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5 Takeaways: Steelers vs. Ravens

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1. Oher continues to disappoint- Former first round pick Michael Oher is coming off one of his worst games in his career. He had three false starts and allowed two sacks, including one that was a strip sack, but that was luckily recovered by the Ravens. After one third down where Flacco was unable to get off an accurate pass because of the pass rush that Oher had allowed, Flacco stormed off to the sideline in clear frustration. Flacco doesn’t act up, but it was clear Flacco is growing tired of the lack of protection Oher provides. Oher is a liability on this line, but there aren’t any other options to replace him on this roster. He is a free agent this offseason and I would be surprised if the team were to resign him. Oher’s days in Baltimore appeared to be numbered.

2. Torrey’s big return- In the first half of the season wide receiver Torrey Smith was having a career year. He was even leading the league in receiving yards at one point. Then, defenses started to turn their attention to shutting Smith down. He has been able to make a couple big plays in the past few weeks, but last night was his first complete game in a since the first half of the season. Smith finished with six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. He burned Ike Taylor for a 54 yard catch in the first quarter and also drew a big pass interference penalty later in the game that led to a field goal. The team will need Smith to keep playing this well over the last four games as they make a push for a playoff spot.

3. Flacco’s best performance- There was a lot of talk about the Wildcat this week, and quarterback Joe Flacco’s comments about the formation. Flacco was clearly frustrated with the team taking the ball out of his hands, but the team felt like they needed to in order to improve their run game. Last night, the Wildcat was nowhere to be found and that can be attributed to Flacco’s strong play. He completed 24 of his 35 passes and threw for 251 yards. Most importantly, Flacco didn’t throw any interceptions or put his team in a bad spot. He stood strong in the pocket and was accurate on most of his throws. He is now coming off two good performances, and that is a great sign for the quarterback who has struggled for most of the season.

4. Mr. Automatic- Ever since Billy Cundiff broke Baltimore’s heart when he missed that field goal in New England, it has been hard for Baltimore to trust their kicker. Justin Tucker, however, is doing his best job to dispel that problem. Tucker connected on all five of his field goal attempts last night, and was the difference in the game. He contributed more points to the team than the offense did, and it is nice to feel that confidence in a kicker again. As long as the offense struggles to find the end zone, it is relieving to know that Tucker will make his kicks when his number is called.

5. Defense still can’t close- Heading into the fourth quarter the Ravens held a 19-7 lead over the Steelers. A unit that has been playing so well these past few weeks was once again unable to get off the field in the fourth quarter,as Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in the final quarter. They were able to stop the Steelers from converting the two point conversion to tie the game, but ultimately the Steelers receiver dropped the ball. This group has been unable to make big plays in the fourth quarter to put games away, and that is a concern for a team that constantly finds themselves playing in close games. The Ravens aren’t able to run the clock out because they don’t have a run game, so this defense will have to find someone to make plays in the closing moments of games.


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