Pittsburgh Steelers Rally To Beat Baltimore Ravens At Heinz Field

Let me preface this post by saying one thing: the drama and excitement of Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens Round III was at  a ridiculous level. Such a level, that for some reason the extreme highs and lows seemed to drain me emotionally as well as physically. I literally crashed after the game, well, I either passed out or had a mild heart attack somewhere between the first and third quarters and didn’t succumb to the pain until after the game.

The game looked to be a shootout at first, with both teams getting early rushing touchdowns, runningbacks Rashard Mendenhall and Ray Rice were certainly utilized as much as any runningback can be used against these two powerhouse defensive units. Mendenhall ultimately scored twice, Rice managed to get into the endzone once.

After the Ravens tied the game at seven points, things got extremely weird and extremely nerve-wracking for Steelers fans. On a play where Ben Roethlisberger pump faked, stepped up into the pocket, pump faked a second time and got the ball knocked out of his hands by the ultimate trash talker Terrell Suggs, everyone froze.

I don’t mean they froze in disbelief that the ball came out, but they literally froze as if the play were over. There had been no whistle however, and Baltimore’s Corey Redding picked up the loose ball and trotted in for a Baltimore touchdown. Not long after, Joe Flacco tossed an easy touchdown to tight end Todd Heap, to take a 21-7 lead that took the two teams to the half after a Shaun Suisham missed field goal – his first miss as a Steeler.

Apparently something happened in that Steelers locker room, some wanting to not have the season end in a pathetic show of indifference on both sides of the ball. Someone lit a fire underneath this Pittsburgh team at half time, and they certainly showed that on the field.

The second half belonged solely to the Steelers, with free safety Ryan Clark taking the weight of the defense on his shoulders, forcing a Ray Rice fumble that was recovered by the Steelers, and one drive later, interception a Flacco pass. By this time, Joe Flacco was obviously shaken and it was apparent that he was not going to be able to lead the Ravens to the victory.

The Ravens hung tough for a while, including tying it up with just about two minutes left in the fourth quarter, but, as we’ve seen so many times before, this is the situation in which Ben Roethlisberger makes his living – in the clutch.

The start of the show on offense wasn’t any of the usual suspects in the receiving game. It wasn’t Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, or Heath Miller. But, it was the concerted effort of the entire team, led by rookie wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, the latter hauling in a 58 yard pass that put the Steelers inside the Baltimore five yard line, where Mendenhall eventually took it into the endzone for the winning score.

Baltimore still had a small amount of light at the end of the tunnel after the dagger Mendenhall drove into their hearts, but it was not to be. On fourth down, William Gay (yeah, William Gay) broke up a pass intended for TJ Houshmanzadeh to allow the Steelers offense to come on the field and enter the ever so satisfying victory formation.

The Ravens played a very opportunistic game, but even after putting up 21 unanswered points they couldn’t dig deep and beat the Steelers at home, improving Ben Roethlisberger’s record over Joe Flacco to 6-0, and remaining undefeated against the Ravens in the playoffs.

Suggs wasn’t as forthcoming with his comments after the game, though I was a little disappointed that he didn’t reiterate his prediction that the winner of this game would eventually hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Dallas. In fact, the loudmouth seemed as if he were about to cry.

I know I’m supposed to hate Suggs, but you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. The man had three sacks and a forced fumble, and was consistently in Roethlisberger’s face. I don’t enjoy listening to him before the game, but there’s no doubt that he’s a force to be reckoned with on the field of play.

This wasn’t a game of stats, it was a perfect team effort that got the Steelers in the position to go to the AFC Championship game, for the third time in six years. It’s certainly familiar territory, and the opponent will be one the Steelers are itching to get vengeance against.

The New York Jets will travel to play the New England Patriots for the rights to play the Steelers, and it will happen tomorrow. Pittsburgh lost to both teams during the regular season, including an embarrassing home loss to the Patriots which saw rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski find the endzone three times while being covered by the same William Gay as above.

Either way, the Steelers are looking to become the first team to have two NFL dynasties entrenched in their franchise history, and I firmly believe that with a Super Bowl win this year, the 2005-2011 and potentially beyond Pittsburgh Steelers, will be counted among the NFL’s dynasties, albeit a current one.

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~ by Steel Hurtin on January 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “Pittsburgh Steelers Rally To Beat Baltimore Ravens At Heinz Field”

  1. Gay really didn’t break up the pass to Housh on fourth down..Housh dropped it before Gay hit his hands. There’s a good possibility that Gay breaks it up, but Housh just dropped it on that one.

  2. […] <More> […]

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