Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Game Plan

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Game Plan

Article excerpt

When the Ravens have the ball: The Steelers held the Ravens to 200 yards, 12 first downs and didn't allow an offensive touchdown in the first meeting at Heinz Field. What's more, they haven't allowed an opposing quarterback to pass for more than 169 yards in the past six games. Joe Flacco, though, has played better at home than on the road, averaging 322.4 yards passing with 10 TDs. CB Ike Taylor held top WR Torrey Smith to just one catch for 7 yards and has held the opponent's top receiver to just one catch three times in the past six games. Smith averages 17.9 yards per catch and leads the team with seven touchdown catches. In addition, they held the Ravens to 47 yards rushing on 23 attempts -- the lowest by an opponent this season. RB Ray Rice, who leads the team with 794 yards rushing and is second with 48 receptions, had 40 yards on 20 carries. He didn't manage a run longer than 8 yards, though he did have the Ravens' longest reception -- a 31-yarder in the first quarter.

When the Steelers have the ball: The offense has struggled without QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Antonio Brown, managing just one touchdown in each of the past three games. Brown, who was the team's top receiver at the time of his injury, will return. But QB Charlie Batch will get his second start in a row because of injuries to Roethisberger and Byron Leftwich, and coach Mike Tomlin said the offensive plan will be tailored to his strengths. Batch threw three INTs against the Browns and converted just 1 of 9 third-down chances. The once-proud Ravens defense has been dogged by injuries and poor play and ranks 24th overall in the league, 26th against the rush. They allow an average of 141.3 ypg and gave up 134 in the first meeting against the Steelers. But they are doing better than during a three-game stretch last month when they allowed 207.3 yards rushing in consecutive games against Kansas City (214), Dallas (227) and Houston (181). CB Cary Williams leads the team with four INTs, including a 63-yard TD return, but part of that is because he is repeatedly targeted by opposing quarterbacks.

WR/KR Jacoby Jones ... He is the Ravens No. 3 receiver. He was held to just two catches for 1 yard in the first meeting at Heinz Field. …

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