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Uninformed Recap: Ravens Beat Steelers in OT, 20-17

The Steelers at Ravens game was a twofer. Here's the boxscore. It had 2 of the Green Bay Packers' next 3 opponents. 

In between their games against the Ravens and Steelers, the Packers play the Bears in Chicago. I watched a little of the Bears at Vikings game, but what I did see was ugly (for the Bears). Their defense has looked bad for weeks, and they couldn't do anything to stop the Vikings. 537 yards for the Vikings, and the Bears only had 169. In the 2nd quarter, despite their meager offensive performance, the Bears drove twice into Vikings territory, only to watch QB Jay Cutler throw back-to-back drive killing INTs. And why did they give up their (high) 2nd round pick in 2010 for DE Gaines Adams? He only has 3 tackles in 6 games.

As far as the Steelers at Ravens game goes, my recap is uninformed because I don't know a lot about either team. They both have great defenses, through week 11, according to Football Outsiders, the Steelers had the No. 3 defense and the Ravens' D was No. 4.

The Steelers were able to run straight up the middle, which was where RB Rashard Mendenhall, who had 24 carries for 95 yards (4.0 YPC), went every time he carried the ball. The Ravens D might have lost a step. Just as the Packers have lost Kampman and Harris, the Ravens have lost their top pass rusher, LB Terrell Suggs (torn MCL), and a starting cornerback, Fabian Washington (torn ACL). But the Steelers were forced to start 2nd year QB Dennis Dixon, his first career start, and he was just overmatched. On the Steelers final offensive play, Dixon misread a zone blitz and he threw an INT right at the Ravens' rookie defensive lineman. Overall, Dixon only completed 12 of 26 attempts for 145 yards, but you could tell at times during the game that the Steelers offensive coordinator had lost some faith in him.

The Ravens offense is built around getting the ball to WR Derrick Mason and RB Ray Rice. Though WR Mark Clayton had a big game, 7 catches for 129 yards, that was due in large part to the awful coverage by Steelers CB William Gay. Mason is still a good, Donald Driver type receiver. Rice is an explosive playmaker and he's maybe even more dangerous as a receiver. I don't see how any team can cover him with a linebacker. Despite generating 393 yards of offense, it was boom-or-bust. Most of that yardage came on their 3 scoring drives, while the rest of the time they struggled and were forced to punt 6 times. Their offense isn't any better than the Vikings or Cowboys.

And while the Packers are still No. 1 in most penalty yards allowed per game, the Ravens are a close 2nd. They had 9 penalties for 80 yards against the Steelers, including a killer special teams penalty that erased a huge punt return near the end of regulation. If that return hadn't been called back, the Ravens would likely have kicked a late game winning FG, instead of having to win in OT.

The Packers and Ravens are two comparable teams, and both teams need to keep winning to keep pace for a wild card spot.