The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Steelers Chaotic Week 5 Win Over Baltimore

Recap of the Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers on 10/8/2023
Sarah Seader
Weekly Professional Football Recap

The Pittsburgh Steelers were set to face off against their longtime rival, the Baltimore Ravens, at 1:00pm on Sunday, October 8, at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.  The game felt like a crucial one this early in the season, as both teams were still trying to find their identities and what better way to do that than in an old-fashioned rivalry game.  This felt like one of those games where physicality wins, and one big play can change the entire outcome.

The two head coaches, Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh, are the second and third longest tenured coaches in the league, with Tomlin entering his 17th season as the Head Coach of the Steelers, and John Harbaugh in his 16th season.  The two have faced off 33 times prior to Sunday’s matchup, with Tomlin leading the head-to-head, 18-15. This goes to show the continued relevance and success that these two men have brought to their organizations, with only two losing seasons combined, both from John.

The game started out somewhat slow, with both sides punting the ball away on their first possessions, but it didn’t take long for Baltimore to capitalize.  After being granted good field position to start their next drive, the Ravens were able to keep the ball on the ground and move it down the field for a touchdown on a 14-yard run by running back Justice Hill, making it 7-0 Baltimore early on.

The Steelers would go the whole first quarter without scoring, or even picking up another first down, as the question marks surrounding the offense continued to be a concern for them, and it was obvious how frustrated the fans were, booing every time the Steelers ended up punting the football.  Finally, with a little over five minutes left in the first half, leave it to the defense to make a big play.  Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was able to chase down Justice Hill and punch the ball out for a fumble, which was then recovered by Steelers’ safety Damontae Kazee which seemed to get the ball rolling for Pittsburgh fans.

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The Steelers would go on to kick a field goal on that drive, thanks to two plays from George Pickens that accumulated for a total of 27 yards.  Going into halftime, the score was 10-3 in Baltimore’s favor, with neither offense amounting to much.

The second half didn’t get much better, as the first five drives were all punts, and it had proven to become a defensive player’s favorite kind of game.  The following drive by the Ravens started at the 20, and was moved back 10 yards for a holding call, resulting in a three and out where the Ravens were punting it back to the Steelers out of their own endzone.  Special teams Captain Miles Killebrew made what was the play of the game so far, as he came off the line of scrimmage hot and was able to block the punt, which caused the football to fall out of the back of the endzone for a Steelers’ safety, giving Pittsburgh two points and the ball back, 10-5 Ravens.

The Steelers would manage to get in field goal range before failing to convert on another third down, and settled for three points cutting the lead down to two, making it 10-8 with just over seven minutes left to go in the game.  The Steelers’ defense continued to make plays on that side of the ball, as they pushed the Ravens into yet another three and out, forcing them to punt.  Gunner Olszewski is a guy who has been fighting for his roster spot after making some questionable plays in the past couple weeks.  Olszewski was back deep for the Steelers, and while the punt return started out well, Gunner actually managed to run into his own guy and got hit at the same time. This caused the ball to break free and the Ravens picked it up and took it all the way down, inside the Steelers’ 10-yard line for a first and goal opportunity.  This really sucked the life out of Steelers fans, after gaining a sense of hope with the plays by the defense.  Now, Pittsburgh would be counting on them again.

The first two plays were managed well by the defense, only allowing two yards and setting up a 3rd and goal from the five yard line.  Lamar Jackson, quarterback for the Ravens, had been let down by his receivers all day, as they had more drops in this game (7) then they did in their last four games combined (6); but this time, it was his decision-making that was the issue.  On 3rd and goal, Jackson stepped back and threw a high lob pass in the corner of the endzone to veteran wide receiver, Odell Beckham, when the Steelers’ defense managed to make another huge play.  This time, it was rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. who was able to jump the route and intercept the ball in the endzone, giving the steelers another chance at victory.  1st and 10, ball at the 20-yard line, four minutes to play, down two.

The Steelers would begin to move the ball, picking up two crucial 3rd down conversions to keep the drive alive.  Kenny Pickett seemed to look comfortable, as he had been here before, seeing he already has four game winning drives in 16 career starts for the Steelers.  He was delivering good throws and seemed to keep his composure in check.

With just over a minute left in the game, Kenny Pickett was set up in the gun on a 2nd and 9 from the 41-yard line, just outside field goal range.  At the line of scrimmage, Kenny Pickett called some kind of audible, and pointed to wide receiver George Pickens, signaling a route for him.  Pickett made the audible, called hut, and looked directly to Pickens.  With Baltimore in man coverage, Pickett recognized and threw a deep ball over the top to Pickens, who managed to bring it down and find the endzone for a Steelers’ touchdown.  The Steelers took their first lead of the game, 14-10, after failing the two-point conversion.

Now, with only about a minute to play, Baltimore got the ball back with a chance to answer, but they would need a touchdown.  On the second play of the drive, the defense came through again, as Alex Highsmith got around the offensive tackle and managed to hit the ball as Lamar was getting ready to throw, causing a fumble and giving the football back to Pittsburgh with a minute left in the game.  Pittsburgh would add another three points from a field goal and the Ravens would fail to get a first down, resulting in a 17-10 win for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kenny Pickett ended the game 18/32 (56%), 224 yards, and a touchdown.  His ability to limit turnovers plays an important role when it comes to the outcomes of these games.  His stats on the season sit at 95/159 (60%), 1,027 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.  George Pickens was able to put together yet another great game, as he finished with six receptions for 130 yards, and the game winning touchdown.

Baltimore fell to 3-2, and 2-1 in the AFC North.  The Ravens will travel to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, to take on the Titans in the NFL’s international series next Sunday, kickoff being 9:30am EST.

The Steelers go into their bye week with a record of 3-2 overall, and 2-0 in the AFC North.  With everything considered, its remarkable that they somehow take the #1 spot in the division through five games. They return to action on October 22 at 4pm as they take on the Rams.  Wide receiver Dionte Johnson is reported to return in that game, as he feels “100% healthy,” according to him, which is a great sign for Pittsburgh’s offense going forward.

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About the Contributors
Andrew White, Sports Editor

Andrew White is the Sports Editor and serves as a staff writer for the CalTimes.  He has a deeply engraved passion for sports and loves to inform the community about the local teams, both on and off campus. He is a Senior here at PennWest California, majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Business Management.

Growing up in Brownsville, PA, Andrew is a die-hard Yinzer and will always have a place in his heart for the city of Pittsburgh and where he came from.  He serves as a play-by-play commentator for California’s basketball teams and hopes to land a career in Broadcasting, Public Relations, or Media Writing down the line, with his main goal being finding success as a play-by-play commentator.

Andrew is involved in CUTV, WCAL, CalTimes, and dips his hands in some graphic design work as well. He will be graduating in May and looks forward to his next steps of his career past PennWest California. He is the son of Tami and Stephen White of Brownsville, PA.

Sarah Seader, Editor-in-Chief

Sarah Seader is the Editor-in-Chief and a Staff Writer for the CalTimes and a Senior Honors Student at PennWest California, pursuing two degrees in Business Administration Management and Management Information Systems with a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship as well as a Data Science Certificate. Sarah serves as the PennWest California Student Trustee.

Sarah is involved serving as the President of the SAI Board of Directors, President of DECA, President of Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD), Student Government Executive Board serving as Vice President, Vice President of Finance Club, Accounting Club Treasurer, and serves as the Treasurer on the Student Honors Advisory Board (SHAB).

Sarah is also a member of Women United, CUTV, WCAL, New Life, STAND, American Sign Language (ASL) Club, American Marketing Association (AMA), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Student Activities Board (SAB), Vulcan Gaming Club, President's Leadership Academy (PLA), The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), and serves as a Peer Mentor and Honors Coach.

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