Led by a resurgent running game and an opportunistic defense, the Ravens held on for a 16-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending a four-game losing streak to their AFC North rivals but losing quarterback Tyler Huntley in the process.
Running back Gus Edwards’ 6-yard run on third-and-4 on the Ravens’ final drive helped extinguish Pittsburgh’s comeback hopes inside Acrisure Stadium after a late touchdown. After another dramatic finish, the Ravens (9-4) stayed atop the AFC North and moved one step closer toward a return to the postseason.
With Huntley (concussion protocol) knocked out of the game midway through the third quarter, the Ravens leaned on running back J.K. Dobbins to carry their offense. In his first game since Week 6, Dobbins rushed 15 times for 120 yards and a touchdown (8 yards per carry). The Ravens (9-4) ran for 215 yards overall, averaging 5.1 per carry.
Both teams had to turn to their backup quarterback in their first meeting of the season. Rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett left the game in the first quarter with a possible concussion, forcing Week 1 starter Mitchell Trubisky back in control.
In a boom-and-bust return, the former No. 2 overall pick finished 22-for-30 for 276 yards and a touchdown, frequently targeting star cornerback Marlon Humphrey in coverage. But he also threw three interceptions, all of them picked off inside the red zone.
Huntley (8-for-12 for 88 yards, nine carries for 31 yards) left the game midway through the third quarter on a crunching hit by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. He walked off the field under his own power but soon entered the team’s medical tent. Minutes later, he jogged off the field with Ravens staff members.
After the Ravens’ third interception of Trubisky, this one by recently returned safety Marcus Williams, undrafted rookie quarterback Anthony Brown took the field for his first career snap at the Ravens’ 1. His first drive went just 11 yards before the Ravens had to punt. He threw just five times in his NFL debut, completing three for 16 yards.
Again, Pittsburgh couldn’t capitalize on its rival’s shortcomings. After another drive inside the Ravens’ 20 early in the fourth quarter, the Steelers (5-8) came away with nothing. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell got a hand on a 40-yard field goal by kicker Chris Boswell, preserving the Ravens’ 13-7 lead.
The Ravens’ subsequent drive, a 13-play, 57-yard march led by Dobbins, helped put the game out of reach. Kicker Justin Tucker’s 30-yard field goal pushed the Ravens’ margin to nine with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh answered with a quick-strike touchdown drive puncuated by tight end Pat Freiermuth’s 10-yard score, but it wasn’t enough.
The first quarter was eventful, with no play seemingly more significant than a hit by Ravens inside linebacker Roquan Smith. On a drive-ending sack, Smith wrapped up and slammed Pickett to the ground. Pickett (0-for-1 passing, two carries for 16 yards) was evaluated for a concussion, returned for a series, then was ruled out near the end of the period.
The Ravens struck first, and then second. Tucker’s 42-yard field goal opened the scoring and broke kicker Matt Stover’s franchise scoring record. On the Ravens’ next possession, Dobbins, making his first appearance since Week 6, followed a 44-yard run with a 4-yard score. The team’s first first-half touchdown since Week 9 handed Pittsburgh a 10-0 deficit.
The Ravens’ prosperity did not last long. Trubisky found Freiermuth on third-and-9 for 14 yards, then rookie George Pickens for a 42-yard shot down the left sideline over Humphrey. Two plays later, the Ravens’ lead was down to 10-7 after a 1-yard score by running back Najee Harris.
Midway through the second quarter, another promising Steelers drive ended in the red zone after Smith, a former Chicago Bears teammate of Trubisky’s, stepped in front of a pass over the middle. It was Smith’s third interception of the season, his first in five games with the Ravens.
Five minutes later, partner Patrick Queen one-upped Smith’s pick. His leaping, full-extension grab ended another Pittsburgh drive not far from the end zone and sent the Ravens into halftime with a 13-7 lead.
This story will be updated.
Ravens at Browns
Saturday. 4:30 p.m.
TV: Chs. 11, 4, NFL Network
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Line: Browns by 2 1/2