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Ravens-Steelers "No Better Bounceback Game Than A Rivalry Game" Live Blog

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Sunday brings the Ravens an opportunity for redemption. We all saw what happened at M&T against the Browns. The Ravens had a chance to take a commanding lead in the AFC North in their own building and promptly pissed down their leg. They played the most uninspiring, undisciplined brand of football I think I’ve ever seen in my 6 years here at Barstool Sports dot com. They’ve sleptwalk through games, they’ve choked in big moments, but never have I seen a John Harbaugh-coached team play with their thumbs up their asses the way they did.

Which is why a game like this one is a blessing and a curse. While there’s no hiding from the issues that plagued them last week, there’s no better way to get off the schnide than to beat your most hated rival in their own building while smothering all the false momentum they built up against a TRASH Bengals team. There’s no time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. Answers have to be found right now or the Ravens might fall into an 0-2 divisional hole that they come to find is just too deep to climb out of.

Now it’s no secret that the Steelers are missing their big bad QB. Boo hoo. Mason Rudolph has already shown an ability to make the basic throws and we have to make sure that we pressure him better than we did Baker Mayfield last week. Lost in the shuffle of the brutal run gap discipline last week was the fact that beyond the opening drive, Baker had night and day to throw the football. Wink Martindale did a very solid job of dialing up blitzes in the first couple of weeks of the season, but at some point some of these guys just have to be better. It’s hard to hide from the fact that the personnel in the pass-rush department has been far from satisfactory, and that was only exacerbated with the Browns OL not having to concern themselves with Brandon Williams.

That’s why I think the benefit of his expected return is twofold. Clearly we missed him and what he brings to the table as a run-stopper, but he takes up bodies in the pass-rush as well. Some of Wink’s best blitz schemes involve interior blitzes, and those come much easier when two bodies have to account for #98.

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The other thing to concern ourselves with on that side of the ball is the type of offense the Steelers featured on Monday night. It was a lot of runs off-tackle, pop passes on end-arounds with Jaylen Samuels in the shotgun, jet sweeps, etc. The type of stuff that burns an undisciplined defense like the one we featured on Sunday. Sometimes the best way to fix mistakes is to have to face them head on, and that’s the challenge for the boys this week.

Now with all of that said about the defense, it should be made clear that the defense no longer needs to be near perfect. It’s rather difficult for us Baltimore folk to have to wrap our heads around, but this is a new brand of Ravens football. We’re so accustomed to having to keep teams to a few field goals and just trying to put together 2 or 3 good drives together a game on offense, but that’s not the case anymore. We’re not a field position, grind-it-out type of team. Our offense can absolutely light it up and win a shootout now. The offense is only #1 in the entire league in points per game, among numerous other categories. Sure it may be a tad inflated by week 1 in Miami, but the fact remains. This team can put points on the board as well as just about anyone.

I’m excited to see what Lamar has in store for us in his first start in Pittsburgh. I truly don’t think the Steelers D has the gas to keep up with our downhill running attack. I also don’t Lamar will be phased one bit by going into a raucous environment against a division opponent. The kid’s shown maturity and balls beyond his years, why would this be any different?

Long story short, it’s probably too much to ask our defense to make the types of strides in one week that so many of us in Baltimore want them to. But I also don’t think they can play much worse than they did last week and I think that modest improvement will be more than enough given what the offense is capable of. Lamar and Ingram and the Gus Bus downhill all day baby. Just because there will be points galore doesn’t mean it won’t be smashmouth football. That aspect of Ravens-Steelers will always be the same. And we’re going to do it better than Pittsburgh on Sunday, belee dat.