If the Steelers looked like the underdog last weekend against Baltimore in the first half, they certainly didn’t waste any time shutting the mouths of ‘haters’ or changing the mind of Peter King of Sports Illustrated in the second half when they handed the Ravens a 31-24 loss.
Dismantling the Ravens
In what could be called a controversial call, one of the Ravens’ first half scores came as Ben Roethlisberger was hit from behind by Terell Suggs as he was getting ready to pass the ball. As the ball popped out of Roethlisberger’s hand, it flew into the air and hit the ground; no whistle was blown, and Baltimore’s Cory Redding picked up the ball and practically jogged into the end zone. The whistles blew then, and the Ravens were given a touchdown. Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin quickly threw his red challenge flag, but the officiating crew (much like the many NFL crews that have had eyesight issues this season) upheld the ruling and Baltimore was on top 14-7. Taking another look at this play is worthwhile.
All season long, the officials have not only been flinging yellow flags like they were at Mardi Gras, but it could arguably be called the worst season in NFL history for poor officiating. Several players, including the Steelers’ James Harrison, have been not only flagged for helmet-to-helmet hits, but also fined by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. During the play in question, not only did Suggs hit Roethlisberger in the helmet with his own, but he hit the quarterback in one of the most vulnerable places a player can be hit; directly in the back of the head. If you didn’t see it live, watch the replay one more time.
For the remainder of the first half, the Steelers looked like they had as big of a headache as I would have if I were Roethlisberger after being nailed in the back of the head. They were out of sync, they made costly mistakes, and Baltimore took advantage of every tiny bit of momentum they had following that play by going into the locker room at halftime ahead 21-7.
I have no idea what was said in the locker room, if anything, but when the Steelers re-emerged, they took complete control of the game from that point on.
Roethlisberger had a tough day. He was sacked several times in the game; three times by Suggs, once by Nakamura, once in a combined hit by Redding and Kruger, and another in a combined hit by Landry and Ngata. The time spent on the turf didn’t keep Roethlisberger from getting right back up and putting the team back together. He put together 19/32 passes for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran 6 times for 11 yards.
The Steelers defense went on the attack. James Harrison put on a sack clinic of his own, by showing Joe Flacco some turf of his own. Ziggy Hood and LaMarr Woodley also showed why they aren’t to be underestimated by posting a sack each. Woodley also recovered a forced fumble by Ryan Clark (when he hit Rice as he was catching the ball). Playing a stellar game, Clark also intercepted Flacco and returned the ball for 17 yards.
Rashard Mendenhall was able to rush 20 times for 46 yards and two touchdowns. Mendenhall sealed the win for the Steelers when he scored at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Steelers advance to the AFC Championship game Sunday against the New York Jets at Heinz Field, where once again the stands should be vibrating with the die-hard fans of Steeler Nation.
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This Examiner covers Steelers news, injury reports, statistics, collecting, memorabilia, and player bios of not only current Steelers players, but also legends and Hall of Famers. She loves comments and questions, so don’t be shy and COMMENT.
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