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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Steelers

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Steelers

Posted on 20 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Corey Graham intercepts Byron Leftwich pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders on 3rd & 8 (3rd quarter)

4. Corey Graham breaks up Byron Leftwich pass intended for Jerricho Cotchery in endzone (3rd quarter)

3. Brett Keisel defensive offsides negates James Harrison sack on 3rd & 7 (4th quarter)

2. James Ihedigbo sacks Byron Leftich for seven yard loss on 3rd & 11 (4th quarter)

1. Jacoby Jones 63 yard TD return of Drew Butler punt (1st quarter)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Tomlin’s 3rd quarter gaffe paves way for huge Ravens win in Pittsburgh

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Tomlin’s 3rd quarter gaffe paves way for huge Ravens win in Pittsburgh

Posted on 19 November 2012 by Drew Forrester

If you’ve been a regular listener to The Morning Reaction over the years, you know by now one of my personal sports adages is “the other team tries, too”.

After watching Sunday night’s 13-10 Ravens win in Pittsburgh, I need to add a small note to the end of that phrase — “and sometimes they DON’T try.”

That’s what happened on Sunday night when Mike Tomlin – with his team gouging the Ravens defense for five yards a carry all night – decided to sissy-out and kick a field goal rather than go for it on 4th and 2 from the Baltimore four yard line late in the 3rd quarter.

“Sometimes they DON’T try…”

Really, Mike?  Your running game was trampling the Ravens for the most part.  Your quarterback was literally hanging on for dear life with each hit he took.  And your defense – coupled with another unimaginative Ravens offensive effort – was doing a great job of shutting the door and keeping Baltimore close.

4th and 2 and you kick a field goal to make it 13-10?  Lame-ass coaching, that’s what that was.  As soon as I saw the Steelers line up for the field goal, I said, “This is a horrible decision…they won’t get this close to scoring again tonight.”

And I was right.  It WAS a horrible decision and they didn’t get anywhere near the red zone for the remainder of the night.

Of course, the national TV guys didn’t say a word about Tomlin’s horrible decision.  They mumbled something about the game being “a bloodbath” and “a nailbiter, as always” and forgot to mention that the Pittsburgh coach just handed the game to John Harbaugh and Company.

Here in Baltimore, we’ll gladly take it, as it helped pave the way for an ultra critical Ravens road win and a seemingly safe 2-game lead over the Steelers with six games to play in the regular season.

There’s another famous saying that goes like this:  NEVER look a gift horse in the mouth.

And Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh was a gift horse, what with Byron Leftwich lumbering around and Mike Tomlin playing safe with the game – and maybe his team’s season – on the line.

Three weeks ago in New York, Tomlin gambled with a crazy fake field goal on the Giants six yard line in a game Pittsburgh would eventually win despite the unsuccessful fake attempt.  And that was with his 2-time champion quarterback at the helm, not a stiff like Leftwich.

Sunday night, with red zone trips about as rare as a 5-game winning streak from the Pirates, Tomlin played it safe and kicked a field goal when two yards could have paved the way to a 14-13 lead and, perhaps, a shocking win.

Just like the referees helping the Ravens beat New England earlier this year…and Jason Garrett and Tony Romo aiding in a Baltimore win over Dallas…and Pat Shurmer forgetting to coach in a squeaker-of-a-win in Cleveland, the Ravens will no doubt take Sunday night’s win and head back to Baltimore with a smile on their face.

Hey, a win in Pittsburgh is a win, no matter how you do it.

Even if it takes the Steelers coach losing his man-card to get the job done, you smile at the end and say, “We’ll take it.”

Thanks Mike Tomlin.

We needed that.

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Ed Reed says win was different without Ben

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Ed Reed says win was different without Ben

Posted on 19 November 2012 by WNSTV

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Ravens likely to see old-school attack from QB-challenged Pittsburgh

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Ravens likely to see old-school attack from QB-challenged Pittsburgh

Posted on 14 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Both the Ravens and the Steelers are saying all the polite things about Pittsburgh’s new starting quarterback Byron Leftwich, who is one of the classiest individuals you’ll find in the NFL.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh even went as far as describing Leftwich as having been a “premier” quarterback early in his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but we all know better. The numbers don’t lie as Leftwich makes his first NFL start since 2009 and possesses a 79.5 passer rating over the course of a disappointing career for the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft.

If Pittsburgh is to have a chance to beat the Ravens on Sunday night, it’s going to be because Leftwich doesn’t lose the game and the Steelers’ other facets are able to pick up the slack for the depleted passing game. Instead of the frequent throwing seen from Ben Roethlisberger in recent years, the Baltimore defense will likely deal with a ball-control attack from the league’s 21st-ranked run offense.

“We are just doing the best we can with the guys that we have that are healthy,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “The quarterback situation is the quarterback situation. The guys that play running back are going to do that, and nothing is going to change in terms of what is expected from them.”

Despite underwhelming averages of 103.8 rushing yards per game and a 3.8 yards per carry, the Steelers’ by-committee approach — based largely on injuries — has improved in recent weeks as running backs have turned in 100-yard performances in three of their last four games. The key to their improvement has been the offensive line, which is still far from an elite unit but is playing better than it has in recent seasons.

In contrast, the Ravens defense ranks 26th against the run and has struggled throughout the season to slow teams using a run-heavy approach, including Kansas City, Dallas, and Houston.

“First of all, it starts with the offensive line,” Harbaugh said. “Their offensive line is a big, physical offensive line. They maul you. That’s their whole thing. The backs are downhill backs. Both [Jonathan] Dwyer and [Isaac] Redman are hard-running guys — very difficult to tackle. You have to wrap them and take them to the ground. You’ve got to gang-tackle, those kinds of things.”

As Pittsburgh has dealt with various injuries at the running back position, the Ravens’ front seven has been decimated with the long-term loss of Ray Lewis, the decreased production from an injured Haloti Ngata, and the early-season absence of Terrell Suggs. Until recently, defensive coordinator Dean Pees had received little from younger players, but the likes of defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson and linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Paul Kruger have emerged since the bye week to contribute to an improved defensive attack up front.

The yardage totals against Cleveland and Oakland weren’t overly impressive, but the Ravens’ 27th-ranked defense ranks first in the league in red-zone defense with opponents scoring touchdowns in only 36.1 percent of their trips inside the Baltimore 20-yard line. The Browns and Raiders went a combined 0-for-8 in trying to score touchdowns inside the red zone as the “bend but don’t break” mantra becomes more popular in the second half of the season.

Even with the big-play threat of wide receiver Mike Wallace on the outside, Leftwich’s limitations make it unlikely that Pittsburgh can strike quickly, meaning the Steelers will need to sustain drives and move the ball with modest gains. The Ravens will simply try to continue the trend started in recent weeks by clamping down inside the 20 should the Steelers be able to move the ball on the ground.

“You don’t want to do something one week and then not do it the next,” Suggs said. “We fared pretty well the last two weeks, and we’re just trying to keep it going. It’s nothing to be happy about. We’re just going to keep trying to get better around here.”

The Ravens’ preparation doesn’t change with Leftwich at the helm instead of Roethlisberger, but outsiders’ expectations have been altered dramatically for the type of offensive attack the Steelers will have on display. The Pittsburgh of yesteryear will return with a mentality of “three yards and a cloud of dust” with its running game instead of the passing game being on full display.

In past seasons, that would have played perfectly into the hands of the Ravens defense, but that unit will need to prove it can slow the run in order to set up the offense with good field position against an imposing defense on the opposing side.

The names have changed — along with strengths and strategies in the various phases — but the Ravens are expecting another fight in Pittsburgh, even with Roethlisberger on the sideline.

And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“As soon as we walk in their stadium, they’re going to lock the gates,” Suggs said. “But that’s what we want. We definitely want them to lock the gates behind us so we can get in there and we can have it out. When the clock reads 0:00, we’ll just see what happens. We’ll see how it goes.”

 

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