The Ravens and Steelers are the same team in different uniforms. They both like to run the ball and play hard nose defense. So, who would have thought that these teams would have 55 points combined? This game had a lot more offense than anticipated. The Ravens have had trouble beating Ben Roethlisberger and that didn’t change on this day. The final score was 31-24 Steelers, but if you saw the first half you would have thought the Ravens scored 42 and the Steelers 13.
The first half was dominated by Baltimore. After the Steelers had a 10 play 80 yard drive which led to a one yard run by Rashard Mendenhall. The Ravens came back with their own 10 play 68 yard drive. On the following Steelers possession, Terrell Suggs forced a fumble on Big Ben and Cory Redding picked it up and scored a touchdown, while all of the other players thought the play was over. This play was very strange since all of the Ravens and Steelers were standing around think the play was over. Veteran Ray Lewis didn’t even go for the ball on the ground, and he is somebody who always plays until the whistle. This gave Baltimore a 14-7 lead and they had the momentum. In the second quarter the Ravens offense had a short field after a Steelers turnover and the Ravens scored a touchdown with 3:02 in the first half. This gave the Ravens a 14 point lead going into halftime, and many people thought that the Ravens were finally going to beat their divisional rival.
In the second half everything changed. The Steelers came out on fire tying the game within the first 10 minutes. Ray Rice, who hasn’t fumbled all year, caught a pass out of the backfield and had it stripped and lost it. This was a turning point in the game because this led to the Steelers first touchdown which gave them all of the momentum. Then Hines Ward caught an eight yard touchdown pass and the game was tied up.
Going into the fourth quarter Baltimore had 0 momentum while the Steelers had it all. The Ravens had to make adjustments on the offensive side of the ball in order to win. It is very difficult for a defense to stop a team when they are 23 or 25 yards from your end zone. The Steelers made a field goal and then the Ravens countered back with a field goal. With about four minutes to play the Steelers the Steelers were faced with a 3rd and 19. Big Ben threw a 58 yard pass to Antonio Brown who was out at the four yard line. Ladarius Webb was one on one and Brown just ran by him. Webb said after the game that he wasn’t expecting help over the top and he thought that Brown was going to stop right when he got enough for the first down. Webb guessed wrong and it hurt the Ravens because with a minute and change the Steelers scored a touchdown. On the kickoff they kicked it to Lerron McClain who got it to the 50. The Ravens were in business until Joe Flacco got sacked on third down. It was 4th and 19 and it was the Ravens last chance. Joe Flacco threw a perfect pass to T.J Houshmanzadah, but he dropped it. The ball hit him between the 8 and 4. It was a perfect pass by Flacco and it would have given the Ravens a first down. The Steelers just kneeled the rest of the time away and again the Ravens couldn’t beat Big Ben.
There are a lot of facebook status updates and tweets saying how Flacco is not that quarterback who can get you over the hump. I disagree and that is because he put the team in the position to win. On third and goal, Joe Flacco threw a ball to Anquan Boldin that hit him in the chest and he dropped it. This would have given the Ravens a four point lead and the Steelers would have had to get a touchdown. They got a touchdown but the Ravens would have some momentum and they would probably do some different things. Looking at that and saying what if, is not the point. The receivers who dropped the ball were the ones complaining all year to throw it to them. You throw a perfect pass in a big situation and you drop it. After the drop T.J went and cried on the sidelines, and he should because he knew that the pass was on the money. Boldin was covered all game and Flacco delivers a perfect pass and he drops it. All of the Ravens fans need to take a good look at this season and say, “Is it Flacco?”
There were some controversial calls that went against the Ravens and one was holding penalty on Marcus Smith during Webb’s punt return for a touchdown. Marcus Smith was called for holding when the defender basically flopped. Earlier in the week Trent Dilfer said that he hoped this game didn’t get messed up because of officiating. It was a bad call but the Ravens were only 29 yards away from a touchdown and that’s when Boldin dropped the pass in the end zone. This was a big call, but it didn’t make the Ravens lose. You don’t blame the officials, no matter how bad the call is.
The Ravens have a lot to look at this offseason because of the free agents, the age of their offense and defense. The Ravens have a lot of big free agents including, Ngata, Heap, Yanda, Carr, Wilson, Gaither, Washington, and many more. They need to look into who they need to keep in order for them to get over the hump. They can’t let Ngata go and they need corners so expect at least two of them to stay. On the age aspect of their players, you don’t know what Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, and even Matt Birk are going to do. These guys are going to take a hard look at this team and see if they are a Super Bowl caliber team; because that is the only way I see them staying here. If there is a lockout, I don’t know if any would come back but the one who probably will is Ray Lewis. The Ravens need to look into getting someone who can lead that defense when Ray is gone because the time will come when it happens.
In conclusion to the Steelers and Ravens game, you have to tip your hats to the Steelers. They made a great comeback and they never let up. Their offensive line is banged up but they are a good enough team to win with different combinations. They will be a tough game for either the Pats or the Jets and they were the better team on that Saturday.