that maybe wasn’t, but the pain of the loss was diminished by the pending accomplishment of a Wild Card berth with a rookie QB and rookie head coach.
What happened Sunday night felt much worse.
Sunday night was the night where the Ravens looked like they could FINALLY shake off the Steelers and stake their claim as the dominant team in the AFC North. It was also the night where the Ravens looked like they could finally break the Ben Roethlisberger curse (the Steelers QB has still not lost against Harbaugh and Flacco).
Despite some unfortunate circumstances (FB Le’Ron McClain was unable to play with an ankle injury, TE Todd Heap was forced to leave early in the game with a hamstring injury); the Ravens appeared poised throughout to exorcise some of the few remaining demons of the Harbaugh/Flacco era.
The controlled play throughout the game. The game NEVER felt like it was in jeopardy. Roethlisberger was clearly playing hurt. Even if the Ravens were going to have to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh, it appeared unlikely that the Steelers’ Pro Bowl QB would be able to negotiate his offense downfield 70+ yards for a miraculous victory. Especially not the way Ravens LB Terrell Suggs was playing, as he put together a performance that left multiple football scribes (including Sports Illustrated’s Peter King) gushing on Twitter.
I guess it figures that when it appeared like the demons were gone, they came right back to find them.
Ahead 10-6 with just over three minutes to play, the Ravens simply had to hold on to the football to finally claim a significant victory in the rivalry. They had just picked up a first down via a pass interference call on Steelers CB Bryant McFadden, and were moving the ball well enough that there wasn’t even much of a fear of defeat.
The city of Baltimore was prepared for a joyous celebration