Posted on 20 October 2013 by WNSTV
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Posted on 18 October 2013 by Drew Forrester
This Ravens-Steelers game is impossible to pick.
Anything could happen.
As inept as both offenses have been, would it be out of the question for both of them to catch lightning in a bottle on Sunday and put up 20-something points somehow? I can see it now; Roethlisberger wakes up on the right side of the bed, the Steelers o-line is decent enough to keep him upright most of the afternoon, and Big Ben finds Antonio Brown twice for big gains to help give Pittsburgh two scoring drives. Later, a punt return puts them down to the Ravens 25-yard line. A pass interference call gives Pittsburgh first and goal and they punch it on the ground two plays later. Add a couple of field goals and suddenly they have 27 points, somehow.
The same goes with the Ravens. Flacco and Torrey Smith connect on a couple of 50 yard throws. Ray Rice scampers in from six yards out. Bernard Pierce busts in from the three yard line. Lardarius Webb snags a ball that bounces off of someone’s shoulder pads and takes it down to the Pittsburgh 13. On the next play, Flacco finds Marlon Brown in the end zone. A field goal or two from Justin Tucker and you have a 24 or 27 point output.
I can see both of those scenarios. At some point, don’t these two offenses have to produce a game that makes them look like a major league team offensively?
I think so.
But it won’t happen this Sunday. The two defenses are too good to let that stuff happen.
Ravens win 14-9. Pittsburgh’s 1-4 for a reason. They stink. And they’re not winning on Sunday.
(That said, if Baltimore loses on Sunday, all hell’s gonna break loose around here. You can make book on that.)
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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Posted on 19 November 2012 by Luke Jones
You can already hear the critiques and complaints about the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Steelers on Sunday night.
The offense was anemic on the road once again, mustering just six points and finishing 3-for-14 on third down. The only saving grace was a turnover-free performance by quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore offense.
Taking the offensive showing in isolation, you’d be more understanding as the Ravens went up against the top-ranked defense in the league in yards allowed, but we know better watching the unit operate away from M&T Bank Stadium at this point.
An inspiring performance from a maligned and banged-up defense did come against a Pittsburgh offense without Ben Roethlisberger.
It was ugly and uncomfortable as it usually is against Pittsburgh, with the defensive — or offensively-challenged — struggle being decided by one possession for the ninth time in 11 games played between the Ravens and the Steelers in the John Harbaugh era.
A 63-yard punt return by Jacoby Jones was the lone touchdown for the Ravens as they won their third consecutive regular-season game in Pittsburgh for only the second time in franchise history.
No, it wasn’t a work of art, but a win over the Steelers should never be taken for granted, regardless of who’s playing quarterback for Pittsburgh.
Last year’s season-opening 35-7 win aside, it’s never easy.
“Whatever procedure my brother had, I think I’m going to need it later tonight,” Harbaugh said minutes after the narrow win. “My heart’s moving a little fast right now.”
Join the club, John.
As much as we’ve focused on the Ravens’ many injuries, offensive shortcomings on the road, and overall defensive struggles, they stand at 8-2 and enjoy a stranglehold on the AFC North with six games remaining in the regular season.
It really doesn’t make sense, but I’ll remind you we just spent six months saying the same thing during the baseball season before the Orioles advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
This year’s version of the Ravens simply finds ways to win games and it’s landed them in a premium position despite their many flaws. At this point, I’m not sure we’ll see remedies to those weaknesses, which supports the notion of the Ravens needing to play playoff games in Baltimore in order to have a realistic chance of advancing to the Super Bowl.
But it’s becoming more and more difficult to bet against Baltimore when you see the rest of the overall competition in the AFC.
Talking to Terrell Suggs after Sunday night’s win, I expected the defensive bravado to resurface after holding the Steelers to 10 points, but that wasn’t the case. It was an interesting vibe offered by the 30-year-old linebacker, who admitted he’s still not where he wants to be physically in terms of explosiveness and being able to make his usual impact.
“I’m starting to believe the numbers really don’t matter,” Suggs said. “We’ve been a top-10 defense for years and yet, we have no Super Bowl rings to account for them. Last year, in the AFC championship, we lost to the 31st-ranked defense. The numbers are all good for [media] to kind of pile on, but I guess the only thing that really matters is wins and losses.”
Maybe it was a veteran realizing the Ravens’ window for winning a championship is closing — at least in terms of how the current team is constructed.
Or perhaps the Ravens are embracing the good karma coming their way in the win column week after week despite the obstacles they’ve faced.
Baltimore is counting on names such as Corey Graham, Chris Johnson, and James Ihedigbo to make game-changing plays at this point.
The defense is below average statistically. The offense looks elite at home but cannot get out of its own way on the road. The special teams have been exceptional.
The sum of those parts shouldn’t add up to the Ravens being a championship-caliber team.
But it’s somehow working out so far to put them in position to make a run.
An 8-2 record proves it.
Posted on 19 November 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 19 November 2012 by Glenn Clark
After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.
We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.
Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field…
Glenn Clark’s Pats…
5. Cary Williams
4. Ray Rice
3. James Ihedigbo
2. Anquan Boldin
1. Corey Graham (Pat on Both Cheeks)
(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)
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Posted on 19 November 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 18 November 2012 by Luke Jones
PITTSBURGH — Aiming for their third straight regular-season victory at Heinz Field, the Ravens take on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 33nd time in the regular season in the history of the franchise.
Baltimore can create a stranglehold on the AFC North with a victory as it already owns a one-game advantage in the division with a second meeting still to come in two weeks in Baltimore. The Ravens are 6-10 all-time in Pittsburgh in the regular season as quarterback Joe Flacco has orchestrated game-winning drives in the closing seconds in each of the last two regular-season meetings at Heinz Field.
In addition to starting cornerback Jimmy Smith (sports hernia surgery), the Ravens will be without nose tackle Terrence Cody and defensive end Pernell McPhee, who suffered a setback during practice this week after declaring himself 100 percent recovered from knee and thigh injuries on Thursday.
The injuries on the defensive line coupled with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata still being less than 100 percent could spell trouble for the Ravens against a Pittsburgh offense that figures to focus on its running attack against the 26th-ranked rush defense in the NFL. Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall returns from an Achilles tendon injury to form a three-headed monster with Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer.
Perhaps the biggest surprise among the Ravens’ inactives is veteran guard Bobbie Williams, meaning second-year lineman Jah Reid will start at left guard against the Steelers. Backup lineman Ramon Harewood is also inactive, which leaves rookie Gino Gradkowski as the only reserve interior lineman available in case of an injury. Of course, veteran tackle Bryant McKinnie will serve as an additional reserve along the offensive line.
Newly-signed veteran cornerback Chris Johnson and just-promoted safety Anthony Levine are both active. Rookie safety Christian Thompson was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on Saturday, making room for the Ravens to promote Levine from the practice squad.
Of course, the Steelers are hurting just as badly as the Ravens as starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is out and will be replaced by veteran Byron Leftwich. Pittsburgh is also without safety Troy Polamalu and starting wide receiver Antonio Brown for Sunday night’s game.
Injured inside linebacker Ray Lewis is in Pittsburgh and will be on the sideline for Sunday night’s game.
The Ravens will wear white jerseys with black pants while Pittsburgh will wear their throwback jerseys that, well, you just have to see to believe.
Here are the inactives for Sunday night …
CB Jimmy Smith
CB Asa Jackson
DT Terrence Cody
G Bobbie Williams
G Ramon Harewood
WR Deonte Thompson
DE Pernell McPhee
QB Ben Roethlisberger
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke
S Troy Polamalu
LB Stevenson Sylvester
LB Adrian Robinson
OT Marcus Gilbert
WR Antonio Brown
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live updates and analysis from Heinz Field.
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Posted on 17 November 2012 by Luke Jones
Some of the luster has been lost in this one with the absence of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but the Ravens look to win their third straight regular-season contest at Heinz Field and seize overwhelming control in the AFC North.
Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to improve to 15-18 all-time against Pittsburgh in the regular season …
1. The tight ends will play a major role for both teams. The reemergence of Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson in last week’s 55-20 win over Oakland couldn’t have come at a better time as the Ravens play five of their final seven games against 2011 playoff teams. The Steelers have relied a great deal on blitzes from inside linebackers Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons to pressure the quarterback, which could leave the middle of the field open for Pitta and Dickson on third down. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s Byron Leftwich will depend on Heath Miller to help move the chains with short passes, and Ravens linebackers haven’t done a great job covering tight ends this season.
2. The Steelers will have the edge in time of possession with the more effective running game on Sunday night. Pittsburgh’s running game has been inconsistent, but the return of Rashard Mendenhall gives the Steelers a three-headed attack against the Ravens’ 26th-ranked run defense. The Baltimore defensive line has a banged-up Haloti Ngata and could be without both Pernell McPhee (doubtful) and Terrence Cody (questionable). Pittsburgh may not run all over the Ravens, but the Steelers will be successful enough to control the clock and limit the number of possessions for Baltimore. The Ravens will also avoid stacking the box in fear of Leftwich taking a deep shot with Mike Wallace or Emmanuel Sanders with no safety help. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron will run often enough with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce to keep the Steelers defense honest, but Pittsburgh is sixth against the run and limited Rice’s yards in last season’s game in Pittsburgh.
3. Justin Tucker won’t blink in his first trip to Heinz Field. The rookie has been terrific all season — going 17-for-18 — but faces his biggest challenge to date kicking in Pittsburgh where the winds swirl in the open end of the stadium. The 22-year-old hasn’t been fazed by pressure all season, and his straight kicks won’t be affected by wind as opposed to kickers who use draw or fade approaches. The forecast for Sunday night appears to be favorable (low 40s and minimal wind), so weather shouldn’t be too much of a factor for either kicker. If the game comes down to a late attempt, Tucker has shown no reason for Ravens fans to be concerned. He’ll make a big second-half field goal to finish off a scoring drive.
4. The team that wins the battle on third down will prevail in this one. In their two meetings last season, the Ravens went a combined 21-for-37 on third down while Pittsburgh was only 10-for-21. Baltimore won both games after winning the battle on third down in each contest. The Steelers will use their running game to set up third-and-short opportunities with a rusty Leftwich while the Ravens need third-and-manageable situations to utilize wide receiver Anquan Boldin and their tight ends. The Steelers possess the top-ranked third-down offense in the NFL, but you can throw that number out the window with the absence of Roethlisberger’s talents and improvisation. The Ravens have converted only 36.1 percent of third-down opportunities this season (20th in the league) and will need to be better in that department if they’re to come away with another win in Pittsburgh.
5. Joe Flacco will be the difference as the Ravens collect a narrow 20-17 victory at Heinz Field. Flacco has been the difference-maker in each of the Ravens’ last two regular-season wins in Pittsburgh as he’s orchestrated last-second touchdown drives for comeback victories. The fifth-year quarterback doesn’t need to have a perfect game, but he needs to step up his play on the road after modest progress against Cleveland in his last start away from M&T Bank Stadium. The criticism could be at an all-time high should he play poorly in Pittsburgh and the Ravens lose on Sunday night, and a good portion of it would be justified. Flacco said after last week’s win that he and the Ravens have played well on the road when they’ve needed to in the past, and this week certainly qualifies for that category. I’ll take him at his word to get the job done with an overmatched Leftwich on the opposing side. A touchdown pass, 200 yards, and turnover-free football should be enough from Flacco for the Ravens to win a third straight regular-season game against the Steelers for only the second time in franchise history. However, it won’t be easy going up against the league’s top-ranked defense in yards allowed.