All Hallows Eve of no tricks, just treats, and plenty of suspense.

September 29, 2008 - Steelers 23, Ravens 20 (OT)

The Steelers at 2-1, coming off of an embarrassing loss in Philly, were hosting the Ravens on Monday Night Football to complete Week 4. The Ravens were 2-0 and storming into Heinz Field with a new coach (John Harbaugh) and quarterback (Joe Flacco) at the helm and Rex Ryan’s defense featuring Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Bart Scott and Haloti Ngata were a dangerous bunch. How criminally dangerous we didn’t know until later on MNF.

The Steelers’ defense was without Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel against a run-first team. But the defense shut down Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain on the first few drives. The Steelers were moving well on their first drive, but a Corey Ivy sack of Ben Roethlisberger forced the series to end on with a Jeff Reed 49-yarder. On 3rd-and-long during the next drive, LT Adam Terry saw James Harrison blow by him and plant Flacco into the turf to force a punt. After the punt, Roethlisberger looked to go deep but threw a five-foot pass right into the gut of Ngata for the INT. That led to a Matt Stover 33-yard boot to tie the game with only :22 left in the quarter, followed by a stop and a Stover chip-shot for a 6-3 lead. With less then four minutes in the half, the boo-birds came out at Heinz Field as Roethlisberger was sacked twice. To make things worse, Kendall Simmons had to be helped off of the field after the second sack and third of the game. The Steelers’ offense was in the midst of an 8-quarter TD drought and the OL’s poor, 8-sack performance against Philadelphia the week before looked less like an anomaly and more like a persistent problem. Aided by good field position, Flacco again looking like an accomplished veteran threw his first NFL TD pass, an 8-yard score to TE Daniel Wilcox made the score 13-3, as a stunned home crowd sat through halftime in disbelief.

The second half didn’t start any better, as Rashad Mendenhall got absolutely walloped by Ray Lewis and walked off with his shoulder hanging low. This play was quite significant as it launched the rivalry into an even nastier stratosphere. Instead of calling for help, Lewis boasted, “You’re done,” to the fallen first-rounder. Suggs later bragged on radio that a bounty was out on Mendenhall and Hines Ward. “The bounty was out on him and the bounty was out on (Ward). We just didn’t get him between the whistles”, later said Suggs on ESPN’s Mike and Mike.

As bleak as everything looked, fortunes finally shifted towards the end of the third quarter. Jarrett Johnson, who never was penalized for 15 yards in his career of six years, got nailed for hitting Hines Ward out of bounds. Ward was instigating, as he did so well. With 4:12 left in the third, Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes across the middle and he sprinted all the way into the end zone for a 38-yard score. The very next play after the kickoff, James Harrison burst through a helpless line and pummeled Joe Flacco, causing the ball to spurt from the rookie’s grasp and LaMarr Woodley hustled to fall on the ball. But realizing that he was in the clear, he rolled over and sprang to his feet to dash to glory. No. 56 leapt into the stands and celebrated with a throng of fans. Just like that, the Steelers were up 17-13 and the Heinz Field crowd became its boisterous self again. With 12:30 left in the game, the Steelers tried to put the nail in Baltimore’s coffin. Roethlisberger ducked Bart Scott on a blitz and found a wide-open Hines Ward who rumbled all the way down to the Raven 10-yard line for 49 yards on the play. However, the Steelers had to settle for a Jeff Reed field goal from 18 yards when the drive stalled at the one. The score was now 20-13, home team. Harrison and Woodley continued to run wild with an elapsing clock in the fourth quarter, however Flacco completed a 35-yard pass to Mason from the Steelers 40. With 2nd and goal to go, McClain’s dominance continued when he ran over Lawrence Timmons for a 5-yard touchdown. With 4:02 left on the clock, it was a 20-20 tie. With running backs going down for both teams, The Steelers and the Ravens resorted to trying their luck in overtime.

The Ravens won the coin toss and Ray Lewis, like he did everything, obnoxiously yelled, “We wanna receive! We wanna receive! We wanna receive! We wanna receive!”, which they did. With an accurate kicker in Stover and sudden-death rules, nerves were tight in the Steel City. But Yamon Figurs great return past the 50 was negated by four flags and the drive began at the Baltimore 15. Great coverage by Bryant McFadden on Mason and a third down sack by Timmons of Flacco, gave the Steelers a shot at the win. On third down, Mewelde Moore took a short pass and rambled for 24 and the Steelers were in range for Reed. A few plays later, No. 3 came in and nailed a 46-yarder for the OT win. There was much rejoicing as the Steelers vanquished their rival for the first of three times in that magical season.

January 18, 2009 - Steelers 23, Ravens 14 (2008 AFC Championship Game)

Going into the game, there was concern surrounding the NFL’s top-ranked defense, as Troy Polamalu’s right calf injury forced the Steeler star safety to miss most of the week of practice and was walking very gingerly in warm-ups. DC Dick LeBeau stated that an absent Troy would hamper their defense and disallow them to employ a number of schemes they typically ran.

On the opening drive, Mike Tomlin’s team started from their own 34. On third and 13, Roethlisberger threw a bullet over the middle to Hines Ward right between ball hawking safeties Jim Leonhard and Ed Reed a 45-yard gain. The Ravens buckled down enough to stall the drive, but Jeff Reed came in to deliver a 32-yard field goal. 3-0 Steelers.

Later on in the quarter, veteran CB Deshea Townsend stepped in front of Joe Flacco’s offering to Derrick Mason for an interception at the Baltimore 35. It was the first interception thrown by the Delaware rookie in his third playoff game. Following the interception, Hines Ward would pick up a first down in front of Frank Walker, but Ward emerged with a twisted knee and had to limp to the sideline to get medical attention. Ward tried to re-enter twice, but the knee wouldn’t allow it. Ben would turn his attention and throw a long pass to Santonio Holmes who seemingly caught it at the one and tried to crawl into the end zone for a score. Tomlin would grab his red flag to challenge, but Raven HC John Harbaugh beat him to it as he saw it as a non-catch. Harbaugh was correct and the call was overturned. The Steelers settled for another field goal from the suddenly bleach blonde that was Jeff Reed. 6-0 Steelers.

On the next drive, the Ravens lived up to their turnover ranking as Ray Lewis punched the ball out of Willie Parker’s (usually secure) mitts and Leonhard recovered. Meanwhile Big Ben was seen near the tunnel grimacing and holding his back. Injuries were threatening to thwart Super Bowl hopes. The threat of losing Ben was merely just worry, as Roethlisberger returned to the field on the next series. No. 7 would lace a short pass to an open Santonio Holmes, who snagged the ball and raced 65-yards to extend the score to 13-0.

With 3:37 remaining in the half, Jim Leonhard’s 45-yard return started Baltimore off at the Steeler 17. Leonhard had a clear path to the end zone, but punter Mitch Berger caught him to save the score. On third and 3, the Ravens picked up the blitz and Flacco fired a strike to Mason that was broken up by Bryant McFadden. However, McFadden was called for a PI. With first down at the three and Haoli Ngata in as a blocker, Willis McGahee walked into the end zone. It was now 13-7 with only 2:35 left in the half.

After a great return by Santonio Holmes to the 50, Big Ben threw a perfect bomb to the 6’4” rookie Limas Sweed who dropped it like it was a real bomb and laid on the turf feigning injury. The drive stalled. But on the punt, Mitch Berger’s Oscar-winning fall drew a roughing penalty on Edgar Jones, to set the Steelers up at the 35. But Sweed’s fakery cost Pittsburgh a timeout and poor clock management cost a field goal, as Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t get the spike off in time as the clock struck triple zero. The Steelers squandered a valuable three points. It was 13-7 at the half.

The third quarter featured stout defense from both teams, and only a field goal from Reed occurred offensively. It was 16-7 at the end of three. With 12:41 remaining, Berger shanked a punt and Baltimore had great field position and drove the remaining length of the field. The Heinz Field faithful became nervous as Flacco completed four straight passes and drew a PI call on Ike Taylor. Willis McGahee converted from the one. With 9:29 left, the Steeler lead was a mere two at 16-14. When the Steelers’ next drive failed after Terrell Suggs sacked Ben after the Steelers started at their own 40, the Ravens took to the turf with a chance to take the lead with 6:50 remaining on the clock. What seemed to be a starting point at the 40, Darren Stone whipped Anthony Madison down miles out of bounds by the B-More bench. Instead of starting off only 60-yards away, Flacco and the offense started way back at their own 14.

The Ravens were trying to move the ball, but the Steeler defense came up big on back-to-back plays. On second down, James Farrior forced Flacco into LaMarr Woddley and No. 56 got his second sack. But fortunes really changed when Flacco threw a pass to Derrick Mason on third and 13 with hopes to move the chains. Troy Polamalu, who had been dominant all game, undercut the route and thieved the ball. No. 43 zigged and zagged and ran from sideline to sideline before he made a beeline to the end zone. In what was one of the most majestic plays in Steeler lore from a player with a wrapped calf, the pick-six basically iced the game for Pittsburgh.

The following four minutes and change were basically a celebration for Pittsburgh and their fans and a futile attempt for Baltimore to rebound from the death blow that was Troy taking it to the house. However, the celebration turned dark and worrisome when Ryan Clark rocked Willis McGahee with a hit that would rleave both players laying on the grass for minutes. Clark was helped off, while McGahee was carted off, but showing movement. The hit was deemed a clean and legal hit as Clark led with his shoulders. The collision caused a fumble in which Pittsburgh recovered. The Ravens had one last gasp, but a tipped pass landed in the hands of Tyrone Carter, officially earning the Lamar Hunt trophy for the Steel City and the Rooney Family and further proving the Baltimore/Pittsburgh rivalry as not one of the best in the NFL, but all of sports.

December 25, 2016 - Steelers 31, Ravens 27

Primetime, Color Rush jerseys, Christmas in Steeltown, and the postseason on the line. This game had the makings for a classic before the kickoff. Th game was crucial as Mike Tomlin’s team would win the AFC North and secure the No, 3 seed, will John Harbaugh’s guys would control their own destiny the following week against Cincy. The Steelers were not kidding around, forcing the Ravens to punt on the opening drive, and driving 87 yards while draining over 8 minutes off of the clock, for Ben Roethlisberger to hit Xavier Grimble in the end zone and an early 7-0 lead. The Ravens answered with two Justin Tucker field goals, the second coming with with 18 seconds left in the half to make the score 7-6 in favor of “the Stillers’ n’at.

In the first half, Roethlisberger attempted just 9 passes, and the Ravens had a muffed hold on a field goal, taking a potential three points off the board. Nonetheless, the Steelers received the football to start the third quarter, and Roethlisberger threw an interception to Zach Orr on the first play from scrimmage. A few plays later Joe Flacco hits Steve Smith Sr. for a touchdown and again with a two-point conversion to give the Ravens a 14-7 advantage. On Pittsburgh’s next possession, Roethlisberger passed for a big gain to Eli Rogers to put the offense on the verge of scoring but only a 36-yard Chris Boswell field goal was all that could be mustered to cut into the lead 14-10. However, Flacco was able to answer by engineering a drive ending in another Tucker field goal (46 yards) to get the advantage back to seven. Another Big Ben interception, his second of the game this time by C.J. Mosely. set the Ravens up at the Steelers 11 with a chance to possibly put it out of reach. Luckily though, Pittsburgh’s defense was able to hold B-More to yet another Tucker field goal, keeping the score 20-10 with 14 minutes left in the fourth.

Despite being down ten against the stingy defense of the visiting Ravens being a mighty task, No. 7 located Jesse James for a big play of 21 yards, and then took a shot down the field to rookie Demarcus Ayers drawing a pass interference call on Tavon Young, moving the Men of Steel into the Baltimore red-zone at the 15. Two plays later Le’Veon Bell’s touchdown made it a field goal game with 11:41 left in regulation. After the Steelers defense forced a three-and-out, the offense stormed down the field and took the lead a Bell reached the touchdown zone on a pass from BB7, and the lead 24-20. With 7:10 left in the fourth quarter, Joe Flacco moved the ball into the Pittsburgh red-zone with several key third down conversions leading to a what seemed to be a game-winning Kyle Juszczyk touchdown rumble with 1:18 left in the game.

But Mike Tomlin’s team had a Christmas miracle in them. With two timeouts remaining, Ben methodically moved them down the field and hit Antonio Brown for a go-ahead touchdown with just 9-seconds remaining in the game. The play that went down in Steelers lore as the Immaculate Extension was made possible after AB, in the midst of a gang-tackle, fought to reach the ball over the plane of the goal line for Pittsburgh’s 6th victory in a row. A holiday celebration ensued as the Steelers not only vanquished their bitter rivals, but earned them the AFC North division title, and the No. 3 seed in the AFC Playoffs.

It wasn’t quite Miracle on 34th Street, but more like Miracle on 3400 South Water Street. A holiday classic indeed.

December 10, 2017 Steelers 39, Ravens 38

Six days of raw emotion after losing star defender Ryan Shazier to a then-paralyzing hit in Cincinnati, the Steelers hosted the Baltimore Ravens in a prime time affair that featured #Shalieve and the No. 50 everywhere in the stadium that night. The Steelers were 10-2 and in position to wrap up the division, but winning for their fallen teammate who was lying in a Cincinnati hospital was heavily on their agenda.

The Steelers looked flat to start as Joe Flacco was knifing into the belly of the defense and into scoring position, when his long pass to Jeremy Maclin was thieved by Sean Davis at the 6 and returned to the Steelers 41. Ben Roethlisberger took advantage of the turnover and two huge completions by Jesse James, and executed a picturesque catch and run by Le’Veon Bell to set the opening bid at 7-0 midway through the first quarter. The best possession ended in a Lev Bell score as well, as No. 26 scored on a run from a yard out after a Maurice Canaday pass interference call on Steelers WR Martavis Bryant. After Flacco’s counter and a 30-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore cut the lead in half and B-more’s defense stiffening, Chris Boswell nailed a 52-yarder giving the Steelers a 17-7 lead with 4:14 to play before intermission. However, the Steelers defense not tackling well and weakened by the absence of Shazier, gave up 55 yards to Alex Collins on the next drive, including an 18-yard scoring jaunt to make the score 17-14. However, an undeterred Big Ben, with just over a minute left and two timeouts, worked the ball into Boswell’s range, and the half came with the Steelers clinging to a 20-14 advantage.

On the new half’s first possession, the Steelers punted for the first time in the game and that turned into another Tucker three set up by former Steeler Mike Wallace’s 40-yard reception. The hot Steelers’ offense must have stayed in the locker room because it immediately grew cold as Jim Harbaugh’s scorers were heating up. Flacco was making quality throws, and Alex Collins was a machine. The duo’s prowess led to Javorious “Buck” Allen plunging in for a one yard touchdown, and Patrick Richard hauling-in a pass from six yards away on the next drive to not only give Baltimore their first lead, but to extend it by the tune of 31-20 lead with 2:43 left in the third quarter. With the game slipping away and dangerously close to the category of out-of-hand, the Steelers put some points up with another Boswell field goal to lessen the lead to 31-23 with just over 10-minutes left in the game. After a three-and-out by Baltimore, Seven’s short pass to Antonio Brown turned into a 57-yard race to the 10. After another PI by the Ravens put the ball on the doorstep again, Roosevelt Nix found himself going over a defender to pull in a touchdown pass from Roethlisberger. With Bell’s two-point conversion run failing, the Steelers trailed 31-29 with 9:15 to go. But the Charm City offense still had one more left in them when Artie Burns was penalized for pass interference, and Buck Allen plowed ahead nine for his second score of the evening with 6:44 remaining in this festival of scoring, 38-29 Ravens.

The game was not over though as Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger hurried the Steelers back on an 8 play, 68-yard drive that culminated in an 11-yard dash by Bell on a 3rd and 1 for his second score of the game. With Boz’ point after, the Steelers trailed 38-26, but with not a lot of time on the clock. They would need help from their defense, and they got just that when a swarming Steelers’ defense held the Ravens to seven yards and a punt in merely 1:04 of play. With 2:25 left, Pittsburgh’s prospects looked bleak when BTR was sacked on the first play, but three passes over the middle to Jesse James, and a long-ball of 34 to AB got the Steelers in position for their No. 9 to kick the go-ahead points through from 46-yards away. But the Ravens had an automatic No. 9 of their own and it wouldn’t take too much to get in Justin Tucker’s range with :42 seconds remaining. But facing third down, the Ravens couldn’t handle the edge rush of T.J. Watt, who walloped Flacco for the Steelers first sack of the night. The ball squirted out of bounds and the game was deemed over by the officials. The Steelers victory pushed their record to 11-2, but more importantly Coach Mike Tomlin’s team dramatically won one for No. 50 and never stopped Shalievin’.

October 6, 2019 - Ravens 26, Steelers 23 (OT)

For the first time in over a decade, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens played a game in which neither Ben Roethlisberger or Joe Flacco was under center or in the shotgun. Nonetheless, it was a crucial division game in the AFC North very early in the season, especially for the 1-3 Steelers with an unproven Mason Rudolph at quarterback and the 3-2 Ravens coming in as losers of two-straight.

The scoring started after Cameron Sutton broke up a Lamar Jackson pass intended for Marquise Brown, forcing a Justin Tucker field goal to make the score 3-0. Mark Ingram would then bull his way into the end zone to put the visitors up 10-0 with 4:48 left in the first quarter. The score was made possible when Jaylen Samuels lined up in the wildcat, and instead of running the ball, No. 38 tried to throw a pass to James Washington which was intercepted. The Steelers had been experimenting with the novel formation, but this was to little avail and the Ravens were ready for it. The Steelers would go up tempo and with weapons like James Conner and James Washington making plays, Rudolph was able to target JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 35-yard touchdown. With 2:41 left in the opening quarter, Pittsburgh only trailed by three. That would be short-lived though as the Steelers surrendered a 13 play, 75-yard scoring drive capped off by Jackson going Hollywood to Marquise Brown for the touchdown and a 17-7 scoreboard reflection with 11:21 left in the half.

Late in the half, the Ravens looked to reach glory again and extend their lead, but the newly-acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick was able to tip the ball into the air to be intercepted by Kam Kelly. A Chris Boswell 42-yard field goal was the result. Despite a huge kickoff return by Justice Hill, back-to-back sacks by T.J. Watt and Vince Williams forced their first punt of the game, but the Steelers offense stalled to give Baltimore time to extend their lead. It would be the home team in black and gold that would add points however, as Jackson was intercepted by Mike Hilton setting up a Boswell field goal to make the score 17-13 heading into halftime.

On the opening drive of the second half, rookie Devin Bush had an acrobatic interception to give the Steelers their third theft of Jackson on the day. But the Steelers would suffer a scary moment on the next possession. After escaping a fevered pass rush, Rudolph found James Washington down field for a big first down, but was hit in the head by Earl Thomas and laid unconscious on the field following the play. A flag flew, but the concern of the crowd was the well-being of Mason who was severely concussed after the vicious hit. Rudolph regained consciousness as trainers had to cut off his face mask. Teammates were called upon to help their young QB of of the field because the cart used to treat seriously hurt players stalled. ESPN reported then when asked about the cart issue, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin classicly responded, “Ask somebody that is in charge of that, I don’t drive carts and things of that nature.”

Enter Devlin “Duck” Hodges, a champion duck caller and a plater that went undrafted out of Samford and hooked on with the Steelers at their rookie minicamp tryout. Employing runs of all varieties to protect their inexperienced quarterback, the Steelers began moving the ball. A Hodges completion to Vance McDonald moved the ball to the one yard line, followed by a James Conner plunge into the end zone to move the score to 20-20 with 3:42 left in the third quarter. Baltimore’s offense continued to move the ball on the Keith Butler’s defense, but again they were forced to settle for a Justin Tucker chip shot to nod it at 20-20. Hodges moved the Steelers to midfield, but the drive was stopped cold. However, Jordan Berry’s precise punt pinned the Baltimore offense at their 1-yard line. After a three-and out and a near safety, Sam Koch came on to punt the ball to Ryan Switzer, who returned the kick into Baltimore territory. Despite a huge play in which Hodges ran for 21 yards with a 5-yard Marlon Humphrey penalty tacked on, the black-and-gold drive was halted at the visitor’s 15. That is what precipitated a Boswell 33-yard field goal to make the score 23-20 with 2:37 left in the game.

That was giving Lamar Jackson too much time though, and an egregious roughing the passer call on Steelers linebacker Ola Adeniyi gave Lamar Jackson room to drive the Ravens into Pittsburgh territory and set up Justin Tucker for a game-tying 48 yard kick sending the game to overtime.

The Steelers won the coin flip, but made the curious choice to give the Ravens the first possession. The reasoning behind it was if the Steelers stopped them a field goal would win the game. The defense forced a three and out and the gamble looked to pay off. But on the Steelers’ first possession of overtime, disaster struck when JuJu Smith-Schuster caught a ball for a first down from Hodges but was punched out by Marlon Humphrey at the Pittsburgh 34 while fighting for extra yards. A few plays later, Justin Tucker hit a 46-yard field goal to win the game at 26-23 for the Ravens and to squash what would have been a Hollywood fairytale ending for Steelers Nation.

December 5, 2021 - Steelers 20, Ravens 19

The only thing predictable about rivalry games in the NFL in December is that they are unpredictable. Going into 2021’s Week 13, the Steelers hadn’t won a football game since Week 9, and the Ravens were No. 1 in the AFC and AFC North with a 8-3 record. With their postseason hopes on the verge of extinction, the Steelers were in desperate need of finding themselves on this cold December day in Heinz Field.

After winning the coin toss, the Steelers chose to defer and Lamar Jackson had an impressive drive going right away. That was until, on a 3rd and 6 from the 10, Jackson was pressured by T.J. Watt was intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick in the end zone. But the Steelers’ offensive struggles would continue and there were plenty of Pressley Harvin III sightings. However, the black-and-gold defense would hold up well until the second quarter. The Baltimore offense would find their pulse, and when pinned by Hardin III on their own on, the visitors reeled off an impressive 99-yard drive that ended with a Devonta Freeman touchdown run, and a 7-0 score with 8:37 left in the second. With the Pittsburgh offense impotent and frustrated, it seemed like that would be all that the Ravens would need. It looked like the Ratbirds would put this game away near the end of the half, especially with several questionable calls going their way. But the Pittsburgh defense was able to get the ball back to the offense courtesy of sacks by Former Raven Chris Wormley, and another by Cam Hayward. With 48 to go in the half, Ben Roethlisberger put together a nine-play drive that moved his team all the way from their own 11 to the Ravens 35. It looked like the Steelers would nod it up when Ben threw deep to Diontae Johnson, but No. 18 dropped a touchdown alone in the end zone. The Steelers did salvage points though, Chris Boswell’s 52-yarder, with time running down, gave his team some presence on the scoreboard, as they trailed 7-3 going into the locker room.

In the third, the Steelers offense continued to be stuck in second gear, as a beautiful catch by Ray-Ray McCloud was annulled. However, the Ravens continued their scoring ways with a Justin Tucker field goal of 28 yards with their first possession of the new half. After that, offensive stagnancy from both franchises prevailed until the fourth quarter. With the ball to start the 4th quarter, it took just two plays for the Steelers to strike. A pass to Chase Claypool put the Steelers in field goal range, and a beautiful throw to Diontae Johnson had the Steelers first touchdown of the game. However, Chris Boswell missed the point-after, making the score 10-9 with 13:55 left in regulation. Unable to put points on the board, the Steelers sent the ball right back to the Ravens, but the Pittsburgh defense continued to do their job and keep the team in the game.

With the ball to start the 4th quarter, it took just two plays for the Steelers to strike. A pass to Chase Claypool put the Steelers in field goal range, and a gorgeous throw to Diontae Johnson had the Steelers first touchdown of the game. However, Chris Boswell missed the point-after, making the score 10-9 with 13:55 left in regulation. Baltimore would answer, but it would happen in questionable fashion. An egregious pass interference call on Minkah Fitzpatrick resulted in a huge gain for the Ravens. Tucker emerged to make the score 13-9 with 11:51 left in the fourth. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense, thanks to a big RAC by Diontae Johnson and Najee Harris’ bursts through the defensive line, were able to counter with a 43-yard Boswell field goal to inch closer at 13-12 with 7:23 left in regulation.

T.J. Watt took over the next series, forcing an errant throw on first down and sacking Jackson next. The 3rd and 15 play was a deep pass to Mark Andrews which was broken up by Akhello Witherspoon, forcing another punt. Ben Roethlisberger and crew took over with a chance to take the lead and did just that when Ben connected with Diontae Johnson for his second score of the game from 5 yards away. Pat Freiermuth snagged the two-point conversion attempt to make the score 20-13 with 1:48 left in the final frame. But that’s a ton of time to give to Lamar Jackson, and he did what he always does, and that is bring the Ravens roaring back when needed the most. Huge conversions to Maurquise “Hollywood” Brown and Sammy Watkins set up a first and goal situation. On 3rd down, Jackson found Watkins for the touchdown. Here’s where it got crazy. Instead of kicking it and going for the tie, John Harbaugh decided to go for two. Watt put a heavy rush on Lamar, but he got it off to an all-alone Mark Andrews, but the disruption from T.J. was enough to give the Steelers the ginormous win.

The Steelers would fight and claw to make the postseason, including a win over B-More at M&T Bank Stadium in the regular season finale. But they would also break the back of their rival Ravens on this day, as Jim Harbaugh’s team would lose their final six games of the year.

Distribution Map: Check out if you will get to see the Steelers vs. Ravens game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/11/2022 - 6:00am

The Steelers are playing the Ravens in Week 14. Will you get to see it?

If you were like me, before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

So, will you get to see the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens go head-to-head in Week 14? Check out which games you’ll see in your local viewing area.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

RED: Jets at Bills
BLUE: Chiefs at Broncos (LATE)
ORANGE: Jaguars at Titans
GREEN: Ravens at Steelers
YELLOW: Browns at Bengals

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!


Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sun, 12/11/2022 - 5:00am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

Steelers 2022 is ongoing and we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest two podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said or typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show:

Steelers Touchdown Under: Will the Steelers keep their flock of wins together?

It’s Week 14 of the NFL season, which means the 5-7 Steelers are taking on the Baltimore Ravens, after beating the Falcons. Have the Steelers finally found the balance they need on offense? What types of headaches are Dionte and Pickens going to cause the Ravens? Can the offensive line keep Pickett upright? Is the Defense ready to play December and ‘AFC North football’ against one of their bitterest rivals?

Join Matty Peverell and Mark Davison as they answer these questions and more, while providing a global perspective to how the Steelers can achieve success in their chase for a seventh Lombardi, in this latest episode of ‘Touchdown Under’ - BTSC’s Australian sensation.


  • Steelers News and Notes
  • The flock of wins

Listen to the show on the player below:

Tune into the latest episode of Touchdown Under, the Australian sensation from the BTSC family of podcasts.

We Run the North: Head to Head in the AFC North

In a Week 14 where all four AFC North teams battle inside the division, there’s so much to talk anout? Join Kevin Tate and his “We Run The North” crew as they talk this week’s matchups, Browns vs Bengals and Ravens vs Steelers, plus all the other week 13 games. The usual suspects, Brandon “B-Dirt” Herriott and Pay Saunders, along with special guests Shawn “Big-G” Gurley and Baltimore Ravens super fan Tavon Johnson.


• Thursday Night Football Rams vs Raiders

• Baker Mayfield

• AFC North Matchups

• Week 13 Pick’em

• Pay’s Parlay

• Doin’em Dirty

• Big G’s Burners

Listen to the show on the player below:

Last Minute Thoughts before the Steelers Week 14 game against the Ravens

There’s always a lot of material rolling through a Steelers fan’s cranium on game day. What’s the injury report telling us? Did something happen that I missed? Am I going to even see the game in my broadcast area? What’s the line if I want to bet my mortgage on the game? At BTSC, we’re no different. Join BTSC with our last minute thoughts as you prepare to wave that Terrible Towel. This week, Dave Schofield gives his last minute thoughts right before the Steelers contest against the Baltimore Ravens.


  • Last Minute Thoughts before Steelers vs. Ravens
  • Injury Report
  • Lines
  • How to watch

Listen to the show on the player below:

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

Saturday Night Open Thread: A Die Hard Story

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 6:00pm
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Come and join this merry band of Steelers’ faithful for some lively debate about our Steelers, good food, music, and the merits of the odd cold beverage.

Last night some of y’all tried to highjack poor Dave’s thread. He asked a simple question, “What is the most overrated Christmas movie?”

For some unknown reason, some decided to pick on SNW and mock Die Hard. The sheer audacity of this got my blood boiling.

Well, despite his love of soccer, I happen to think that SNW is a pretty good guy. So to back up his perspective on Die Hard (which I happen to think is a pretty special movie too), I give you some real facts.

Consider this article...

Obviously, this is from Colorado, and truth be told pretty much anyone from Colorado knows more about Christmas than a regular yinzer. Look at all the snow they get and they practically live right next to the “Abominable” Snow Man.

Now, if that’s not convincing enough, try this one on. This is from none other than Dave and Chuck the Freak. These guys are syndicated, so everything they say has to be true!

I mean, not only is it a Christmas movie, it’s the most favorite of all ‘Merican Christmas movies!!!!

So, please take off your ugly Christmas trolling sweaters, put on your stained muscle shirt (I know even TSF has one) and be nice to SNW tonight.

  1. Ravens week. Best Ravens memory that doesn’t involve AB on Christmas day or Troy’s pick six?
  2. Which Ravens player, past or present, do you respect the most?
  3. Why is this Steelers / Ravens rivalry so special? Please expand your answer
  4. What is your favorite Christmas cookie. Bonus marks if you share recipe!
  5. What is your favorite Christmas tradition outside of Christmas eve and or day?

Have a BAD Week: A look back at the Steelers week from a black-and-gold mind

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 4:00pm
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

BTSC’s random-thought renegade is back with his bizarre look at the Steelers week that was.

The Steelers are 5-7 and lots of things are going on with the Men of Steel coming off of the team’s first consecutive-victory set. Let’s all take a look at the week in the ‘burgh together.

Sunday 12/4

T.J. Watt warming up. Looks fine

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 4, 2022

So much rides on Watt. Good to see No. 90 warming up.

FINAL: @steelers win in Atlanta! #HereWeGo #PITvsATL

— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2022

Sure, the win should have been bigger. But it still tastes good.

Monday 12/5

Insurance in light of Lamar Jackson injury.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 5, 2022

Now, Baltimore will experience the confusion we do in the Steel City with Pickett and Pickens. Who are Lamar’s backups? Indeed, they are Huntley and Hundley.

Week 15 schedule news:

Saturday, December 17th (all games on NFLN)
1 PM: Colts at Vikings
4:30 PM: Ravens at Browns
8:15 PM: Dolphins at Bills

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 5, 2022

I am shocked that the schedule makers didn’t want Pittsburgh at Carolina.

More Week 15 schedule news: Giants at Commanders has been flexed to Sunday Night Football.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 5, 2022

Wow! Flexing Giants and Commanders to Sunday Night Football is like switching out Turkey on Thanksgiving for chicken nuggets.

William Jackson III said he hasn't been told if he'll be cleared to practice this week, when he's eligible to come off IR. Seems like FWIW he believes he's physically ready to practice. Just doesn't know the team's plans for him yet for this week.

— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) December 5, 2022

Even though draft capital was minimal, when you purchase your Han Solo action figure in 1983, you want to play with said action figure in 1983.

Source said Baker Mayfield release was a ‘mutual agreement,’ as Mayfield asked for release and #Panthers honored request. He wasn’t in plans. (@RapSheet 1st on release)

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) December 5, 2022

That’s like me and the ex-Mrs. BAD’s divorce, It was a ‘mutual agreement. The lies we tell when our partners decide on other dudes. I feel your pain, Baker.

Tuesday 12/6

.@ohthatsNajee22 out here playing SlamBall @KyleBrandt

: Watch @gmfb on @nflnetwork

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 6, 2022

Angry runs? That happened to me after the buffet at CiCi’s Pizza. Seriously, what in the blue hell is a scepter?

.@CamHeyward is our nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, presented by @Nationwide.

Retweet & reply with “#WPMOYChallenge Heyward” to help him earn a $25,000 contribution to the charity of his choice. #WPMOY


— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 6, 2022

Don’t Susan Lucci this guy. If anybody deserves this award, it is Cam.

Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson suffered a sprained PCL during Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos, per league sources. PCL injuries often sideline players 1-to-3 weeks and Ravens’ HC John Harbaugh already has said Jackson is “less likely” to play Sunday vs. the Steelers.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2022

Ravens not completely showing their hand here. I get it. Steelers may rather play a wounded Lamar.

Wednesday 12/7

We have signed LB Emeke Egbule to the practice squad and released RB Master Teague from the practice squad. @BordasLaw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 7, 2022

Master, we hardly knew ye. Now let me get a head start on next week, Emeke, we hardly knew ye.

Thursday 12/8

Sources: The #Falcons are looking to the future, making a QB switch to rookie Desmond Ridder as the starter.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 8, 2022

The Steelers shutdown the Hawaiian Stallion in Atlanta. The Men of Steel could be waiver makers.

T.J. Watt said his rib injury is week-to-week, but was able to participate a decent amount in practice today. Didn’t give the full 100% that he’ll be playing, but said he’ll see how he feels Sunday.

— Chris Halicke (@ChrisHalicke) December 9, 2022

T.J. is the epitome of walking wounded in 2022.

Friday 12/9

Game status at Steelers:

— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 9, 2022

Never trust a fart and never trust an opponent’s injury report.

This was the significant week that was for the Steelers, mixed-in with my black-and-gold loving life. I’m sure next week will be full of Steelers happenings as well, so we’ll have to do this again. Have a great week, but better yet, have a BAD one.

Steelers activate kicker Chris Boswell for Week 14 vs. the Ravens

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 2:53pm
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

After returning to practice this week, Boswell is taking back the kicking duties for Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a roster move ahead of their Week 14 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. On Thursday, the team announced that kicker Chris Boswell was designated to return from the Reserve/Injured List (IR), allowing him to practice while starting his 21-day window in which to be activated to the active roster. On Saturday, the Steelers made the move to bring Boswell back to kick on Sunday.

We have activated K Chris Boswell from the Reserve/Injured List to the active roster and released K Matthew Wright. @BordasLaw

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2022

Boswell was placed on IR leading up to the Steelers Week 10 game against the New Orleans Saints. After missing the mandatory four games, he returned to practice and was eligible to return as early as this week.

Chris Boswell missed the Steelers Week 8 matchup but was not placed on IR until after the Steelers bye week. Boswell popped up on the Friday injury report in Week 8 with a groin injury which forced the Steelers into making the practice squad addition of Nick Sciba who was then elevated to kick. Just before Boswell was placed on IR, the Steelers signed Matthew Wright off the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad who has kicked for the Steelers the last four games. After missing two field goals in Week 10, Wright has been perfect on his field goals and extra points over the last three games.

On the season, Boswell is 12 or 16 in field goals and nine of nine on extra points. Boswell has also made five of his six field goals attempted from over 50 yards.

In the expected corresponding roster move, the Steelers have released kicker Matthew Wright.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare to host the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at Acrisure Stadium at 1 PM.

Mel Kiper pegs Steelers as a team to watch in the 2023 Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 1:00pm
Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN’s long-time NFL Draft expert thinks the Steelers could surprise some people in the 2023 NFL Draft...

The 2023 NFL Draft is still a few months away, but draft news is beginning to make the headlines, as underclassmen are choosing whether or not to return to school. Mock draft season is not far off in the distance, and the Senior Bowl is less than two months away. With the college football regular season in the rearview mirror, it is time to begin breaking down team needs and prospects who could potentially fill them.

When someone mentions the NFL Draft, the first figure that comes to mind is typically Mel Kiper Jr. Say what you want about the long-time ESPN analyst, but the draft would not be what it is today without his influence. Many people love to disagree with his comments, but when he is talking about the draft, people listen, whether they want to agree or not.

In a recent article discussing the biggest questions in the 2023 NFL Draft, ESPN’s panel of NFL Draft analysts were asked to give “other teams” who could be intriguing to watch in Round 1. “Other teams” was pertaining to non-obvious teams who are not already talked about at nauseum. Kiper answered this question first and chose the Steelers. Here is what he had to say on the matter.

The Steelers have picked in the top 11 just twice in the past 20 years, and one of those was a trade up (for linebacker Devin Bush in 2019). I went to No. 11 there because that’s where they got Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 and where ESPN’s FPI has them projected in 2023. They just took quarterback Kenny Pickett in Round 1 last year, so they don’t have a need at that position. New general manager Omar Khan could try to add capital via a trade back.

The biggest intrigue surrounding the Steelers’ draft plans has to begin with new general manager Omar Khan. The Steelers are not loaded with draft capital by any stretch of the imagination, but they do currently hold three selections inside the top 50. Under Kevin Colbert, the Steelers rarely moved up and down the draft board, but could that change with Omar Khan running the ship? As an aggressively-minded draft analyst, I certainly hope so, but only time will tell. The Steelers lack depth at many positions, and moving back and gaining additional picks could speed up the rebuild if they choose the right prospects.

On defense, the glaring need is cornerback. It is clear the Steelers have no CB1, and based on a good chunk of the 2022 season, it is difficult not to wonder if the Steelers even have a true CB2. Levi Wallace has progressed nicely as the season has moved along, but Ahkello Witherspoon has been incredibly inconsistent, and Cameron Sutton has had his own lapses in coverage when the unit has not been fully healthy. Tre Norwood has not been used overly much, and Arthur Maulet does not really belong on an NFL roster, period.

On offense, it starts and ends with the offensive line. Can somebody please tell Omar Khan that left tackle is an important position to prioritize? The “get away with mediocre” mentality at left tackle has to change at some point, and in a class with several first-round prospects at the position, the Steelers would be wise to take a thorough look. The interior of the line could still use some help as well.

With all that being said, Omar Khan, Andy Weidl, and the Steelers scouting department will be keeping close tabs on all positions, and Steelers fans will be waiting with anticipation to see which way the team chooses to go.

What do you think about the Steelers as it pertains to the 2023 NFL Draft? Do you think the Steelers will be one of the more intriguing teams to pay attention to this spring? Be sure to share your thoughts on this and all things NFL Draft in the comment section below!

Steelers remove injury status for all questionable players in Week 14

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 11:52am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have received good news on the injury front ahead of the Week 14 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14 at Acrisure Stadium, and, after winning back-to-back games leading into this division rivalry, the health of the team is paramount.

Heading into the game vs. Baltimore the Steelers had three players on their injury report with a game status. The three players listed as questionable were:

  • T.J. Watt (ribs)
  • Malik Reed (back)
  • Diontae Johnson (hip)

On Saturday afternoon, the Steelers announced all three of the players listed as questionable were upgraded, and removed, from the injury report.

This from the Steelers official Twitter account:

LB T.J. Watt, WR Diontae Johnson and LB Malik Reed have been upgraded from their previous status of being questionable for tomorrow’s game vs. Baltimore.

Each now has no injury status designation and is expected to play.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 10, 2022

The Steelers removing Watt, Johnson and Reed from the injury report means they are all expected to play, and is tremendous news for the team as they hope to win their third game in a row and improve their status in the AFC Playoff Picture.

Of the three players who were banged up after the Week 13 win vs. the Atlanta Falcons, T.J. Watt would certainly headline the group. Watt, since returning after the bye week from his stint on Injured Reserve (IR), has been banged up. Following the scare with his pectoral, and having his knee scoped, the rib injury clearly hampered his overall ability. When playing the Ravens, even with Tyler Huntley at quarterback, the Steelers defense will need Watt at as close to full strength as physically possible at this juncture of the regular season.

There could be other news surrounding the Steelers heading into the game Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they press on throughout the 2022 regular season.

Examining the Steelers’ potential path to the playoffs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 10:30am
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a 2-6 start, making the Wild Card Game isn’t as impossible as it may appear.

Six weeks ago, the Steelers sat at a dismal 2-6 subsequent to a thrashing at the hands of the Eagles in Philadelphia. Those donning black and gold wanted to simulate to the end of the season and even began pondering whether prized Alabama edge rusher Will Carter could wind up in Pittsburgh.

Now, in early December, Mike Tomlin’s team is right where it’s found itself in so many seasons: in the thick of the playoff chase. Sure, the Steelers might be listed in the “In the Hunt” category, but it’s a reassuring surprise to see Pittsburgh’s young nucleus fend for a postseason berth.

Entering the team’s Week 14 matchup against the Ravens, the 5-7 Steelers sit in third place in the AFC North and 11th in the AFC overall. Per Football Outsiders, Pittsburgh has just a 1% chance of claiming a division title and a 6.1% shot at making the playoffs. While not astronomical, those odds are, at least, not zero.

According to those same projections, the Chiefs, Bills, Titans, Dolphins, Bengals and Ravens all have over 90% chances to qualify for the playoffs. That leaves just one spot remaining, and a number of contenders who could sneak into the No. 7 seed and final Wild Card.

In addition to the Steelers, which teams should Pittsburgh fans follow? What do these squads’ remaining schedules look like, and how might this remaining qualifying spot shake out? Let’s break it all down.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 5-7

AFC Seed: 11th

DVOA: 18th

Remaining Schedule: Ravens, at Panthers, Raiders, at Ravens, Browns

Riding a two-game win streak, the Steelers have clung to the jaws of victory and turned an infinitesimal shot at mid-January into a mild possibility.

While winning one-score affairs over the Colts and Falcons is not wholly impressive, Pittsburgh’s running game has found success, and its offense continues not to turn the ball over, setting a likely franchise record in clean slates. That recipe, paired with a defense that’s made strides since 2021, could take a team far.

It’s absolutely imperative for Tomlin’s team to get a win against a Lamar Jackson-less Ravens team this week and to improve to 6-7. From there, Pittsburgh really (maybe) can only afford to lose once in its next four contests.

While the Raiders’ cataclysmic loss to the Rams on Thursday night likely knocked Las Vegas out of the playoff picture, that Christmas Eve game will still be significant. Further, a lot could be on the line with the Browns in Week 18 — more on Cleveland in a bit.

Regardless, the Steelers have nobody to look to but themselves if they want to eke their way into the dance. Win out following a similar formula, and suddenly a hot, nothing-to-lose 10-7 Pittsburgh team could be a tough matchup.

New York Jets

Record: 7-5

AFC Seed: 7th

DVOA: 9th

Remaining Schedule: at Bills, Lions, Jaguars, at Seahawks, at Dolphins

Although New York’s offense has been turbulent in 2022, its defense has held strong. Buoyed by Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley, Sauce Gardner and more, Gang Green ranks fifth in defensive DVOA.

While the Jets currently hold the last seed in the AFC, New York faces a daunting schedule, with three of its last five games against teams currently in playoff position. The Jets did topple the Bills earlier this year, but the team hasn’t won in Buffalo in three seasons. Plus, the competitive Lions are not a pushover.

The Jets have remained a competitive team, and Robert Saleh’s offense appears steadier with the feisty Mike White at the helm; the franchise’s first playoff berth since the 2010 season is in reach. However, don’t be surprised if New York loses this last spot due to a whale of a schedule.

New England Patriots

Record: 6-6

AFC Seed: 8th

DVOA: 12th

Remaining Schedule: at Cardinals, at Raiders, Bengals, Dolphins, at Bills

Following a three-game win streak, New England has cooled off of late, dropping consecutive Thursday night clashes against the Vikings and the Bills. Behind Matthew Judon and a stellar secondary, the Patriots’ defense is superb, yet its offense is just 24th in DVOA and middle of the pack in scoring 20.8 points per game.

Monday’s game in Arizona against the Cardinals feels like a must-win, as does the following Sunday’s matchup in Las Vegas. From there, the Patriots will likely be underdogs in their last three games.

In light of offensive struggles, a tough slate and little current momentum, don’t expect Bill Belichick to add another playoff appearance to his historic resume in 2022.

Los Angeles Chargers

Record: 6-6

AFC Seed: 9th

DVOA: 26th

Remaining Schedule: Dolphins, Titans, at Colts, Rams, at Broncos

The Chargers appeared to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender after a resounding offseason, but the team has not lived up to expectations. Injuries to stars combined with poor situational play has left the team at .500, though Football Outsiders feels that record is an overestimate.

If Los Angeles can win one of its two upcoming games against the Dolphins and Titans, the path to going 10-7 is certainly possible. Yet, given that this team has been nearly impossible to figure out — including losing its last game to the Raiders. I wouldn’t count on Brandon Staley’s squad rallying at this point in the year.

Cleveland Browns

Record: 5-7

AFC Seed: 10th

DVOA: 14th

Remaining Schedule: at Bengals, Ravens, Saints, at Commanders, at Steelers

Given how much the Browns’ defense has underperformed this year, the fact that Cleveland still has a shot at the postseason is rather remarkable. Major credit goes to Jacoby Brissett, Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper for even keeping this team afloat.

Kevin Stefanski’s team has won two straight, but its victory in Houston was not exactly impressive. The Browns scored three touchdowns on a Donovan Peoples-Jones punt return, a Denzel Ward fumble return and a Tony Fields pick-six. Meanwhile, Cleveland mustered only six offensive points, as Deshaun Watson looked quite bad in his return from an 11-game suspension.

The Browns face a major uphill battle in facing the red-hot Bengals in Cincinnati, which projects to end in a loss. Cleveland would likely have to win out and end 9-8 to make the playoffs, but accomplishing that when facing the Ravens, Commanders and Steelers isn’t exactly probable.


Based on the outlines above, the No. 7 seed in the AFC will presumably finish either 10-7 or 9-8. The Patriots and Browns have slim chances to finish with such records given both their team tendencies and upcoming opponents, while the Chargers would have to seriously right the ship and get hot at the right time.

Effectively, that leaves the Steelers and the Jets. Expecting Pittsburgh to win four of its final five games is realistic, which would put Tomlin’s team at 9-8. Even with the Jets at 7-6 after a likely loss in Buffalo this Sunday, New York should capitalize on weaker Lions and Jaguars teams to make it to nine wins.

Notably, the Jets hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Steelers after New York’s Week Two win in Acrisure Stadium — that loss could seriously haunt Pittsburgh in five weeks. Regardless, Steelers fans should pay specifically close attention to Gang Green over the rest of the regular season.

Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Week 14 vs. the Ravens

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 9:00am
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Once again, the players who are questionable for Sunday’s games will be a huge factor.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading back home to Acrisure Stadium after getting two road wins. As the season rolls on, the true nature of the depth chart has come much more into focus, but injuries are still a driving force when it comes to the inactive list every week. For Week 14, the Steelers have three players listed as questionable so it’s not out of the realm that a roster move or practice squad elevations could be coming by Saturday’s 4 PM deadline.

The rules in the 2022 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from the last two seasons. As long as a team has eight offensive lineman who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in previous seasons. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. The Steelers may need another wide receiver or outside linebacker for the game based on who is questionable, so any elevations would be telling.

Game Status

OLB T.J. Watt (ribs)
WR Diontae Johnson (hip)
OLB Malik Reed (back)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Ravens on Sunday:


None- Since no players have been ruled out at this time, this category is empty.

Most Likely:

QB Mason Rudolph- The Steelers are going into their 13th game and I’ve completely run out of things to say about a player who has yet to get a helmet.

G Kendrick Green- Did you read what I wrote about Mason Rudolph? Yeah. Same applies here.

CB Josh Jackson- Right now Josh Jackson is hanging on as insurance in the secondary until another cornerback returns to take a spot on the roster. So with William Jackson not starting his window this week, Josh Jackson gets another 53-man roster paycheck while standing on the sidelines.

LB Mark Robinson- Yes, the Steelers have two players who are questionable at the linebacker position. But it’s outside linebacker. Robinson continues to red shirt.

DL Isaiahh Loudermilk- With DeMarvin Leal returning last week, Loudermilk went back to inactive. It’s good to know he’s still there in case someone is injured, but otherwise the Steelers just have too many players on the defensive line and I don’t see that making the move yet with Tyson Alualu being the one not getting a helmet.


OLB T.J. Watt- Yes, he’s questionable. I don’t know that T.J. Watt is worse than he was last week, so for that reason I think he plays. But I really have no idea.

WR Diontae Johnson- Apparently this hip injury is new for Johnson. If he can’t go, the Steelers will need another wide receiver.

OLB Malik Reed- Being a full participant the last two practices, I’m surprised Reed ended up with a questionable status. I am somewhat curious if it would be to mask something with T.J. Watt if the Steelers have to add another OLB from the practice squad which would still add mystery up until inactives are announced. But I’m probably overthinking it.


A practice squad elevation- While the Steelers did it once this season after Minkah Fitzpatrick’s appendectomy, calling up a player from the practice squad just in case and then having him inactive both uses one of the players elevations and does dip into the salary cap a little bit. The Steelers are usually good at determining if a player is going to play or not and then making the appropriate move. So if someone is elevated, I expect them to be active.

Projected Inactive List:
  1. Mason Rudolph
  2. Kendrick Green
  3. Josh Jackson
  4. Mark Robinson
  5. Isaiahh Loudermilk

This list is really easy to predict at this time when it would simply be five players. If a practice squad elevation happens later today, then the player at the position elevated would get pushed onto the list. For example, if Cody White is elevated from the practice squad then I would expect Diontae Johnson to be inactive. So 4 PM on Saturday is definitely something to look at when it comes to injuries. Otherwise, I think this is the standard five going forward for the rest of the season if it has to be healthy scratches unless the Steelers make a roster move otherwise.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.

Can Mike Tomlin orchestrate another non-losing season in 2022?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 7:30am
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At one point it seemed like a losing season was inevitable, but is it now?

There are a lot of different stats and facets of the Pittsburgh Steelers which, while impressive, can annoy some fans. For instance, while many love the fact the Steelers own six Super Bowl titles, the fact they haven’t even been to the big game since 2010 gets under fans’ skin.

Another stat which is sure to cause some to be uneasy would be how Mike Tomlin has never suffered a losing season. While impressive, many feel this is nothing more than a celebration of mediocrity. After all, this is the Pittsburgh Steelers we’re talking about. Where every season is championship, or bust.

Earlier in the 2022 regular season, while sporting a 2-6 and 3-7 record, it looked as if the Tomlin non-losing season narrative will finally be put to rest. For many, this would be cause for celebration, but after winning back-to-back games and getting the team’s record to 5-7 nothing is certain.

In other words, you have to ask if it’s possible Tomlin is able to coach his team up to a 9-8 record, this would be assuming there wouldn’t be a tie on their overall record. Is it possible for the team to do it? With only one loss to spare, it seems daunting, but it remains a possibility.

This is something which was discussed on ESPN, and the folks at the worldwide leader in sports see Tomlin as doing enough to get the job done and keeping his non-losing streak alive.

Here’s what they said:

Mike Tomlin is going to coach his way to a winning season after all

We did this one a couple of weeks ago, and I believe I called it an overreaction. But the Steelers have won two straight games — and three of their past four — to improve to 5-7 after a 2-6 start. The 19-16 victory in Sunday’s field goal fight with the Atlanta Falcons wasn’t pretty, but the standings don’t have a column for “pretty,” and the Steelers found a way to win.

With five games left in the season, Tomlin has to go 4-1 (or 3-1-1) to keep alive his remarkable streak. Tomlin is in his 16th season as Steelers head coach and has never finished a season with a losing record.


All right. He’s got me. I’m not ready to say he’ll do it, but I think you have to at least acknowledge the possibility. The only loss the Steelers have in their past four games was a very close one to the Bengals, who were as good as any team in the league in November.

Pittsburgh’s remaining games are home against the Ravens, at Carolina, home against the Raiders, at Baltimore and home against the Browns. You’re telling me they can’t go 4-1 (or 3-1-1) against that schedule? Especially if Lamar Jackson isn’t playing for the Ravens? I’ve reached the point where I’m no longer comfortable telling Tomlin what he can’t do. That was my bad.

As they said in the above blurb, let’s list out the Steelers’ remaining games:

Week 14: vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 15: at Carolina Panthers
Week 16: vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Week 17: at Baltimore Ravens
Week 18: vs. Cleveland Browns

This current Steelers team is ridiculously difficult to predict in every way. Nothing the team has traditionally done, like sacking the quarterback, has been easy this season. Could the team get hot and string together some big wins? Absolutely, but in the same breathe they could fall flat and stumble to the finish line.

It’s at this point where I ask you, the reader, what you think. Do you think Tomlin will find a way to get the job done? Or do you think this will be the year the non-losing season streak is snapped? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the 2022 regular season.

Steelers vs. Ravens Week 14 Preview: BTSC’s Q&A with Baltimore Beatdown

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire

Preparing for the Steelers and Ravens Week 14 showdown, I asked Baltimore Beatdown some burning questions leading up to the AFC showdown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their 2022 regular season Week 14 game with a game at home vs. the Baltimore Ravens. A tough task for the Steelers, despite them winning back-to-back games for the first time this 2022 regular season.

With this being such a big game, not like every game isn’t a big game, I was able to ask Kyle Barber of Baltimore Beatdown, SB Nation’s Baltimore Ravens website, five questions leading up to the game.

Check out the Q&A below, and be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook for all your betting needs this season.

The Ravens’ offense, even with Lamar Jackson, has been mediocre at best since the bye week. Having scored 13, 27 and 10 points, what are the main issues with the offense?

A number of things have culminated in the Ravens’ offense not delivering as a whole.

To begin, wide receiver Rashod Bateman suffered a season-ending foot injury. Behind Bateman is a young, unproven group that hasn’t delivered on their opportunities which were there for the taking. Instead of 2020 sixth-round receiver James Proche and 2021 fourth-rounder Tylan Wallace playing No. 2 or No. 3 roles, the Ravens have operated with Demarcus Robinson, a veteran they signed after the first round of cuts, and 36-year-old DeSean Jackson.

Another part has been the lack of success running the football on designed run plays. Lamar Jackson (and Tyler Huntley last week) have been successful in breaking loose and scrambling, but the designed rushing attack has struggled in and out of games. Part of this is due to the running back situation, where they didn’t have running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards to begin the season. This, paired with the offensive line struggling to congeal and consistently open lanes sporadically has forced further difficulty. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley being in and out is another big factor.

The red zone is the final number. The Ravens are struggling to score once they’ve made their way into the final 20 yards. Some of the issues are due to scheme, but the plays have been there for the taking. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Robinson dropped a touchdown in the end zone. As did tight end Mark Andrews, and so did tight end Josh Oliver.

On the other side of the football is a defense which has been stellar since the bye week. Throw out the 28 points surrendered in the loss to the Jaguars, and the defense has held opponents to single-digits. While we know what they do well, where are the weaknesses in the Ravens’ defense?

The Ravens seem to go as cornerback Marlon Humphrey goes. When he’s in, it feels like half the field has been negated. This has led to teams attacking cornerback Marcus Peters, or whoever is on the opposing side. Peters has been up-and-down, and recently opened up about doubting his abilities and his ‘football mortality.’ So, passing against not Marlon Humphrey is a good start.

It does feel as though the Ravens have few weaknesses on defense. After adding linebacker Roquan Smith, he and Patrick Queen have been flying around and making plays consistently. The defensive line as a whole has been solid and the pass rush has turned into a solid rotation of Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul, Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh.

Tyler Huntley is one of the more proven back-up quarterbacks in the league. What does he do which gives Ravens fans confidence, and what does he do which has them uneasy about him starting in Week 14 in Pittsburgh?

Huntley is a player that can do run the same scheme as Lamar Jackson, which is a credit to Huntley. He’s quick and gets the ball out or gets turned upfield in a hurry. He doesn’t buy time and try to play hero ball, he simply goes out and hurries it up and is willing to put it on the line to win the football game.

Things that feel uneasy about Huntley includes his accuracy. His interception against the Broncos wasn’t due to a great read, but a poor decision and poor throw. He also doesn’t appear to throw the ball deep. He had, I believe, the shortest yards per attempt on Sunday and it’s a consistent theme.

Momentum is huge in the NFL, and teams want to be playing their best football at the end of the season. What are the Ravens doing well right now, and what needs improved if they want to make a deep run in the postseason?

The offense must finish drives and find plays that get them in the end zone. You cannot trot out your kicker three-plus times after failing to score a touchdown and expect to win football games.

The rushing attack has to be able to bulldoze anybody. This is a run-first team. Yes, some squads will be more difficult to run against but when you build an offense specifically to run on anybody and everybody, it must produce.

At the time of this writing, the Steelers are 2.5-point favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook, at home. What do you think of the spread, and how do you see this game playing out at Acrisure Stadium??

I think the spread makes sense. The Ravens are the underdog, especially with Huntley as their starter. But, it’s going to be a close battle, as they tend to be, with both teams leaning on their defense and run game.

I think if Ronnie Stanley plays this could be a Ravens victory. But, if Stanley isn’t there protecting Huntley, I can’t imagine a way they escape hostile territory with a victory down their franchise quarterback and left tackle.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for their Week 14 game vs. the Ravens this Sunday in Pittsburgh, PA.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 12/10/2022 - 5:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

We here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

Nonetheless, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each podcast.

Here We Go, The Pregame Show: No Lamar doesn’t mean that Ravens Week equates to Ravens weak

Without Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens will be at a disadvantage against the Steelers on Sunday. However, Tyler Huntley isc experienced and could be dangerous, and his team can’t be taken lightly. Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Kevin Smith for Here We Go, the Steelers Pregame Show. The BTSC duo break down the Steelers like no one else does as Coach Smith and BAD talk the threat that is Baltimore Ravens.

Check out the rundown

  • News and Notes
  • Recap
  • Steelers vs. Ravens
  • Dude of the Week
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

Steelers Friday Night Six Pack: Steelers may be a win away from playoff contention

The Steelers looked to be teetering on the bringing of total destruction at the bye. Now, after winning three of four games, they may be one win away from truly being in playoff contention. That, plus, how about that rivalry with the Ravens, huh? That and more on this episode of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack!

Checkout a rundown of the show:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Right back at the brink of inclusion
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

State of the Steelers: So, you’re saying there’s a chance?

28 years ago, Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas uttered the famous words to everybody that finds hope in the most impossible of situations. “So, you’re saying there’s a chance?” can apply to the Steelers in the midst of a turnaround. That’s the latest topic of discussion from Daniel Jay on the State of the Steelers. Join Daniel for the latest new offering from the Behind the Steel Curtain family of podcasts in addressing the Steel City’s gridiron club.

Checkout a rundown of the show:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • There’s a chance
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Week 14 Edition

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/09/2022 - 5:45pm
Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the Black & Gold!

It’s Friday again, so it’s time for the six pack of questions. It seems as if Jeff and Dave come to a consensus in cutting to the chase...

This week, I, Dave, will be tasked with the questions up for discussion.

The rules are still the same...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

Procedural Note: Since the title feature has gone away, please feel free to leave your usual title as the first line of your response and even bold it if you can for the ease of others.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

1. After going 1-3 in each of the first two quarters of 2022, the Steelers went 3-1 in the third quarter of the season. Throwing the extra game into the final stanza, what record over the final five games do you feel is both realistic and would be considered successful to roll into the offseason on a positive note?

2. It’s Ravens week! Do you think the Steelers-Ravens rivalry is just as strong in the past based on the teams and not the players, or is it not what it used to be with so many names that played a big part in epic matchups no longer there on both sides?

3. After a rough first game with the Steelers in 2022, kicker Matthew Wright has settled in and has been perfect the last three games. With Chris Boswell returning to practice yesterday, how do you think the Steelers should handle the kicking situation for Week 14? If Boswell seems ready after two practices, do you bring him back or hold him out for one more week just to be sure?

4. Lamar Jackson is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game after not practicing all week with a knee injury? T.J. Watt is listed as questionable for the Steelers as he attempts to heal from his rib injury on top of returning from IR from his pec/knee. Who do you think is the bigger loss if they don’t play on Sunday: Jackson or Watt? Why?

5. How do you think the game plays out on Sunday in regards to points? Do you look for both teams to break out and score some points, or do you think they will be at a premium? Which scenario do you see playing out:

  • A: Both teams scoring 21 points or less
  • B: Both teams going over 21 points
  • C: One team over 21 points, the other 21 or under

6. It’s December, which means it’s Christmas season. To piggy-back off Jeff’s question last week, what is the most overrated Christmas movie of all-time in your opinion? Please explain your answer...

Stay safe out there!

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...



We added some new shows and a new platform to our podcasts...if you haven’t checked out our full lineup of morning, noon, and evening shows, give them a try by listening below!

NFL Odds and Predictions: Picking all the Week 14 games against the spread

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/09/2022 - 2:00pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Several of the BTSC staff pick all the NFL games both against the spread and over/under point totals

The 2022 NFL season is well underway! There are no more undefeated teams remaining, but the Philadelphia Eagles still only have one loss on the season. On the other end of the spectrum, there is one team with only one win going into Week 14 in Houston Texans who also have a tie.

For the 2022 NFL season, nine members of the BTSC will be picking every game against the spread and the over/under point totals. This feature will show all the games for the week including games on Thursday and Monday. Those specific game picks will be featured in the open thread articles for each game. Please remember we are not experts on betting or any kind of sports gamblers. We are just a group of Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans saying who we think will come through each week.

We are using the same program as the last two years called Tallysight. It allows us to show picks in a much more “friendly to the eye” manner. To understand how it works, the default tab is for our picks against the spread. To see the over/under picks, click the “O/U” tab in the upper left. Also, make sure you scroll on the graphic to see all the picks. If there are quotation marks next to a pick, it means the person making the selection made a comment about the game.

When picking against the spread, it was a three-way tie where Jeff, Bradley, and I led the way at 9-6. Bringing up the rear was Geoffrey and Shannon at 6-9. I still currently lead for the season against the spread at 104-86 followed by Kyle at 99-91.

It was Kyle who was way out in front in the over/under picks last week going 11-4. Mark brought up the rear this week at 4-11. For the season, Shannon moved ahead at 95-84 just ahead of Geoffrey at 94-84. Combining both against the spread and the over/under, there are four of us all with 194 correct but all with a different number of missed picks based of pushes. So Jeff leads the way at 194-187 followed by Kyle at 194-188, me at 194-189, and Shannon at 194-191.

So here are the picks for the games for Week 14 of the NFL season. Please feel free to list your choices in the comment section below and play along! Odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Steelers Injury Report: 3 players questionable for Sunday’s game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/09/2022 - 12:40pm
Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Only two players were limited in Friday’s practice.

The Pittsburgh Steelers exited last Sunday’s game with a victory and relatively healthy when factoring in how late it is in the season. As the Steelers took the practice field for their final official day of preparation for the Baltimore Ravens, there were no players who did not participate while two were limited. In the final injury report of the week courtesy of the Steelers PR Department, three players are questionable for Sunday’s game.

Steelers PR Department

One player who did not practice much last week ahead of the game against the Falcons was running back in Najee Harris. As he continues to nurse his oblique injury, Harris did not practice on Wednesday. On Thursday, Harris was able to return as a limited participant. Friday saw Harris as a full participant with no injury designation for Sunday.

One player specifically mentioned by Mike Tomlin on Tuesday who is banged up is outside linebacker T.J. Watt. On Wednesday, Watt was limited in his participation just like he was every practice last week. Thursday saw Watt held out of practice completely was he listed as not participating. Watt returned to practice on Friday as a limited participant and is once again questionable to play for the second-straight week.

Another player constantly dealing with injury but has been able to suit up for all but one game this season is Larry Ogunjobi. Dealing with a toe injury, Ogunjobi did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday. As has happened in previous weeks, Ogunjobi returned as a full participant on Friday and has no injury status.

Missing his first offensive snap of the 2022 NFL season, Chuks Okorafor returned to the game after one play despite his shoulder injury. With Coach Tomlin stating Tuesday they may cut back on Okorafor‘s workload early in the week, he did not practice on Wednesday. On Thursday, Okorafor progressed to being a limited participant. The progression continued on Friday as Okorafor was a full participant with no injury status for Sunday.

Another player not previously mentioned as dealing with an injury is outside linebacker Malik Reed. Listed as having a back injury, Reed did not practice on Wednesday. On Thursday, Reed was back as a full participant. Despite being a full participant again on Friday, Reed is listed as questionable for Sunday.

Yet another player on the injury report for Wednesday was wide receiver Diontae Johnson with a hip injury. In the first practice of the week, Johnson was a limited participant. Unfortunately, Johnson went in the wrong direction and did not practice on Thursday. Friday saw Johnson’s return as a limited participant and he is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Thursday saw a new edition to the injury report in Cam Heyward. As has been the case, Heyward was given the day off not related to injury and he returned on Friday with no injury status for Week 14.

As for the Ravens’ injury report, you can see the names below when available.

Matt Canada and Kenny Pickett now tasked with trying to keep everyone happy

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/09/2022 - 11:30am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been improving, but keeping everyone happy throughout will continue to be a challenge.

“There’s not enough footballs to go around.”

This saying, or something similar, has been used when talking about the game of football and the myriad of offensive players who want the football. Outside of the quarterback position, there is no way of guaranteeing anyone the football on most plays.

After the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 13 win over the Atlanta Falcons, a lot has been made about George Pickens being visibly upset on the sideline as he ended the game with only one catch for two yards.

Mike Tomlin called it a non-story in his Tuesday press conference, but that didn’t stop the media from running with the narrative throughout the week. Regardless of story lines or narratives, the Steelers offense, which has been improving since the bye week, is now faced with a good problem to have.

Keeping everyone happy.

There was a time when the Steelers offense was just trying gain enough yardage for a new set of downs, and it has gotten to the point where both coordinator and quarterback are given the task of keeping everyone happy.

During his Thursday media availability, Matt Canada was asked about Pickens, and what he thought of the receiver wanting the football,

“George and I have got a great relationship.” Canada said. “We laugh a lot about a lot of things, and I won’t share it with you all. But George wants the ball and I want George to have the ball. So does everybody else. Sometimes the ball doesn’t find you. He will continue to learn and grow on how to talk about that and do those things. But the fact that George wants the ball, there’s nothing wrong with that. We just have to express it in the right way and work at it. We’ll all keep working to do that, because he’s a really, really good player. I have no issue with him wanting the ball.”

A reasonable answer from a coordinator who doesn’t want anyone to think/feel there is somehow a problem within the coaching staff or locker room. The natural follow-up question to the above answer is how do the Steelers plan to get Pickens the ball more?

“That’s a great question.” Canada responded. “I think if we’re playing how we want to play, every week that may happen. I’m not sure everybody’s going to get the ball as much as they want every week. We’ve got Pat [Freiermuth], we’ve got Tae [Diontae Johnson], we’ve got George, and we’ve got some other guys in there, [Zach] Gentry, Steve [Sims], Gunner [Olszweski], [Miles] Boykin. We’ve got some guys who all probably want to catch some passes and plus the backside of the backfield plus we want to run the ball. I mean, I know it probably looks really, really easy, but to do that all the time and get everybody the ball and have a running game and all those things, it’s all dictated by the game. Some games it’s different than others and obviously, I think it’s also very easy to play quarterback with a clicker and say, “What about this, and what about this?” There’s a reason there’s only 32 guys starting in the National Football League this weekend.

“I don’t have a great answer. Obviously, getting him involved. We have plays to do that. We had a couple of them last week, they just didn’t fall the way we wanted them to get him going. I’m not minimizing that we need to get him touches. I don’t think anybody is, but sometimes those things occur. It happened to him this week, it’s happened to other guys in other weeks. It’s just football when you have that many weapons, and if we continue to evolve and slowly grow as we’re hoping we will, that may happen at times, because they may decide to take a guy away or lean a safety a certain way or give us an opportunity to run the ball more. All those things are part of it.”

While it may sound simplified beyond belief, is the answer to just just run more deep routes with Pickens? To give him those 50-50 balls which he has had a knack for bringing down throughout his rookie season?

“Yeah, I think that’s fair. And then sometimes when he doesn’t, finding ways to get him those balls, I think that’s probably a work in progress all the way around. He obviously is a deep threat, but he can do other things, too. So that’s part of it.”

While Canada has to draw up the plays, Kenny Pickett has the most difficult job. If a play is designed to go a specific way, Pickett’s pre-snap read, the offensive line holding up and his decision making ultimately result in players being satisfied with the looks they do, or don’t, get on any particular game day. When it comes to getting people the ball, Pickett knows his receivers all want the same thing — to win.

“They’re competitors, man.” Pickett told media Wednesday. “Everyone wants the ball; everyone wants to win. Like I said after the game, you never know who’s going to have that big game. Sometimes it may not be you one week, it may be another guy, and it kind of bounces around like that. That’s just kind of how it is depending on how the defense is and where they’re dictating me to go with the football. So, we’ll continue to push forward and get our playmakers the football.”

Keeping everyone happy isn’t easy for an NFL offense, but it’s a lot easier to stomach if the team is succeeding. Will the offense have a knee-jerk reaction to Pickens’ desire for the football and give him an unusually high amount of targets vs. the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14? That will be a factor in the game this Sunday, but it’s likely no matter what happens, someone won’t be happy.

There are times you don’t envy those in charge of spreading the ball around...

Steelers NFL Draft Stock Report: Risers from Conference Championship Week

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/09/2022 - 10:00am
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Georgia DL Jalen Carter and TCU QB Max Duggan headline the final NFL Draft stock report of the season.

The 2023 NFL Draft is still months in the distance, but with college football having arrived, the beginning stages of the 2023 draft process has begun. With that in mind, it is time to dive into this past week’s biggest games in the college football world, taking a look at draft prospects who improved their stock based on their performance.

Offensive line is definitely an area the Steelers need to address, and the most likely resource for the solution is indeed the draft. Concerns at cornerback and linebacker also loom large over the Pittsburgh’s head. Although we will certainly break down prospects at other positions this season as well, these will be the primary positions of emphasis, especially early in the season.

Nearly every week during the season, there are several highlight games that steal the headlines, but even when these games overshadow the rest of the college football landscape, we will not be negligent of the other games and prospects in action. Every week during the season, we will recap the previous week’s action and determine whose stock rose the most as it pertains to the NFL Draft.

As always, be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, but without further adieu, here are the highest of highs from Conference Championship Week!

Jalen Carter | DT | 6’3”, 300 lbs

Carter was not completely healthy earlier in the year, and it affected his play in the first half of the season. However, Carter improved by the week once healthy, and and his stock is continuing to ascend as we near the College Football Playoff. In the SEC Championship Game against LSU, Carter was a constant menace on the interior, accumulating 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. He also deflected a pass at line of scrimmage. Carter’s quickness, hand usage, and strength make him nearly unblockable at times, and Ohio State’s offensive line will have quite the task in slowing him down in the Peach Bowl. He is making a case to be the top overall prospect in this draft.

Max Duggan | QB | TCU | 6’1”, 210 lbs

If you missed the game and are looking solely at the stats, you may not come away impressed. However, the heart that Duggan displayed throughout the contest was as the heart of a champion. His performance as a runner in the fourth quarter was one for the ages, as he made plays happen when he was getting help from nobody else. Despite coming in a losing effort, Duggan completed 18 of 36 passes for 251 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He also added 110 rushing yards on 15 carries. Duggan does not have the strongest arm, but he is a gamer that plays every down as if it is his last. He could be an intriguing option for a team once we hit early Day 3.

Dorian Williams | LB | Tulane | 6’1”, 230 lbs

Williams is rapidly rising on boards, and for good reason. Whether it be defending the run, blitzing, or dropping into coverage, Williams has proven his ability to do it at a high level. Currently a Day 2 prospect, Williams impressed late in the season, and he capped it off with a strong performance in the AAC Championship game, recording 10 tackles, 8 solo tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 hurry, 1 pass defended. If his tests well athletically, he could ascend as high as the early to mid second round.

Others Who Improved Their Stock

Charlie Jones | WR | Purdue | 13 REC, 162 YDS
Michael Barrett | LB | Michigan | 10 TCKL, 1 SCK
Mohamoud Diabate | LB | Utah | 8 TCKL, 6 SOLO, 3 TFL, 2 SCK
Gabe Reid | EDGE | Utah | 5 SOLO TCKL, 2 SCK, 3 TFL
Andrew Vorhees | OL | USC | Did not play; USC’s OL gave up 7 sacks in his absence
Sedrick Van Pran | C | Georgia
Olu Oluwatimi | C | Michigan
Dylan Horton | DL | TCU | 5 SOLO TCKL, 2 SCK
Tyjae Spears | RB | 22 CAR, 199 YDS, 1 TD
Davonte Brown | CB | UCF | 1 INT

Which NFL Draft prospects caught your eye this weekend? Let us know in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for everything you need to know as we get closer to the 2023 NFL Draft!

Expert Picks: Steelers vs. Ravens a classic toss-up game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 12/09/2022 - 8:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Time to check in and see who the experts like in Steelers vs. Ravens Sunday in Week 14.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens are slated to face off in Week 14 of the 2022 regular season, and there are a lot of narratives between these two teams. For the Ravens, they are trying to show they are the cream of the crop in the AFC. To prove they are not just AFC contenders, but AFC favorites, even without Lamar Jackson who is out with a knee injury.

As for the Steelers, they are trying to continue to stack wins and climb back to being a relevant team. After beating the Atlanta Falcons in Week 13, and their first time winning back-to-back games this season, they are hoping to continue their winning streak over the Ravens to five games. There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team, and there remain huge question marks with the team as they continue further into the regular season.

For those who follow the current betting lines, the Steelers opened as 2-point home favorites, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. At the moment of this being published, the line has now moved to the Steelers being 2.5-point favorites heading into Week 14.

(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.)

At this point, it is time to check in and see who the pundits, who call themselves experts, like in this showdown in Pittsburgh Sunday.

As you can imagine, this game is as close to a toss up as you can have. Every possible outlet, from ESPN, SB Nation, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports and CBS Sports alike are split on who they like in this AFC North grudge match.

Those are sites where people just check a box on a website and move on with their lives. However, there are some who spend more time pouring over these picks, and provide some analysis than just a winner and loser.

For those type of experts, one which is talked about a lot is Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. Prisco predicts a Steelers win in Week 14.

Kenny Picket is 3-1 in his last four starts for the Steelers as they make a little late-season push. The Ravens have had offensive issues with Lamar Jackson, and now he’s out. That means it’s Tyler Huntley time at quarterback. The Steelers defense is playing better, so that’s not a good thing for the Ravens.

Pick: Steelers 24, Ravens 13

Like Prisco, Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News also goes in-depth on every one of his picks heading into Week 14 Sunday. Iyer sees a Ravens win, and a close one at that.

Lamar Jackson is hurting again, this time with a knee injury that should keep him out for at least one game, if not more. The Ravens are facing another late-season fade out of the AFC playoffs with their North lead being very precarious again. Tyler Huntley, however, is one of the league’s best backup QBs and the Ravens should like their chances to get the running game going here to support having this matchup’s more dominant defense. Kenny Pickett will have major trouble with their pass rush and secondary after the run is shutdown.

Pick: Ravens win 20-17

As for the experts at the Pro Football Network, they like the Steelers to hold serve at home vs. the Ravens in Week 14.

This point spread surely will swing dramatically in the coming days, depending on Lamar Jackson’s injury prognosis. If Jackson can return, the Ravens probably will be favored. Otherwise, Pittsburgh should be at least four-point favorites. For now, I’m comfortable taking the improving Steelers.

Against-the-spread prediction: Steelers

Moneyline winner: Steelers

These are just a few sites who make weekly NFL picks. When you think about all those sites not listed above, this is when we turn to our friends at NFL Pick Watch, a site dedicated to tracking NFL expert picks by the week. They take all expert picks and put them into an easy-to-read graph for fans to enjoy. When it comes to the Steelers vs. Ravens game, a whopping 60% of NFL experts like the Steelers straight up, with 57% of the experts liking the Steelers to win and cover the spread.

What do you think about the upcoming game? Will the experts have it right? Or are they way off? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the Ravens in Week 14.


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