NFL 2015 Week 4 Thursday Game Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers face rival Baltimore Ravens without Big Ben

September 30, 2015

Week 4 of the 2015 NFL season begins on Thursday night (CBS/NFLN, 8:25 PM ET) with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) hosting the Baltimore Ravens (0-3) at Heinz Field. Although this classic matchup has produced many thrills over the years, this week's game features two unusually vulnerable teams, as each squad has dealt with significant adversity this season.

Pittsburgh enters Week 4 following a 12-6 victory over St. Louis, but will be without quarterback and franchise star, Ben Roethlisberger.  Big Ben suffered a knee injury that will likely keep him out several weeks, but fortunately, the Steelers have veteran backup in Michael Vick.

“This guy has been in the National Football League a long time,” said Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin about ick. “Nothing is really new to him. He is the type of guy that is in shape over a 12-month calendar, so getting a level of football condition is not an issue. He just brings a lot of things to the table that are helpful in the process.”

Vick will make his first start of the season after entering last week’s game in the third quarter. Vick is 59-51-1 as a starter in his career. In 13 seasons, he has passed for 22,131 yards and accounted for 167 total touchdowns (131 passing, 36 rushing). Vick’s 6,005 rushing yards are the most all-time by a quarterback.

Even at this late stage in his career, it is that dual-threat running ability that still makes Vick difficult for any defense to handle.

Vick should receive ample help from Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, as Bell tallied 132 scrimmage yards (62 rushing, 70 receiving) with a rushing touchdown in Pittsburgh's recent win. Bell now has 3,606 career scrimmage yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis (4,603) as the second player in Steelers franchise history to reach 3,500 scrimmage yards in his first three seasons with the team.

“I like the way he plays the game,” said Tomlin about Bell. “He wants to be a reason why we win. He is never fazed by the elements. He had a good look in his eye and he is always positive. Those are just some of the reasons that we like his play.”

Meanwhile, Baltimore enters Week 4 winless after its 28-24 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.

“We process this by moving on to the next game,” said Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh. “We have to play a game on Thursday night against a great football team. We have to go out there and be our best. We have to play winning football. You don’t really have time to process this, you just have to move on to the next game.”

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco completed 32 of 49 passes (65.3 percent) for 362 yards and two touchdowns for a 92.4 passer rating last week. Both of Flacco’s touchdowns went to wide receiver Steve Smith, who had 13 receptions for 186 yards against the Bengals. Smith’s 13 receptions tied for the most in a single game, while his 186 receiving yards rank as the third-most in a single game in Ravens franchise history.

Flacco enters Week 4 having compiled a 4-2 record as a starter on Thursday night. Since entering the league in 2008, Flacco has passed for 1,596 yards and eight touchdowns at Heinz Field, the most of any Steelers opponent during that span.

The Ravens have won six of the past 10 regular-season matchups against the Steelers, including a 26-6 win on Thursday night last season. Seven of those 10 matchups have been decided by three or fewer points.



DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), T Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)

DT Daniel McCullers (knee), QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), TE Matt Spaeth (hand)
CB Cortez Allen (knee)
LB James Harrison (thumb), C Cody Wallace (illness)

By Staff of and news services

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