What We Saw: Week 18

Week 18 was one of the craziest of the season thanks to Jacksonville's stout defense

Steelers @ Ravens

Final Score: Steelers 16, Ravens 13 (OT)

Writer: Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)


With both teams fighting for their playoff lives, this game figured to be one of the best watches of the week. Unfortunately, both offenses were terrible and for most of the game the most fun anyone watching had was seeing the NFL Twitter community figure out what would happen if this game ended in a tie, which it almost did. As neither offense could really move the ball most of the early drama came from T.J. Watt chasing the single-season sack record, which he tied but did not break after a play initially ruled a sack for Watt was changed to an aborted snap. After the teams traded interceptions and field goals The Ravens scored the first touchdown of the game early in the third quarter on a long Latavius Murray run. Pittsburgh answered with a field goal and took the lead late in the fourth on a short touchdown reception by Chase Claypool. The Ravens drove down the field for a field goal to tie the game at 13, and after both teams traded punts we went to overtime. Baltimore won the coin toss but their drive stalled out and they were forced to punt. The Steelers’ game-winning drive wasn’t pretty but it was clutch, featuring a 3rd-and-8 conversion by Pat Freiermuth and a 4th-and-8 conversion by Ray-Ray McCloud. Najee Harris, who was forced to leave the game in the first half with an elbow injury before returning for the second half, put the Steelers comfortably into field goal range with his longest run of the day and the Steelers were able to edge out the victory 16-13. Thanks to some help from the rest of the AFC the Steelers made the playoffs, giving Ben Roethlisberger at least one more start in what looks to be his last season.



Pittsburgh Steelers




Ben Roethlisberger: 30/44, 244 yards, TD, INT, Sack | 3 carries, -4 yards


In what was likely his last regular-season game Ben Roethlisberger spent most of the day struggling to make throws. Any pass further than 10 yards down the field was a struggle for Ben. For most of the game, the Steelers couldn’t get any offense going. Roethlisberger was a little more effective in the second half, but it was still an offense based entirely around short passing plays. His lone touchdown was a short throw to Chase Claypool.



One of Roethlisberger’s lone throws downfield resulted in an ugly interception when he made a terrible decision to hang a ball thrown into double coverage.



In the end, Roethlisberger led an impressive drive to give the Steelers the win by shaking off back-to-back brutal drops by his receivers to find Ray-Ray McCloud to convert a 4th-and-8 and put Pittsburgh in position to kick the game-winning field goal. Big Ben’s presumptive final season will go at least one week longer.


Running Backs


Najee Harris: 11 carries, 28 yards | 4 targets, 4 receptions, 27 yards

Benny Snell Jr.: 12 carries, 22 yards


Najee Harris suffered an elbow injury early in the game which forced him to miss a good chunk of the first half. When he returned with a big elbow wrap Harris had no room to run and was often lucky to fall forward for just a few yards. Like his quarterback, Harris saved his best play for overtime when he broke a 15-yard run that ended up being the final positive play for the Steelers before they kicked the field goal. While Harris was out Benny Snell filled in. Snell similarly had no room to run, but unlike Harris Snell contributed nothing in the passing game. In total, the running backs combined for just over two yards-per-carry.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Diontae Johnson: 10 targets, 7 receptions, 51 yards

Chase Claypool: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 37 yards, TD | 3 carries, 33 yards

Ray-Ray McCloud: 9 targets, 4 receptions, 37 yards

Pat Freiermuth: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 53 yards

Zach Gentry: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 39 yards


Diontae Johnson and Ray-Ray McCloud played in two-receiver sets, with Chase Claypool joining them in three-receiver packages. Johnson led the way in targets and receptions but had a terrible drop on third down in overtime. He did a good job of creating separation when he had the chance, but the Ravens were able to sit on shorter routes for most of the game which made it tough for Johnson to find single coverage at times. McCloud also had a bad drop on the final drive, but he redeemed himself by securing the catch to convert the critical fourth down. Claypool scored the only Pittsburgh touchdown and was the only player able to consistently generate solid gains. Both Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry were heavily involved as the Steelers used a lot of two-tight end sets. Freiermuth had a clutch catch in overtime to convert a long third down and Gentry had the longest play of the day for the Pittsburgh offense on a nice catch and run.


Baltimore Ravens




Tyler Huntley: 16/31, 141 yards, 2 INT | 3 Sacks | 12 carries, 72 yards


Tyler Huntley has been impressive filling in for the Ravens but he looked the part of an overmatched backup today. He struggled with the constant pressure generated by the Pittsburgh pass rush and he missed a few easy throws as a result. His first interception was a terrible overthrow of Mark Andrews which appeared to be dropped by the defender, but the ruling was that Andrews downed the defender before the defender lost control of the ball.



Huntley’s second interception was a terrible decision to force the ball to Andrews again, this time in the end zone when Andrews was double covered.



As a rusher, Huntley was very effective and there were a few scrambles where it looked like he would for sure be stopped in the backfield before he managed to wriggle away. But ultimately his inability to move the ball through the air, especially when targeting anyone besides Andrews, was too much of an issue for the Baltimore offense to overcome.


Running Backs


Latavius Murray: 16 carries, 150 yards, TD

Devonta Freeman: 5 carries, 21 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 6 yards

Ty’Son Williams: 1 carry, 4 yards


Latavius Murray got the bulk of the work for the Ravens and scored their only touchdown on a long touchdown run that frankly came out of nowhere.



The play was well-blocked, but credit to Murray for accelerating away from the defense once he found a crease. Murray was the best offensive player on the field today even aside from the long run, as he kept generating positive runs. Devonta Freeman operated as the change of pace back but he didn’t contribute much, and Ty’Son Williams was a complete non-factor.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Marquise Brown: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 27 yards

Rashod Bateman: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards

Sammy Watkins: 1 target

Mark Andrews: 16 targets, 8 receptions, 85 yards


Mark Andrews saw a ridiculous 16 targets today as Huntley just locked on to his big tight end. Andrews made a few nice catches, including a reception that went for the longest passing play of the game at 28 yards, but the Steelers did focus their defensive attention on him which led to the low catch rate and relatively modest receiving total. Marquise Brown never got going in this one but did secure enough receiving yards to go over 1,000 yards on the season. Rashod Bateman had one long catch down the middle of the field, and Sammy Watkins was not targetted until overtime.


 — Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)

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