Tag Archive | "James Harrison"

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Nothing’s changed; the Steelers still OWN the Ravens ….

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Rex Snider

Welcome to Baltimore, Maryland …. home of Edgar Allan Poe, The Star Spangled Banner (thanks Christina !!!!), Berger Cookies, National Bohemian and some of the most fickle sports fans in America.

As this 48th day of winter greets the citizens of our city, you can bet the most predictable conversations will evolve among sports fans in every workplace and social gathering area. 

After all, today is cause for a celebration here in Charm City, because the second most-celebrated scenario unfolded before our very eyes, last night …. 

I don’t think any purple kool-aid drinking Baltimorean can imagine a happier moment than seeing the Ravens conquer their second Super Bowl Championship.

But, rest assured, the second most desirous outcome is seeing the Pittsburgh Steelers lose a Super Bowl.

That’s how the typical Baltimore football fan “rolls”, for better or worse.  And, to a point, I understand the passion.  The Steelers are ENEMY #1 in this town – they’re the Ravens archrival and cast with characters that are easy to dislike.

So, as the final seconds of Super Bowl XLV expired and the confetti rained upon the Green Bay Packers, my hometown undoubtedly became the third most celebrated CHEESEHEAD community, in America – tagging closely behind Milwaukee and Green Bay, itself.

Today’s conversations among Ravens fans will more than likely be spirited along some very predictable lines …..

“So much for that whole 7th HEAVEN thing, huh?”

“That awesome Pittsburgh defense choked.”

“I guess Roethlisberger really isn’t a winner, after all, huh?”

These are the things we’re saying today, as the perceived passion bleeds from our souls.  And, a couple distinct reasons serve as the purpose for Baltimore’s collective group of fans heralding a Super Bowl loss, as opposed to a win:

A)     We are jealous of the Steelers success ….

 

B)     Misery loves company – and we want Steelers fans to join in ours ….

But, make no mistake about the reality that existed before last night’s game.  It’s a reality that has existed for the overwhelming portion of the last fifteen years.  And, it’s a reality that proved quite true as recently as three short weeks ago.

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Plaxico

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5 lowest moments of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry

Posted on 14 January 2011 by Luke Jones

You have to remember where you’ve been in order to get where you want to go.

In this case, Ravens fans can only hope it’s a trip to the AFC Championship after a win at Heinz Field on Saturday after countless disappointments against their biggest rivals.

Perhaps you’ve clicked this link because you’re a football masochist, secretly preparing yourself for the worst should Baltimore fall short yet again with the stakes as high as they’ve been since the conference championship game two years ago.

A bloodcurdling look back at the low points in the history of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry reminds us that as enjoyable as the highs have been for the Ravens, the lows have been that much more devastating over the 15 years the two teams have battled on the gridiron.

Beating the Steelers on Saturday would immediately become the greatest Baltimore moment in the rivalry’s history while a loss would only mark the latest chapter of bitter disappointment.

With a few honorable mentions to get things started, here are the five lowest Baltimore moments of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry:

Honorable mention >>>

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Blog & Tackle: A look at Ravens-Steelers PR game notes

Posted on 13 January 2011 by Chris Pika

Every game of the NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend is a regular-season rematch as both of the AFC games are between division opponents — the first time since 2000 that two games feature teams playing for a third time in a season.

The nastiest matchup of the weekend is the first on the docket: Baltimore at Pittsburgh. The teams have waged wars in the AFC North over the years, and 2010 was no exception. Each team scored 27 points total in the two games, and the games are as physical as any in the NFL over the previous decade.

The Ravens continued to have playoff success on the road as they beat Kansas City last Sunday 30-7 in New Arrowhead. It was the third straight season with at least one playoff victory for Baltimore, the only club in the NFL to do so over the period. QB Joe Flacco joined Bernie Kosar (1985-87) and Dan Marino (1983-85) to start a playoff game in each of their first three seasons in the league. The Ravens will try to advance to the AFC title game for the first time since the 2008 season.

Pittsburgh survived the loss of QB Ben Roethlisberger to a four-game suspension to get to a 3-1 start which included a home loss to the Ravens. The Steelers won six of their last seven games, including a road win at Baltimore for the division title. Roethlisberger Has thrown a personal-best 158 straight passes without an INT, the longest for the Steelers since QB Kordell Stewart had a streak of 159 consecutive pass attempts without an interception in 2001.

The teams split the regular season meetings, with the Ravens winning in Pittsburgh 17-14 in October, and the Steelers winning in Baltimore 13-10 in December.

Continue Reading

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This is Baltimore, you can help in winning this game .....

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This is Baltimore, you can help in winning this game …..

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Rex Snider

As we stand just a few days away from this latest showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, many of us are starting to imagine a proposed sequence of events unfolding at Heinz Field.

If you share my optimistic “feel” for this matchup, you’ll likely envision a game that features some very grueling and aggressive play from both sides of the field, right? I think we all expect to see the typical hardnosed style of football, which has been branded by the NFL’s most intense rivalry.

There will be at least a couple broken plays where Roethlisberger escapes Ravens defenders and finds his tight end for a crucial first down …..

On the flip side, Polamalu will likely get sniffed out on one of his blitzes; leaving a Houshmandzadeh or Mason wide open downfield …..

Don’t get too overconfident, I’m sure that even a “bearded” Flacco suffers a smashing visit or two, from Mr. Harrison ….

We just need to hope Lewis, Ngata, Suggs and company can deliver a more punishing effort against the Steelers offense ….

Whatever it takes to win the contest, right? After all, a trip to the AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME for a 2nd time in 3 years hangs in the balance. Obviously, we all feel a guarded optimism as Saturday inches even closer.

However, as this week comes to an end and a final result is realized in this latest chapter of slugfest football, the truth is life will go on. Win or lose, the sun will rise on Sunday morning and every day afterwards.

And, this is where today’s story and message becomes much more meaningful than anything we can feel from a football game …..

Last Saturday, my friends, Scott and Heather Speert lost their Westminster home to the one enemy homeowners fear most; a FIRE. Their loss included every furnishing, belonging and article of clothing owned by the family …..

Scott and Heather are blessed with the greatest gift that could emerge from such a tragedy; their son and daughter escaped the fire unharmed. However, the reality is their lives are in an extremely vulnerable state, right now.

They are surrounded by family and comforted under a warm roof by those who love them most. But, they have an immense challenge before them, as they cope with trying to rebuild their lives and ultimately a home in the harshest time of year.

The winter’s cold – which delivered a few inches of snow, last night, is one of the greatest challenges the Speert’s will face in dealing with the immediate aftermath and fallout from losing their home. As I said, they lost every piece of clothing – except what they wore upon their backs !!!!

But, these circumstances also serve as a very vivid representation of what WE AS A COMMUNITY can do to help the Speerts in their greatest time of need …..

They need clothing …. and they need it NOW.

The cost will not be minimal, as the Speerts are faced with furnishing both inner and outerwear for a total of four family members. But, as I’ve said, it’s an absolute necessity in these coldest months of the year.

I’m inspired with hope by my knowledge and experience in this WNST community. I know you’re generous and sensitive to the needs of neighbors. At WNST, we’re your community sports source, and you’re our stakeholder, right?

Together, WNST and the Baltimore community have done very special things – especially when it comes to helping our needy and ill. Today, we have special opportunity to help a different cause; a neighbor family that has simply been beset by tragedy.

In truth, the Speerts find themselves in circumstances that could affect any family, in Baltimore and beyond. Last week, they had the things many of us are taking for granted. Today, all of those things are gone.

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ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: James Harrison  of the Pittsburgh Steelers rises after hitting Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills during their game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Harrison was flagged for roughing the passer during the play. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

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Can the Ravens count on James Harrison and his bag of blunders?

Posted on 02 December 2010 by Rex Snider

As the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for their prime time showdown, on Sunday evening, some interesting storylines are beginning to unfold …..

Will the Ravens finally beat Ben Roethlisberger in a meaningful game?

Will the Steelers be able to stave off a plethora of injuries and retake the AFC-North lead?

Can Joe Flacco drive a second straight stake through the collective hearts of every RAT-FINK Baltimorean who calls this town home, yet they root for the Steelers?

Can both teams live up to the hype surrounding the National Football League’s most riveting rivalry of the past decade?

We’re gonna find out in just three days.

Yet, amid all the hoopla and anticipation that accompanies a Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh matchup, another factor or storyline is emerging …..

Can James Harrison finally start abiding by the NFL’s newest policies, as they regard the defender’s helmet in tackling?

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 28: James Harrison  of the Pittsburgh Steelers rises after hitting Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Buffalo Bills during their game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 28, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Harrison was flagged for roughing the passer during the play. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)

I don’t like the new rules …..

You don’t like the new rules …..

Most players, with exception to quarterbacks, don’t like the new rules …..

But, opposition and dissent will not change things. The new rules are firm and if players cannot abide by them, they’ll fork over cash, as a result.

While I don’t particularly care for these changes, especially considering the hard-hitting nature of football, I absolutely understand the NFL’s mission. They’re obligated to protect the players from themselves, and their equally obliged to protect the league from future lawsuits.

Our sports society is well aware of the NFL’s mission to address concussions and subsequent brain injuries. A vast number of former players serve as prime examples of the detrimental effects concussions can have on life AFTER FOOTBALL.

Technological advances have discovered a correlation between brain injuries and dementia. And, the NFL is under the spotlight when it comes to dissection of this health concern.

It’s really only a matter of time until a former player sues the league over a perceived negligence, as it relates to rule changes or measures taken to prevent brain injuries from occurring.

Sure, it’s quite easy for us to bemoan the new rules, while proclaiming …. “THIS AIN’T FOOTBALL.” Heck, we’re right in our assessment. But, we’re not the ones who’ll be defending our respective livelihood when the lawsuits start trickling into the NFL’s offices.

That’s the spirit of the new rules …..

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Blog & Tackle: How I see Ravens-Steelers 2

Posted on 27 December 2009 by Chris Pika

Deep down, everyone knew that the playoff road for the 2009 Ravens would have to go through Heinz Field in Week 16. That week is here, even if the order is different than most had it. Instead of the Ravens and Steelers playing for the AFC North title, it’s survival time for Pittsburgh, and a chance for Baltimore to close the door on its most-bitter rival while taking a big step toward the playoffs.

Ravens-Steelers Purple Haze Live Chat

The Ravens won the first meeting in overtime in a game that many thought would be a Baltimore blowout with the absence of QB Ben Roethlisberger. Dennis Dixon managed to get the Steelers to overtime, but an interception and subsquent field goal gave the Ravens a huge victory at home.

This time, Roethlisberger and the man who criticized him for not playing in the first meeting, Hines Ward, will play in this one. But Pittsburgh will be without safety Troy Polamalu once again. Pittsburgh is 3-0 with him in the lineup, but 4-7 without.

To get the cliches out of the way early, the game will be a physical, brutal affair once again. These two clubs play hard against each other, and revel in leaving the winner bruised and bloodied from the fight. The loser drags their wounded back to the locker room and wonder if they’ll have enough bodies for the next game.

Since the emphasis for both clubs is not allow the other to score, how do the Ravens and Steelers dent the scoreboard? Let’s break it down, thusly.

RAVENS OFFENSE: This point is obvious to football observers, but scoring first is paramount. The team that gets the lead can dicate their playbook to the opponent. Fall behind, and because of the defenses, you might take more chances than usual. Baltimore is 7-1 when scoring first in 2009, 1-5 when the opposition does.

To those who don’t like the Ravens to throw as much as they have this year, you might want to avert your eyes. The Steelers secondary is vulnerable, and there will be opportunities for big plays. But Baltimore has to set it up. Run the ball with Ray Rice, Le’Ron McClain and Willis McGahee, and make Pittsburgh stack the line. Once that happens, then QB Joe Flacco can look for the receivers downfield, or just a mid-length pass to TE Todd Heap to move the chains.

Baltimore has run the ninth-most short pass plays (less than 15 yards) to the right with 171. The Ravens’ average gain on those passes, 6.8 yards, is second in the league. That’s where Rice and Heap live. Baltimore is also seventh in both plays (37) and average gain (13.8 yards) on passes 15 yards or more to deep left.

The big key here is to keep Flacco upright at all costs. Baltimore might get help if James Harrison misses the game with an biceps injury. A strong run game keeps the rushers at home and buys the Ravens’ QB needed time when he goes to the air. Pittsburgh has to protect its struggling secondary, and one way is to rush the passer consistently. Flacco needs to make the right decisions when the pocket collapses.

The Ravens have four games with 400-plus yards of total offense in 2009, including the three top outputs in club history.

RAVENS DEFENSE: The same problem on defense haunts the Ravens as well. Can the Ravens get after Roethlisberger enough to force turnovers and keep Santonio Holmes and Ward from getting open deep against the Ravens’ second-string corners?

Roethlisberger is hard to bring down, and harder still to corral when he gets out of the pocket. Baltimore needs to bring enough pressure from the edges to make Roethlisberger go through his receiver progression without benefit of rolling to the outside.

When the Steelers pass, they look deep middle, where they’ve tried 40 plays (second in the NFL) or deep right (35 plays; 10th in NFL). Pittsburgh has thrown just over 100 times more than they have run this season. Besides Ward and Holmes, TE Heath Miller has almost 700 yards and five TDs. Six players have 20 or more catches.

The run game is no slouch as Rashard Mendenhall needs 22 yards for 1,000 on the season. Mendenhall has six of the nine rush TDs for the Steelers. Willie Parker has settled into the backup role with almost 300 yards and no TDs.

The Steelers like to run to the right with 79 attempts each up the middle and to right guard, and 63 times to right tackle. Compare that to 31 plays each to left guard, left tackle, and 33 plays to left end.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A big question for the Ravens in the wake of losing Lardarius Webb for the season is: With Carr taking a bigger role in the secondary, will the Ravens let Carr return kickoffs and punts. Ed Reed (if he is able to go) will not return punts, so reports have Jalen Parmele returning kicks and Carr returning punts.

Not to be overstated, the turf at Heinz Field gets in bad shape in December with the amount of games played on it and the recent snowstorm. Field goals, especially from long distance, will be dicey. That will force both teams to make offensive decisions knowing that 3s will not be automatic at any point.

NFL.com Ravens-Steelers Video Preview

PREDICTION: The Steelers will try (like every other opponent) to take out Rice. Flacco will have to throw the ball effectively under pressure to find seams in the Pittsburgh secondary. Both teams’ key defensive performer (Reed and Polamalu) will not play in the game. This will be the usual knock-down, drag-out game as the defensive lines try to help their respective secondaries in coverage. Baltimore gets an early score and will spend the rest of the day holding off the Steelers’ desperate charge. I wouldn’t be suprised to see this game (like the first) go to overtime. Ravens 20, Steelers 17.

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Ravens vs. Jerks

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Ravens (8-6) @ Steelers (7-7)

Posted on 26 December 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ravens vs. Jerks

Squealer Stats09 2

The Ravens once again clash heads with the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. For the fifth consecutive meeting between these two teams, 1 game or less separates them in the standings. Fortunately, though, the Ravens have a slightly higher margin for error right now than Pittsburgh does. A Ravens loss would not preclude them from backing into the playoffs with a win in Oakland next week, though they would likely need at least some help. A Steeler loss, and the “Stairway to Seven” BS stops until 2010.

Realistically, the Steelers are living on borrowed time as it is. Any hopes they had for the postseason SHOULD have ended last week at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Of course, some boneheaded “prevent” defense from Green Bay in the final minute, along with a ridiculous illegal contact flag that negated what should have been a game ending interception, sprinkled in with some patented Pittsburgh dumb luck all made for a last-second win for Baby Ben and his minions of infighting teammates.

If the Ravens can manage a season sweep, they can be the ones to deal the knock-out punch to the Steelers’ season. Like most Ravens fans though, I hardly get the “warm and fuzzies” any time the Ravens play in the Steel City, even in a season where the enemy has lost to such powerhouses as Oakland, Kansas City, and Cleveland. They’re still a respectable 5-2 at ketchup-mush field, and the Ravens have only won there once this decade (a glorious 34-7 shellacking in 2006).

The Ravens have had two weeks to basically warm-up for this game, with Detroit and Chicago putting up very little resistance. On the bright side, the offense appears to be firing on all cylinders, and the defense forcing turnovers like it was 2008 all over again. However, let’s hope they haven’t forgotten that not all teams are so eager to roll over and die, and that they aren’t shocked and confused when the guys that can only afford logos for one side of their helmets hit back a little bit.

Joe Flacco has followed up the worst game of his career, the Monday Nighter at Lambeau, with two of his best. Since throwing 3 interceptions that night, he has 5 touchdowns and no picks in his last 55 attempts. The Pittsburgh secondary is playing their worst football in years, and will again be without Troy Polamalu to make everything better. The way to attack them is to spread them out, but with the Ravens a bit nicked up at WR, that may be a tenuous prospect. Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington are both expected to play, but it remains to be seen how effective they will be after missing some time. The emergence of Demetrius Williams lately has Ravens fans cautiously optimistic – if “Completrius” can show some consistency by having a big game in the land of 1000 bridges, it will go a long way towards a Ravens victory.

Also promising was Todd Heap reappearing in the offense to score twice against the Bears. Joe Cool will need as many weapons as possible running wild in the Pittsburgh defensive backfield Sunday, as that is where the Steelers are most vulnerable. Up front, the line will have to play like they did in the first half of the first Pittsburgh game, and give those guys time to find the holes. If Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison can get cranked up like they were able to in the 2nd half in B’More, it could be a long day for Joe and Ravens fans alike.

Defensively, the Ravens could be in more than a little trouble. The loss of Lardarius Webb has the potential to be HUGE, not just this week, but for the Ravens’ season in general. Dominique Foxworth may have been the AFC Defensive Player of the Week last week, but now he goes up against Baby Ben, who was his counterpart on the Offensive side of the ball in Week 15. Ben threw for over 500 yards against Green Bay, and he is no doubt salivating at the idea of seeing Foxworth, Chris Carr, and Frank Walker out there chasing his guys around. If there is one glimmer of hope, it is that Ed Reed practiced on Friday, and could finally get back into a game this week. Keep your fingers crossed.

The loss of Webb hurts doubly, as the Ravens are now less equipped to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s other glaring weakness, their return coverage. The Ravens have yet to announce who will handle kickoffs, but rest assured, whoever it is, does not worry the Steelers like Webb would have.

The offenses look poised to dominate a Pittsburgh-Baltimore matchup – what kind of crazy, backwards world is this that we are living in?

Just keep reminding yourselves, Ravens fans, a loss does NOT doom the Ravens this week.

We may have to make it our mantra.

Steelers 31 Ravens 24

(sprinkles some of Santa’s magic dust on the score prediction)

Ravens 27 Steelers 26

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Ray Everywhere

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Ravens 20 Steelers 17 OT (THE NO BEN&TROY = SLIGHT PROBLEM Game)

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Derek Arnold

Ray Everywhere

Well, it certainly wasn’t the blowout that we were expecting and hoping for when we heard early Saturday morning that Ben Roethisberger wouldn’t be gracing the field with his big dumb concussed self, but we’ll take a win any way we can get it over Pittsburgh.

If “any way we can get it” includes prime time, a national audience, and handing out the type of crushing loss that we’ve been on the other end of all season, well then, all the better.

First things first, you have to hand it to Dennis Dixon. A guy that has never even practiced with the first team offense stepped in and hardly missed a beat. He had the Steelers in a position to win the game, thanks to his 33-yard touchdown pass in the first half and 24-yard TD scramble with just over six minutes to play. Luckily for the Ravens, he finally made the critical mistake, when he misread the zone blitz and delivered the ball directly to the waiting palms of Paul Kruger in overtime, which set up the game winning field goal for the good guys in purple.

By the same token, as good as Dixon was, that’s how bad the Ravens defense was to get burned by a guy making his first career start. They routinely got torched on first down, setting up 2nd and 3rd and shorts aplenty for Dixon and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Even when EVERYONE IN THE STADIUM knew Pittsburgh was going to run the ball, they still pushed around the Ravens’ front seven easily, and 6 or 7 yards from Rashard Mendenhall (who finished with 95 yards) was the rule rather than the exception. Sloppy tackling, no penetration, and an overall lackluster effort from the tackles and linebackers nearly cost the Ravens this very winnable game.

In the secondary, Lardarius Webb, filling in for the injured Fabian Washington, proved to be the least of the Ravens’ worries. Dominique Foxworth continued his trend of abominable play, getting turned around and burnt like toast by Santonio Holmes on the 33-yard touchdown, and then failing miserably to tackle Holmes or force him out of bounds despite having about 15 yards to make a play. DIVE AT HIS LEGS MAN!…instead of getting stiff armed all the way to paydirt. Holmes has now scored a touchdown in something like 34 straight games against the Ravens. Ah well, better him than Cheap Shot (who was gloriously spotted with tears in his eyes again after the game…always a heart-warming sight.)

On offense, it was again a story of two halves for the Ravens. This time though, the usual was reversed. They played extremely well in the first half, building a 14-7 lead, moving the ball on the ground and through the air, and most importantly, keeping Joe Flacco clean. However, in the second half, Dick Lebeau’s defense made the necessary adjustments, and Cam Cameron had no answers, as the Ravens managed only 3 points, which came with under two minutes to play. The Steelers sacked Flacco five times after intermission, and caused three fumbles, two of which they recovered. Michael Oher and Jared Gaither, who dominated Steelers’ LBs James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley in the early going, appeared to wear down as the game went on, and Flacco was under ever increasing duress.

Fortunately, Kruger’s INT return set the Ravens up with good enough field position where the Steelers’ pass rush was a moot point. Four rushes by Ray Rice and a kneel from Joe Cool were enough to set up Billy Cundiff for a chip shot 29-yarder to send the yinzers, both real and wannabe, and their beat up team home with a big loss.

Cundiff had missed short on a 56-yard attempt as regulation expired, a try that was rushed due to more poor use of timeouts by John Harbaugh. This week his head-scratcher came with 14:50 to go in the game, when he called timeout on 4th-and-7 from the Pittsburgh 34, only to come out and punt the ball anyway. It will be interesting to hear his explanation for that one (BTW, if anybody has heard it, please, enlighten me).

John made up for it later though, as what could have been a disastrous decision to go for it on 4th-and-5 from their own 46 with 3:31 to play ended up looking like a stroke of genius when Flacco found Rice, out of the slot, and Mighty Mouse made a few Pittsburgh defenders look silly on his way to a 44-yard gain that set up the game-tying field goal.

Speaking of Ray Rice…wow. Praise continues to be heaped on the second year back week after week, and he just keeps on coming up with bigger and bigger plays. Rice put up over 100 yards of total offense for the eighth consecutive game, and on one 3rd-down conversion where he needed 12 and picked up 18, he juked about four Pittsburgh defenders completely out of their jocks. I went from screaming at Flacco for checking down to jumping for joy as Rice made the guys wearing white look like Pop Warner newbies.

Special teams was a disappointment on kickoffs, but Chris Carr actually made some plays on punt returns, much to the surprise of…well, everyone. Of course the Ravens’ get flagged for an illegal block on pretty much every return though, so most of it was for naught. Why can’t we tell the difference between the front of someone and their back? HEY TAVARES GOODEN – THE FRONT IS THE SIDE WITH THE FACEMASK! (Gooden proceeds to grab the guy by his facemask and throw him down).

Also, before I forget – thanks to HEEEEEEEEEEEEATH Miller for being scared of FRANK WALKER and doing a turf-dive instead of fighting for a first down in overtime. You da man, Heath.

Pittsburgh fans will of course belittle our nice win by droning on about Polamalu and Benny Boy not playing, and that’s certainly their prerogative. However, I seem to remember a game last season, where the home team won on an overtime field goal despite the visitors’ quarterback making just his third career start, in a hostile environment, on national television.

Steelers 23 Ravens 20, Week 4 2008.

The towel-wavers didn’t apologize for that win, and we’re not apologizing for this one.

With the win, the Ravens move to 6-5 and in a virtual tie with Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, just behind Denver for the AFC Wild Card spots. Let’s hope this hard fought, emotional win can propel them to a nice stretch-run winning streak.

A fun sub-plot that emerged from this game reared its head in the form of the pre-game interview between Bob Costas and Cheap Shot. Shot, much like the past hits NBC showed him delivering to Ed Reed, blindsided his quarterback. Basically, Shot had this to say regarding Baby Ben sitting out the game last night:

Paraphrasing, of course: “Ben is a pansy. We’ve all played with injuries before. He should have lied to the doctors and said that he was fine.”

Wow. We’ve always known Shot was far from anything resembling a class act, but to call out the guy who has helped you to two Super Bowl rings and gobs of victories and good feelings, on National television no less, for not jeopardizing his future health and well being, all because losing to the Ravens makes your eyes well up like they did the first time you watched Titanic?

Locker room strife in Pittsburgh? Make mine a double.

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An Exciting Ravens Season Ends Too Early

Posted on 19 January 2009 by Alex Thomas

What can I say that hasn’t already been said on the airwaves, message boards, and blogs?

The Darren Stone penalty…

Jared Gaither’s false start on 2nd & 1…

Cam Cameron’s questionable play calling…

Flacco’s interceptions…

We don’t have enough playmakers on offense…

We can’t stop Ben Roethlisberger…

The ridiculous roughing the kicker penalty…

Sweed’s hit on Ivy…

Clark’s hit on McGahee…

Ed Reed’s disappearance…

It really comes down to one simple concept: the Steelers are just flat out better than the Ravens.

Although it’s difficult to imagine after a loss, there were some positives to take away from the game.

Willis McGahee and Terrell Suggs played out of their mind. They put on two of the best performances in Ravens playoff history. Bart Scott, who played his projected last game as a Raven last night due to contract issues, played a great game as well.

And although Flacco didn’t play up to snuff, the offensive line certainly did. Sure, James Harrison got the best of Jared Gaither at times, but he was the defensive player of the year…what do you expect? On the whole, I thought the offensive line played well as a unit.

This team is very young and very talented, and it’s a very exciting time to be a Ravens fan.

Despite the losses to Pittsburgh, the Baltimore Ravens had a magical season.

Consider all of the joy and good times they brought this city…starting with Joe Flacco’s touchdown run against Cincinnati and ending with a tough loss to the hated Steelers, this season was an emotional roller coaster ride. And I think we can all agree that there were more good times than bad ones.

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Individual awards mean nothing,Reed in cafeteria, and other notes from Ravens facility

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Individual awards mean nothing,Reed in cafeteria, and other notes from Ravens facility

Posted on 06 January 2009 by caseywillett

Ray Lewis was asked today about guys on his team maybe getting snubbed for individual awards, but still playing for the ultimate team award,”everybody plays this game for one reason and that is to one day touch that Lombardi trophy.No matter who got snubbed, if you are still playing in the playoffs,every person that has an MVP honor would definitely trade that in to be in the position that we are in now.Nobody, plays the game for those type of awards,you play the game for that trophy.”

“It hurt worse than Super Bowl loss”

Those were the words from Samari Rolle when he was asked about the playoff loss to the Ravens when he was a member of the Titans in 2000. Rolle said the loss was bad because they knew whoever won that game was going to probably win the Super Bowl. That is a bold statement coming from a guy who was 1yd away from being on a team that would have tied the game and forced overtime or won it on a two-point conversion.

Not to much to do with the past

A lot of the questions today asked to Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, and Samari Rolle, was about when the Ravens and Titans meet in the playoffs in 2000.Ray Lewis said he can not stay stuck in 2000, ” I do not know who is stuck back there. I can’t be, and definitely this team can not be.”

Could it be destiny ?

Samari Rolle was asked if he found it ironic that the team will have to go through the Titans to get to the Super Bowl ? Rolle had a brief response, “destiny I believe.”

Going back to Nashville no big deal

For Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle, they both said going to play the Titans in Nashville is not that big of a deal for them. They both said they are removed several years from their time there and that it  will not be anything emotional about going back.

Flacco admits mistakes

Back in week 4 of the NFL season, Joe Flacco threw to two interceptions in the Titans game while trying to complete passes down the sideline. Today, Flacco admitted “I do not know what I was thinking. Just bone headed throws, I kind of gave them one real easy.” Flacco did however admit that he learned from those mistakes, “there is just times when you have to throw the ball out of bounds and live for the next down.”

Zibby to see more returns ?

Coach Harbaugh was asked today what he likes about Tom Zbikowski and what he has brought to the kick return game,”He has secured the football, he has taken it north and south, he has a record in college of being a good returner.We are hopeful we can make some plays with him in the kick return game.”

Suggs says rough passing call not the reason for the loss

It is a call a lot of Ravens fans will not forget. Terrell Suggs being called for roughing the passer when he hit Kerry Collins late in the fourth quarter with the Ravens leading 10-6. Suggs explained today that the game was not lost on that one play, “the game was not lost on that one play,could it have ended the game ? Yea, but they still sustained a drive. There was still plays that we could have could have got off of the field,and we didn’t.” On that 80 yard drive, Collins would find Alge Crumpler in the end zone with 1:56 left to go in the game for a 11yard td pass to win the game.

No award is no problem for Reed

With James Harrison winning defensive player of the year, people assume that Ed Reed would be upset about not winning that award. However, Reed says it is no disappointment,”no, there is no disappointment because there are a lot of great players in this league. You just play the game, you have fun, you enjoy playing it,you can not worry about all the accolades and the trophies. If you want a trophy, there is a trophy store down the street, you can go buy one.”

Collins lets the cat out of the bag ?

During Kerry Collins conference call with the media today, I asked Kerry what it has meant to him and the Titans offensive line to have a veteran guy like Kevin Mawae around. During his answer, he might have let some injury news slip out about their center who has been bothered with a right elbow injury since late December,”I wish he was out there with us this weekend, but I think Leroy Harris is stepping in and will do a good job.”

Leroy Harris is a guard/center from North Carolina State who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL draft. He has played mostly special teams for the Titans this season except for when he filled in late in the fourth quarter  for Mawae in the Titans 47-10 win over the Lions. He also filled in the fourth quarter of the 12/21 match up with the Steelers after Mawae left the game with an elbow injury. He got his first start in the NFL when he started the last week of the season against the Colts.

Reed covers the cafeteria

'Here come the Ravens. The team you don't want to see.'</b><br> <br> The Ravens' forced five turnovers (four interceptions and one touchdown) and routed the Miami Dolphins, 27-9, earning their first playoff win since January 2002. Ed Reed returned a second-quarter interception 64 yards for a touchdown and Joe Flacco became the first rookie quarterback to win his first playoff game on the road since the 1970 merger. With the victory, the Ravens advanced to the AFC divisional round and will play at the top-seeded Tennessee Titans on Saturday.

This picture is hanging up in the window the of the Ravens cafeteria with the words highlighted and circled.

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