Classic Baltimore/Pittsburgh matchup. Big hits, some turnovers, Baltimore penalties every other punt return. It was a hard fought battle but the Ravens ultimately fell apart before the Steelers did. Coupled with a Jacksonville loss to New England and a few other games falling in our favor around the league, the Steelers are still very much alive in the playoff hunt despite a highly imperfect game.
I should say, they’re still alive in the playoffs. The playoffs have already started. Lose and you’re done. Next week it goes on in Miami.
But for now, as fans, let’s take some time and bask in the glory of watching the Ravens fall at Heinz Field.
Steelers get the ball to start at their own 30 and get a bit of a drive going early. Ward and Mendenhall pick up a few first downs between them, but the drive comes to an end when Ben throws two passes off target. Sepulveda comes out and punts to the 12.
Derrick Mason blows a tire on second down and on third down, LaMarr Woodley gets some pressure and whacks Flacco on the arm. The ball flips out and heads downfield. Farrior is waiting. PICKED.
First turnover in like 3 years.
Mendenhall hits a pile for no gain then drops a pass at the goal line. Ben’s pass is batted down in the end zone. Nearly an interception.
You don’t want to get an interception at the 8 and come away with just a field goal, but the Steelers do.
Reed kicks short (surprise) and 50 Steelers wrestle the returner to the ground. Lawrence Timmons straight up does not tackle Ray Rice and he gets an easy first down. James Harrison breaks into the backfield and straight up does not tackle Joe Flacco. Seriously. Derrick Mason picks up a first down after that.
Somehow Kelley Washington gets matched up one on one with the league’s best cover man, Tyrone Carter. Flacco will take that matchup. Big play. The defense finally tightens up and forces a field goal. Billy Cundiff looks ten years old. 3-3.
Stefan Logan shows another flash of hope on the ensuing return. Out past midfield and the Steelers set up just inside Raven territory.
Ben throws a duck on second down and Mike Wallace shows up for a big time catch and a first down. And speaking of players you don’t usually talk about in the Steelers’ offense, Willie Parker actually got the ball, made a sharp cutback, and picked up a first down of his own.
Mendenhall then gets the unfortunate assignment of blocking Haloti Ngata. Ouch. Sacked. A dump off to Heath Miller sets up Jeff Reed for a narrow field goal. 6-3.
I get that points are valuable against the Ravens but field goals don’t win games.
On arguably Reed’s best kickoff of the year, the Ravens take it from the goal line to the 23. Fox missed a tackle, but Anthony Madison cleaned it up with a solid leg tackle. Madison = underrated.
On 3rd & 15, the Ravens are apparently content to punt as they send Rice up the middle on a draw. No dice. Sam Koch shanks a punt out at his own 43 yard line.
Again the Steelers set up with fantastic field position and a chance to play like a defending champion should. Santonio Holmes agrees, as he picks up a first down on a screen pass.
I kind of like when Deshea Townsend defends a pass, because of his finger wag. Nothing showy, nothing big, just a finger-wag and then back to the huddle. He’s a veteran. He’s earned that much of a taunt.
Third down comes up and Hines Ward gets tackled by a 15 year old white kid for a pass interference call. First and goal at the 5.
Mendenhall plunges up the middle and makes an ill-advised move to stretch the ball out with Ray Lewis standing over it. Doesn’t matter though; it’s over the goal line.
13-3. Awesome. Punch one in against these guys.
Anthony Madison makes a desperate tackle on a big kick return and the Ravens set up at the 39.
On the Ravens’ drive, Ray Rice breaks out of the backfield and looks like he has only Tyrone Carter to beat, but he pulls some weird juke move and Carter catches up and body slams him into the ground. Huge tackle. Carter would probably be a good tag team wrestler or something.
Flacco overthrows some WR with a made up first name and calls a timeout.
And the Ravens promptly score a touchdown because Todd Heap is three feet taller than Deshea Townsend. They kick the extra point and after some replays, Dan Fouts declares Heap was touched before sliding into the end zone. Who cares, not like the Steelers would have stopped Rice up the middle.
So Logan picks up a nice return, and Mendenhall gets the next carry. He still hasn’t quite mastered carrying the ball, and it’s easily punched out of his hand and recovered by Ray Lewis.
That’s cool though, because James Harrison has had enough of Ray Rice and kills him forcing a fumble. Ike recovers.
On the Steelers’ drive, Mike Wallace makes a sick catch for a huge gain. A 3rd & 6 comes up and Ben repeats his habit of getting sacked to move out of field goal range.
Sepulveda punts and Anthony Madison very nearly downs the ball at the one, but it bounces in for the touchback.
Bring back Chidi Iwuoma.
Mason is old, Woodley is awesome, etc. etc. 3rd & 6 and Dick LeBeau finally makes his presence felt. What other coordinator in the league has a weak DB corps, and on an obvious passing down, dial a blitz sending your best cornerback as a pass rusher? Dick LeBeau does. No one on the Ravens’ offense sees it coming. Ike Taylor gets a free rush and buries Flacco in the Heinz Field turf.
Punt downed at the 6. Ouch. Suggs bats down a screen pass. Ben tries to hand the ball off to Moore who doesn’t know it’s coming. On third down the broadcasters have already written off the Steelers’ drive. On third down, the Ravens jump offside, Ben sees a free play, and fires a shot downfield to Mike Wallace. Catch.
Heath gets a big gain on the next play. Dick Enberg loves the Heath chant (as he should, because it’s awesome).
Whatever CB is covering Santonio Holmes blitzes. Ben will take Holmes in space any day. Foxworth looks like an idiot. Landry blows a tire trying to catch Holmes. Great run after the catch, all the way into the end zone. 20-10 Steelers with :35 left.
A facemask penalty give Reed a shot at a decent kickoff from his own 45. His second touchback of the year.
Harbaugh doesn’t know how to manage a clock and mixes up long running plays with quick passes. Ike Taylor gets his hands on a jump ball down the sidelines in there and acts surprised when he doesn’t make the interception. It’s okay Ike, we know better than to expect that. We still love you.
The NFL airs a PSA about playing with concussions and how you should never hide them and always tell your local medical professionals and whatnot. Hines Ward probably calls out Roger Goodell for being too soft. The NFL is divided over the issue, split 50/50.
Baltimore gets the football to start. Where would we be without Anthony Madison? Every kick return would be a score. Seriously, bring back Chidi. Get some support out there!
If Derrick Mason and Ray Rice got on the wrong bus going home and ended up in Wilkinsburg or something, I don’t think we’d have a problem with it. They could just fade out and it would all be fine.
Rice is apparently an all-world running back. They drive down. Heap jumps over Willie Gay for the touchdown. Madison would have deflected it. Gay sucks.
Logan with another decent return. I’ve stopped waiting around for him to break one, but he’s having a good game and is consistently getting good field position.
Aaand, Holmes falls over. Foxworth is there for the pick. Ravens take over. Crap.
Mason gets his 90th first down of the game. Woodley jumps offsides on 3rd & 8. The rush got to Flacco, too. At least they hit him. They hit him again on the next play and he floats a wobbler past Heap in the end zone. Mundy with the coverage. Again, at least Flacco is getting roughed up a little.
Field goal. 20-20 tie.
Nick Eason fields the kickoff. Smartly signaled for a fair catch, and got some weird penalty for walking forward or something.
Ben gets swallowed in the backfield on second down. Heath manages his way back to the original line of scrimmage. Punt.
Ngata is an idiot and whacks Ryan Mundy an hour after the play. 15 yards. Hamptons gives that penalty right back with a hands-to-the face penalty. Some Ravens OL gets hurt. Good.
Draft Derrick Mason on your fantasy team next year because he’s good for like 600 yards in two games against the Steelers.
McGahee scores, but Deshea sells a holding call like a $1000 beach house. Of course, Rice will gladly make that all up and he keeps carrying for first downs.
Put Rice on your fantasy team, too. He has like 400 yards on us.
Derrick Mason channels his inner-Sweed and drops a pass standing still in the end zone. Awesome. Ravens commit two penalties on the next play and get a 2nd & 15. Ravens timeout.
That lineman who got hurt earlier? Idiot. He runs up to Woodley like a week after Flacco throws a pass and knocks him over right ni front of the ref. I wonder what you could do to make a stupider play. Kick him, maybe?
The Ravens end up with 3rd & 30 and the coverage downfield is awesome. An hour later the rush gets to him. Punt.
For some reason Arians still wants to run the ball at this point. Ben is forcing this drive down the Ravens’ throats and Mendenhall is wasting downs.
The thing about the Steelers right now is that they have to score every time they have the ball because the defense simply can’t be trusted stop anyone.
So, Derrick Mason catches a pass, Timmons knocks him out of the game, and he clearly drops the ball. Ryan Clark picks it up. The refs rule it an incomplete pass. Tomlin wants to challenge the play.
Remember the Ed Hochuli rule? Where you can challenge for a fumble if there’s a clear and obvious recovery despite an early whistle? Yeah, well, this crew didn’t. They declared it unchallengeable just because they felt like it apparently.
You watching? Ravens fans? Whiners? You watching that? Yeah. You’ll conveniently forget that call the next time some idiot on your team punches a guy out of bounds after a punt and you think everyone’s out to get you.
The Steelers eventually end up with the ball back anyway. Tyler Grisham makes a huge catch on third down.
He drops another one later in the drive. Nice showing kid, but that just didn’t get it done.
The Ravens get a huge return. The sad thing is, you kind of want them to score right there so Ben has a full 5 minutes to drive down and win. But Jeff Reed decides now is the time to make a tackle.
Just when you think the defense is going to collapse again, they totally show up me and everyone else in the blogophere and Joe Flacco’s pocket crumbles one down after another. They go for it on 4th down. Woodley breaks into Flacco’s kitchen and beats up on his right arm. It flips up in the air. Was it fumbled? Forward pass? Does it matter on 4th down?
Nope, Ziggy Hood picks it out of the air anyway. Steelers take over in full clock-eating mode. Or so you thought. They end up in a 3rd & long-ish. Someone comes in on Ben. He escapes. Fires downfield.
Picked off. But wait, did another Raven take a stupid penalty to negate a huge play in their favor? Why yes, Frank Walker grabbed Mike Wallace in the middle of running his route. Idiot. That could have been the game. Instead it’s 1st & 10 Steelers.
And Ben sits on the ball. Game over. Steelers win.
Still in the hunt. Here We Go.