Week 8 brought us the first matchup between AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, who traveled to take on the Ravens at M&T Stadium.
The Ravens were coming in well-rested after a bye week, in hopes of handing Ben Roethlisberger his first loss of the season. Unfortunately, the Ravens were unable to do so and the Steelers won 28-24, moving to 7-0 in the league and putting some distance between the two in the division race.
Here are five takeaways from Sunday's intense game.
5. The Pittsburgh Steelers got lucky
The Ravens were called for several crucial pass-interference penalties that allowed the Steelers' drives to stay alive.
Two of those calls came in the middle of the fourth quarter, which helped set up the game-sealing touchdown by Steelers rookie Chase Claypool.
The Steelers' win was mostly due to their defense, which had two interceptions, four sacks and forced four fumbles. Roethlisberger and Co. were able to capitalize on those turnovers, but the referees during the game were certainly on their side as well.
4. The Baltimore Ravens' defense is still good
While the Ravens' defensive numbers cannot live up to what the Pittsburgh Steelers accomplished, they were still able to limit the Steelers' offense well despite the scoring.
Roethlisberger was held to just 182 passing yards and sacked twice, while running back James Conner was only allowed 47 rushing yards. In terms of receiving, JuJu Smith-Schuster was the leading receiver with seven receptions for 67 yards.
On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed 265 rushing yards and 208 receiving yards to Baltimore, almost half of which Willie Snead had with 106 receiving yards. The Steelers just traded for Jets linebacker Avery Williamson, who could be of help in the run defense department.
3. Lamar Jackson must improve his performance
Another reason for the Ravens' loss to the Steelers was Lamar Jackson and his performance on Sunday. Jackson threw two interceptions in the game, including a pick-six on the opening drive.
Jackson had not thrown two interceptions in a game since Week 5 of 2019, which was coincidentally against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The reigning league MVP was also responsible for three of the four fumbles the team had during the game, including a fumble on the potential game-winning drive.
Considering the team was coming off a bye week, the Ravens should have been ready for everything. Hopefully this was simply an off day for Jackson, and he will bounce back against the Colts in Week 9.
2. Are Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins the future for Baltimore?
With running back Mark Ingram II still out due to an ankle injury he suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles, it has opened up an opportunity for some young guys the Ravens have on their roster. Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins dominated on Sunday against the Steelers. Edwards had 16 rushes for 87 yards and a touchdown, while Dobbins had 15 rushes for 113 yards.
Considering the cap hit the Ravens have on Ingram's' contract and his age, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Ravens decide to part ways from him and stick with the two youngsters who thrived against the number one ranked defense coming into Week 8. Hopefully Edwards and Dobbins can continue to produce like this in the future.
1. Who will end the Steelers' win streak?
Looking ahead at the Steelers' remaining schedule, there are four possible teams that can hand them a loss: Cincinnati Bengals, Ravens, Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts. The Bengals are certainly a dark horse after beating the Tennessee Titans, who lost in a close match against the Steelers last week.
Until the Steelers meet the Ravens at Heinz Field on Thanksgiving Day, it seems like they have easy wins ahead of them. They face the Dallas Cowboys next week, before taking on the Bengals after that, and then the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be an interesting few weeks before Thanksgiving Day.