The Pittsburgh Steelers finally got into the win column on Monday by taking down one division rival and finding a way to get around another will give them their first winning streak. The Steelers will pull whatever tricks they need to get the ball moving when they host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
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Pittsburgh lost franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending injury in Week 2 and watched backup Mason Rudolph struggle in Week 3 before dusting off the wildcat formation with some success in Monday's 27-3 triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals, and switching things up is the new normal for the team. "We're given circumstances and the players available to us," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. "We'll shape a plan that puts us in a position to win this one with the current mix of players and under the circumstances, and I acknowledge that it could be different. We're just in a fragile state right now. We need to do whatever it is we need to do to move the ball and win football games." Moving the ball has proven to be easier of late against the Ravens, who allowed a total of 73 points in back-to-back losses to Kansas City and Cleveland the last two weeks. "We're not a defense that gives up big pass plays," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh told reporters. "We just never have been, not consistently. And we're not going to be that this year, and it's going to get fixed. It should have been fixed last week."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Ravens -3.5. O/U: 44.5
ABOUT THE RAVENS (2-2): Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is in his first full season as a starter and enters the week fifth in the NFL in passer rating (109.4) while leading all NFL QBs in rushing yards (238). The 22-year-old threw his first two interceptions of the campaign in last week's 40-25 loss against Cleveland and is striving to improve as defenses adjust to his unique skill set. "I did well in some parts of the game, but I could've done a lot better," Jackson told reporters, referring to the lost against the Browns. "Could've helped my team more. We got stopped like five times. The game would've been totally different. We've got to be better and it starts out here (in practice)."
ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-3): Rudolph completed 24-of-28 passes in Monday's win but averaged only 8.2 yards per attempt and Pittsburgh elected to rush the ball 25 times despite limited success to take some pressure off the young quarterback. "When you've got a young quarterback, sometimes you can assist them by turning a 70-play game into a 50-play game," Tomlin told reporters. "I thought it was good for him to chew up some of those snaps to limit some of his exposure to the defense while putting the ball in the hands of some capable men and being able to produce some plays." Running back James Conner led the team with eight receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown in the win but suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and is questionable for Sunday after being limited in practice.
1. Steelers DT Cam Heyward (quad) left last week's game and is questionable for Sunday.
2. The Ravens signed LB Josh Bynes and waived LB Tim Williams.
3. The visiting team took each of the two meetings last season, with Baltimore earning a 26-14 triumph in Pittsburgh.
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Key Players to Watch
- SuspensionElig Week 5 | out
Hurst will have to wait until Week 5 against the Chargers to make his team debut as he will have to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
- KneeQues Week 1 | questionable
Breeland is on the mend from a torn ACL and meniscus in his knee, leaving his status for Week 1 versus the Browns in question.