For the final Two-Minute Drill of the 2021 NFL Regular Season, we’re making this all about Steelers Week.
Sure, I bet some of you are lamenting this game, and feel like it’s a futile effort on a lost season, but there’s still plenty of storylines worth discussing as we head into the final week for the Ravens facing their bitter rival:
- Big Ben’s impending retirement
- T.J. Watt’s potential to break the NFL single-season sack record
- Mark Andrews‘ potential to break the single season TE receiving yards record
- Hollywood Brown’s chance to be the Ravens first 1k wideout since 2017 and only the 4th during the Harbs regime.
See? Plenty of content to soak in this week…
So let’s break into it… wait, let’s knock this out first.
About Last Week…
The Ravens lost a close game again. It stung. It was this close but came up short, and now we can blame coaches, injuries, coordinators, play calls, penalties… pick your poison, we’ll all view the losses different. Time to move on.
Back to Steelers Week…
Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get this train back on the tracks.
A lot will be made of Big Ben’s retirement in the broadcast, and listen: despite what you and I think of Ben, or his off-field persona, or his insatiable need to hide behind a walking boot when things went south, or his threats of retirement over the last handful of years that would make Brett Favre yell ‘attaboy!’ I think it’s absolutely justifiable, the praise he’ll receive. At the end of the day, Ben was a warrior, a helluva quarterback, and a worthy nemesis for a long time in this rivalry. When we think ‘Ravens-Steelers’ you think of Ben on the Yinz side of the equation the same way you think about Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, or Terrell Suggs on the Ravens side. It’s only fitting that his final NFL game to be in Baltimore…
…and for the Ravens to send him packing with one final loss.
Ben aside, there’s the potential for a few Ravens to be singing their swan song that would go widely under the radar on Sunday. Will we see Calais Campbell playing in his final game? What about Jimmy Smith?
If I was a betting man, I’d expect Jimmy to squeeze in one more run with the Ravens on a one-year deal to add depth to a desperately thin secondary headed into 2022, but I do believe this will be the end for Calais.
Then there’s the records on the line.
Watt is just one sack away from tying the NFL single season sack record, and a sack and a half away from setting it.
I would hope and pray that the Ravens bring in extra lineman, keep Eric Tomlinson out there, chip with backs, or whatever they can do to keep Watt away from Tyler Huntley. Hell, if I’m Greg Roman, I’m not dialing up any deep drops or deep shots – keep everything on the ground or quick passes in this game to keep Watt the hell away from Huntley!
The other record that’s not being discussed as much is Andrews’ chance at the single season Tight End receiving record. Currently, Andrews sits at 1,276 yards, which is good for the 7th most in NFL history. If Andrews plays to his season average of 80 yards, he would end with 1,356 yards… good for 3rd all time. But should he ‘go off’ in this game for 141 yards? He would set the all-time record ahead of Travis Kelce’s 2020 season (1,416 yards).
It’s worth noting that it’s not out of the realm of possibility: Andrews had 147 yards versus the Colts in Week 5, and 136 yards just a few weeks ago against the Packers (with Huntley under Center).
Alright, let’s jump into the game prediction… and let’s shoot for the damn stars!
With a potential slop-fest on the docket (high chance of rain for game time), I expect both teams to go heavy on the ground-and-pound approach Sunday, with the Ravens faring slightly better in that regard, outgaining the Steelers on the ground 120 to 80. For Baltimore, Huntley will account for 60(!) of those rushing yards, while Devonta Freeman adds 50 and a score.
Andrews gets to 100 receiving yards, but comes up just shy of the NFL record, while the Ravens beef up protection and keep Watt the hell away from Huntley, ensuring he comes up just shy of the record as well.
This game will remain close, but Baltimore opens up a two-score lead late in the fourth quarter on a TYLAN WALLACE TOUCHDOWN. Yeah. Seriously.
The Ravens close out the game and Ben Roethlisberger’s career with a fitting strip-sack by Justin Houston, and that’s all she wrote. The Ravens finish 9-8, miss the playoffs, but get the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft as a consolation prize.
I was going to do the top-5 hits against Roethlisberger to close his NFL career out, but that’s been done a few times, so instead, I’d like to honor Ben by pointing out his top-5 stats against the Ravens in his NFL career.
Top-5 Big Ben vs Baltimore Stats
- Ben has (6) career punts. For real. And (2) of them are against the Ravens for a net 30 yard average.
- Ben has (10) losses against Baltimore, tied for the most against any NFL team (which the Ravens can increase to 11 on Sunday).
- Ben’s whopping (61) sacks are the most he’s taken from any NFL franchise.
- His (11) fumbles and (5) fumbles lost are tied for the most against any NFL franchise.
- And finally… although God can have his soul, Big Ben’s (1) ass belongs to Terrell Suggs.
Let’s close out the season – and Ben’s career – on a high note!! Enjoy a wet & wild one on Sunday!!