Did that really just happen?

September 30, 2008 |

“They can’t stop me. Even if they’ve stopped me.” ~Lil Wayne.

I think the Steelers know EXACTLY what Lil Wayne is talking about.

Pittsburgh is laughing their way back atop the AFC North.

What a heart-breaker. The Ravens dominated most of the game tonight and still came out on the losing end of a 23-20 OT decision, thanks to a Jeff Reid field goal that barely squeaked inside the uprights.

Here are a few of my post game thoughts. Check back tomorrow for my weekly “You Play The Coach” segment, where you get the opportunity to give out a game ball to the most deserving player.

-Even though the Ravens lost, there are a lot of positives to take away from this game. Those guys left everything they had on that field tonight.

-The Steelers had no business winning this game, bottom line. They were dominated by the Ravens for the vast majority of the contest. I’ve heard people talk about how “unimportant” emotion is in a football game. Well if tonight didn’t change your way of thinking, nothing ever will. That moronic personal foul by Jarrett Johnson that extended the Steelers drive gave Pittsburgh enough of an emotional surge to win this game. It also gave their fans enough emotional drive to stand up and wave those god-awful terrible towels…it got the crowd right back into the game when we had both the Steelers and their fans on the ropes.

-The defensive call to blitz the A-gap on that 3rd down play in OT was the right call by Rex Ryan. It’s time to give credit where credit is due. Big Ben played a hell of a game in overtime. He stared a blitzing Ravens defense in the face and delivered a game-winning strike that gave the Steelers the necessary 6 yards to put Reid into realistic field goal range. He also wiggled his way out of several plays that should have ended with him on his backside.

-Apparently, the end of the Brian Billick era did not translate to the end of childish and stupid personal fouls. Hines Ward not only lit up Bart Scott and Ed Reed, but he made Jarrett Johnson look like an absolute fool after antagonizing him to commit a personal foul. The reason why Ward continues to smile is because he knows that he’s in their heads. I hate to admit it, but he owns the Ravens and has been the key contributor to the Steelers success in this rivalry.

-I thought the middle of the offensive line played very well, but Gaither and Terry got beat pretty bad. In any event, that was the #2 ranked defensive in the league, folks. Did you really expect Flacco to have all day to throw? If not for 2 or 3 plays, I think they did a good enough job to allow the Ravens to win the game, especially on the run plays in the second half.

-Clearly, Ed Reed’s injury is inhibiting him from making the necessary tackles. He missed a BIG ONE on that Santonio Holmes touchdown pass and wiffed on a few others tonight. He doesn’t look like he wants to tackle anybody at all…he’s simply shying away from contact and does not look like the Ed Reed that we all know. I hope his injury does not make him a liability in future games.

-Joe Flacco once again performed like a veteran tonight. He outplayed Roethlisberger for most of the game. If Troy Smith or Kyle Boller were starting, that game would not have needed overtime to delegate the Steelers as the victors.

-I’m glad to see that we stayed relatively healthy throughout this blood bath. But, good lord…McGahee’s eye looks horrible. Has there been a fined levied on that d-bag from Cleveland? If there hasn’t been, I think I might start buying into Franchise’s conspiracy theories…

-Todd Heap continues to be a non-factor in the offense. I know it’s only 3 games, but I’m concerned. Not only is he dropping catchable balls, he’s had a rather sub par blocking performance this year to say the least.

-Derrick Mason is having another very successful and underappreciated season thus far. He may be the only skill position player on offense, save the running backs, who is making plays for Joe Flacco.

-Ray Lewis looks every bit as good as he did during his last NFL Defensive MVP season. Do you wanna be the guy to tell #52 he’s lost a step? He did all he could to assure a Ravens victory tonight. I bet he’s scratching his head harder than anyone else right now.

-Haloti Ngata will make his first Pro Bowl this year if he stays healthy. So will Sam Koch.

-Stocks Rising: Flacco, Lewis, Mason, Koch

-Stocks Falling: Reed, Heap, Johnson

-Game Ball: Joe Flacco. He’s the real deal folks. Despite the loss, his performance is certainly something to be excited about.

-Where it all went wrong: Jarrett Johnson acting like a buffoon and giving Hines Ward exactly what he wants…retaliation and a personal foul. If you haven’t noticed, Ward rarely gets cited for these incidents, but he ALWAYS instigates them. Have we not learned that yet? That was the most frustrating aspect of this game for me. The Ravens all know what Hines Ward brings to the table, and they played right into his hands…again…and it cost us a win.

Check back tomorrow to give me your game ball picks. I’m going to bed, which doesn’t mean I’ll sleep…I just don’t understand how the Ravens lost.

I guess that’s part of the parity in the NFL.

Holy cliché…wait a minute…is Chris Berman writing this blog?

Talk to you tomorrow…or later today, I guess.

 

Peace.

 

AJT

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