Tag Archive | "Steelers"

Flacco spells it out following big win over rival Pittsburgh

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Flacco spells it out following big win over rival Pittsburgh

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Joe Flacco’s comments about Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s controversial involvement during a long Jacoby Jones kick return will garner the attention in the aftermath of the Ravens’ 22-20 win over their AFC North rival.

But it was Flacco explaining why he appeared to be more animated than usual Thursday night that struck a chord as the Ravens not only improved to 6-6 to pull into the lead for the No. 6 spot in the AFC but eclipsed the 20-point mark in a game for the first time since Week 5. He wasn’t satisfied with one of the better offensive outputs of the season.

“I was just frustrated, mostly,” Flacco said. “There were so many opportunities out there for us to score points and just win big and put the game away. We didn’t do it, and we left [the Pittsburgh comeback] to happen. That’s just frustrating. When you’re not converting and scoring touchdowns, you’re hoping that doesn’t happen, but in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, ‘Man, this is going to catch up to us.’”

It almost did catch up with them as the Ravens didn’t sew up the pivotal win until Ben Roethlisberger’s two-point conversion pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders fell incomplete with 1:03 remaining in the game. The 22-point outing was their fourth-highest total of the season, but it could have been much more as the Ravens were only 1-for-4 inside the red zone.

The offense put together five drives of 40 or more yards, which isn’t a feat to take lightly when you enter Week 13 as the league’s 30th-ranked offense and are tied for 24th in averaging 20.6 points per game. The production came with the defense not forcing a single turnover to set up the Ravens offense on a short field, though the offense did benefit from Jones’ 73-yard kickoff return that would have been a touchdown if not for Tomlin’s apparent interference along the sideline.

Their six scoring drives — one touchdown and five Justin Tucker field goals — were the most they’ve had since a win over the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 6.

They were 10-for-17 on third down after going 3-for-13 against the New York Jets a week earlier.

And Sam Koch punted only one time, besting his previous season low of three that was set in the first meeting with Pittsburgh.

It was progress — if even just a little.

“I thought we played pretty well tonight, to be honest with you,” Flacco said. “That’s why I was so frustrated. We did so many things really, really well and put ourselves in so many positions to put points on the board and put a lot on there tonight. Anytime you score 22 points, you basically kicked all field goals and you scored on a lot of drives. You didn’t punt the ball, you didn’t turn the ball over. We did so many things well. We were right there. That’s why I think it’s probably a little more animated and so frustrating, because we were just right there. You could taste it, and we just didn’t convert a lot.”

The predictable warts of the Baltimore offense surfaced over the course of 60 minutes as the running game was once again ineffective and several penalties — including three false starts by right tackle Michael Oher — made life more difficult. Flacco was also let down by a couple key drops as wide receiver Torrey Smith struggled to catch the ball consistently after a dominating opening drive in which he caught the Ravens’ only touchdown of the game.

After making headlines earlier this week about his disdain for the wildcat offense, Flacco turned in one of his best performances of the season, completing 24 of 35 passes for 251 yards and the 7-yard touchdown to Smith that followed a 54-yard strike earlier in the Ravens’ first series of the night. His footwork in and out of the pocket was exceptional as he bought himself time and eluded pressure on numerous occasions.

For the first time ever, Flacco and the Ravens got the best of Roethlisberger in a late-season game with major postseason ramifications.

And the sixth-year quarterback didn’t even have to line up at wide receiver a single time.

After so many weeks of needing to say the right things after abysmal offensive performances, Flacco wasn’t interested in patting his offensive teammates or himself on the back too much.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot,” Flacco said. “A couple of catches that we could have made, false starts. On the one that I remember, I rolled out right and tried to hit Torrey on the right side, but we had a guy wide open on the left sideline. We just didn’t get it picked up the right way — little stuff like that. The penalties, it’s not even stuff that you can fix in practice. We’ve just got to be a little better. I’ve probably got to have a little bit better rhythm with my cadence.”

Even with progress offensively that started last week with the reappearance of the vertical passing game — arguably the most critical offensive development of the season — the Ravens will continue to be impeded by their poor running game and inability to consistently use the middle of the field in the passing attack. The expected return of tight end Dennis Pitta for the Week 14 contest against the Minnesota Vikings should help but won’t suddenly transform the Baltimore offense into a top-10 unit.

The schedule also grows difficult after the Vikings game as the Ravens will play three teams projected to be in the playoffs — two of them on the road — to close out the regular season. Baltimore will desperately need to find a way to improve on its ugly 1-5 record away from M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens don’t have the luxury of resting on their laurels and getting comfortable, but if the last two weeks are any indication, their franchise quarterback is beginning to heat up at the right time after several sub-par performances following their Week 8 bye.

With a good — but not great — defense and a one-dimensional offense, the Ravens still don’t look the part of a serious playoff team despite their current standing as the AFC’s No. 6 seed. They’ll go as far as Flacco will take them, however, which means they can’t be slept on entirely.

Beating the Steelers in a game with their playoff lives on the line was a significant step in the right direction.

“It was kind of like a boxing match out there early on,” Flacco said. “There are definitely high emotions, and a lot that goes into this football game. It’s really because winning it means a lot, in terms of the grand scheme of things. We all understand that.”

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Our Ravens/Steelers “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Steelers “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 29 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs 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’ 22-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Thanksgiving night at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn’s Pats…

5. Bernard Pierce

 

4. James Ihedigbo

 

3. Lardarius Webb

 

2. Torrey Smith

1. Justin Tucker (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Jacoby Jones was thinking: “Is Tomlin going to move?”

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Jacoby Jones was thinking: “Is Tomlin going to move?”

Posted on 29 November 2013 by WNSTV

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Flacco: “Tomlin pulled my move!”

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Flacco: “Tomlin pulled my move!”

Posted on 29 November 2013 by WNSTV

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Steelers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — The stakes are clear as the Ravens welcome the hated Pittsburgh Steelers to Baltimore for the 39th all-time meeting between the AFC North rivals.

A win puts John Harbaugh’s team in prime position to at least secure the No. 6 seed in the conference and advance to the postseason for the sixth consecutive season. However, a defeat all but ends Baltimore’s playoff hopes as it would give Pittsburgh a one-game lead and the head-to-head tiebreaker and force the Ravens to need to run the table over the final quarter of the season just to get to 9-7.

Of course, the Ravens will need to top quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who owns a 7-2 record against Baltimore in the Harbaugh era. The Ravens have never gotten the best of the veteran quarterback with the stakes at their highest late in the season.

Despite not activating tight end Dennis Pitta from injured reserve-designated to return, the Ravens find themselves in excellent shape physically as only reserve rookie safety Brynden Trawick (ankle) is inactive due to an injury. As expected, defensive end Chris Canty is active and will start after he was listed as probable with a shoulder injury.

Veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley is also active for the second straight week while second-year wideout Deonte Thompson will be inactive once again.

Meanwhile, the Steelers will be without two defensive starters as nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) and outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) are inactive. For Woodley, it’s his third straight missed game, but the Steelers have received strong play from outside linebacker Jason Worilds over the last few weeks.

Al Woods will start in place of McLendon at nose tackle while rookie Jarvis Jones will start for Woodley.

The Steelers lead the all-time regular-season series with a 20-15 advantage along with a 3-0 edge in postseason play. The Ravens are 8-9 in Baltimore against Pittsburgh and are trying to avoid a season sweep to their AFC North adversary, which would be the first since the 2008 season.

In the 13 meetings between these teams since 2008, 10 have been decided by four or fewer points and the last four games have each been decided by three in what’s been regarded by many as the best rivalry in the NFL.

Unlike the last three games in which the Ravens have played, Thursday’s game will not be complicated by high winds as the forecast for kickoff calls for temperatures in the mid-30s and winds only reaching three miles per hour.

Thursday night’s referee will be Clete Blakeman.

The Ravens will be wearing black jerseys and black pants while Pittsburgh dons its white tops with gold pants.

Here are Thursday night’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
S Brynden Trawick
S Omar Brown
RB Bernard Scott
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Deonte Thompson
LB John Simon
DT Brandon Williams

PITTSBURGH
OLB LaMarr Woodley
QB Landry Jones
WR Derek Moye
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke
TE Richard Gordon
ILB Stevenson Sylvester
NT Steve McLendon

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium throughout the night.

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Ravens don’t activate Pitta to play against Steelers

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Ravens don’t activate Pitta to play against Steelers

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens continue to take it slow with tight end Dennis Pitta after electing not to activate him by Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night.

Pitta began practicing on Nov. 20 and was never considered a realistic possibility to play last Sunday against the New York Jets, but the organization had hoped in the weeks leading to the tight end’s return to the practice field that he’d be available to play against the AFC North rival Steelers. However, Pitta and coach John Harbaugh both expressed the need to take their time in evaluating how well the 2010 fourth-round pick’s hip holds up to the rigors of football-related activity and contact.

Harbaugh revealed little about Pitta’s status when he met with the media following Wednesday’s practice in Owings Mills and was asked whether he was nearing a return to game action..

“He’s closer — yes, he is,” Harbaugh said. “Dennis Pitta is closer.”

After Thursday’s game against the Steelers, the Ravens will not play again until Dec. 8 when they welcome the Minnesota Vikings to M&T Bank Stadium. Given the timing of Pitta’s return to practice, that Week 14 contest would seem like the logical date that he’ll play in a game barring any setbacks.

Pitta suffered a dislocated and fractured hip on July 27 but was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return in early September after the injury revealed no ligament or cartilage damage in the surrounding hip area.

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Thursday night

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Ravens-Steelers: Five predictions for Thursday night

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Though each team carries an underwhelming 5-6 record, playoff ramifications are high on Thanksgiving as the Ravens and Steelers meet for the 36th time in the regular season but the first time ever on a Thursday night.

A win pushes the Ravens closer toward the No. 6 spot in the AFC while a loss all but ends their season as they would likely need to win their remaining four games to have any chance of advancing to the postseason for the sixth straight time under head coach John Harbaugh.

The Ravens are healthier than they’ve been at any point this season as defensive end Chris Canty was the only starter on the injury report — listed as probable — while the Steelers will be without starting nose tackle Steve McLendon and are unlikely to have outside linebacker and sack leader LaMarr Woodley, who is doubtful with a calf injury. However, it appears Baltimore will likely need to wait at least one more week for the return of tight end Dennis Pitta.

It’s time to go on the record as the Steelers look for their first season sweep over Baltimore since the 2008 season and hold the 20-15 edge all-time in the regular season while also owning a 3-0 advantage in the postseason. The Ravens are 8-9 against Pittsburgh in Baltimore and have lost two of the last three played at M&T Bank Stadium. The last four meetings and nine of the last 11 regular-season contests between the Ravens and Steelers have each been decided by just three points.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens look to move to the .500 mark for the first time since mid-October …

1. Tyrod Taylor will see a few offensive snaps but will not line up under center as the wildcat discussion will calm considerably. Should the Ravens continue using the gimmick offense after Joe Flacco said Tuesday that he didn’t expect to see it much moving forward, the doubts of whether the quarterback and the coaching staff are on the same page will only get stronger. The truth is the wildcat attack isn’t going to be the difference-maker the Ravens need as opponents see it more and more, but there’s no reason Taylor can’t be used lining up as a wide receiver or even at running back on occasion. If the Steelers were forced to even spend as much as 20 or 30 minutes in a short week preparing for the possibility of the Ravens using the novelty offense, I suppose that’s an advantage for Baltimore, but it won’t dramatically alter the outcome of the game.

2. Neither team will run for more than 80 yards as Le’Veon Bell won’t duplicate his strong Week 7 performance. Pittsburgh used its own version of the wildcat in the first meeting of the season, which led to a season-high 141 yards on the ground for the league’s 30th-ranked running game. Meanwhile, the Ravens haven’t run effectively against anyone except Miami in Week 5 and the Bears two weeks ago, so it’s difficult to expect them to do much against even the Steelers’ 23rd-ranked run defense. After years of these rivals thriving on dominating defense and the running game, it’s clear that the 2013 versions of the Ravens and Steelers simply do not fit that profile. You’re much more likely to see 300-yard performances from either of the starting quarterbacks than to see a 100-yard day from either Bell or Ray Rice as the defenses will control the line of scrimmage.

3. Justin Tucker will miss his first field goal since Week 2. Anyone recall when the second-year kicker missed two tries in the home opener against Cleveland and was outperformed by former Raven Billy Cundiff? So much for any concerns of a sophomore slump as Tucker hasn’t missed a kick since, earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for November and also the weekly honor after booting four field goals in last Sunday’s win over the Jets. Tucker’s streak of 22 consecutive field goals is tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history — Matt Stover’s 36 straight is the record mark — and he has been the Ravens’ most reliable player this season. Now, after heaping all that praise on the unflappable 24-year-old, Thursday seems like the time when he’ll finally miss a kick while booting two others successfully.

4. Flacco will throw for 230 yards and a touchdown, but the Ravens’ red-zone struggles will carry over from last week. What was lost through all the comments Flacco made about the wildcat and his disdain for lining up at the wide receiver position was the fact that the sixth-year quarterback played his best game since before the bye week this past Sunday. The Ravens will have a tougher time against Pittsburgh’s 10th-ranked pass defense than they did against the Jets’ vulnerable secondary, but the most encouraging development from their Week 12 win was the vertical connections to Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Flacco will need to make big plays with his arm to best Ben Roethlisberger, and he will have a strong performance as he typically does in big games. However, the Ravens’ lack of consistent weapons will once again hurt in the red zone despite a touchdown to Smith.

5. The same movie will play out once again as the Ravens come up short in a big game against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in a 17-13 final. Baltimore has the advantage at home playing on a short week, but the Ravens have always failed against Pittsburgh when the stakes are high, and Thursday certainly qualifies in that regard. The Ravens are arguably playing their best football of the year after winning two of their last three games, but Pittsburgh has been even better in winning five of seven and Roethlisberger has outplayed Flacco over the last six weeks of the season. The Ravens hold the edge defensively over Pittsburgh’s aging defense, but the Steelers offense is markedly better than Baltimore’s, which will be the difference in this one. It will be a close game as it typically is between these AFC North rivals, but a late drive culminating with a Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Antonio Brown will be the difference as the Ravens’ playoff hopes are dealt a fatal blow.

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“The Reality Check” Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

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“The Reality Check” Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

Glenn Clark’s Rankings…

32. Houston Texans (Last Week 31)

Sumlin/Manziel 2014?

31. Atlanta Falcons (30)

Jadaveon Clowney would be a nice addition.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (32)

I really want to move them ahead of the Redskins but I’m not quite ready to do that.

29. Washington Redskins (28)

Absolutely pathetic.

28. Minnesota Vikings (27)

A tie is like kissing your sister and then remembering you’re still the Vikings.

27. Oakland Raiders (26)

But yet not far from the playoff race.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (29)

Mike Glennon HAS to be your quarterback? Maybe?

25. Cleveland Browns (19)

They duped me. My apologies.

24. New York Giants (17)

There’s always next year.

23. Buffalo Bills (23)

Don’t drop because they were on a bye. Not because they’re good.

22. New York Jets (15)

I don’t care that they’re 5-6. They’re garbage. Absolute garbage.

21. Green Bay Packers (21)

The needed time to figure out even Matt Flynn is better than Steve Tolzien?

20. St. Louis Rams (24)

If they were in the AFC they’d run away with the 6th playoff spot.

19. Miami Dolphins (18)

At least they were competitive?

18. Tennessee Titans (25)

You struggle to believe it, but.

17. Baltimore Ravens (20)

One more win changes everything.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Roethlisberger standing in Ravens’ way once again

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Roethlisberger standing in Ravens’ way once again

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — What needs to be said that hasn’t already been uttered to describe one of the NFL’s best rivalries of the last 15 years?

When the Ravens meet the Steelers at least twice per season, we use terms such as old school, throwback, and bloodbath to describe a series in which 11 of the 13 meetings between these AFC North teams in the John Harbaugh have been decided by one score or less, with points often at a premium in low-scoring defensive struggles.

Thursday’s meeting is the first since 1999 in which both the Ravens and Steelers sport losing records, but the stakes are much higher than respective 5-6 records normally indicate as the two are tied with four other teams for the sixth-best record in the AFC. The winner of Thursday’s game will be in prime position to grab the final wild-card spot in the conference while the loser will face the prospects of needing to run the table over the final quarter of the season for any hope of playing in January.

“If you aren’t ready for this game, then you have no business on either one of the two teams,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “I have a feeling both teams are preparing. We’re both getting ready, and we’ll you see you guys out there Thursday night.”

After winning their second Super Bowl title in the last 13 seasons and the first of the Harbaugh era last February, the Ravens hardly need validation for what they’ve accomplished — particularly since the start of the 2008 season — but they’ll also stare across the line of scrimmage at their toughest adversary as a red-hot Ben Roethlisberger once again stands in the way of their potential postseason path. Named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November, the 10th-year quarterback has dug Pittsburgh out of an 0-4 hole and has put them right back in the playoff picture.

The Ravens do appear to have the upper hand in hosting the Thanksgiving night game while the Steelers are playing their second road game in a five-day span, but the home team faces the harsh reality of knowing it’s never beaten Roethlisberger in a game when the stakes are at their highest.

Of course, Pittsburgh knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs in the 2008 and 2010 seasons. An early-December home loss to the Steelers in 2010 crushed the Ravens’ hopes of a division title and first-round bye and ultimately led to them playing at Heinz Field instead of M&T Bank Stadium a month later in the divisional round. December losses to the Steelers in 2008 and 2009 temporarily compromised the Ravens’ playoff standing before they recovered to earn a wild-card spot each time.

And while quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens exorcised some demons with a last-second comeback win at Heinz Field in 2011 to complete a season sweep, that early-November tilt didn’t exactly carry the weight of knowing their season was essentially over if they didn’t win like Thursday night’s game does.

History isn’t on the Ravens’ side when facing Roethlisberger in a big game, and the 31-year-old quarterback has thrown 14 touchdowns and five interceptions over the last seven games to lead the Steelers to five wins, leading many to believe Pittsburgh is the favorite among the six 5-6 teams to grab the No. 6 seed in the AFC.

“You can sing Ben’s praises,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve seen it firsthand. Any Baltimore fan understands what he can do. He can throw on time, he can get out of the pocket and run, he can get out of the pocket and extend plays downfield, and they build their offense around his skills. He’s been a great quarterback for many years.”

Roethlisberger’s relationship with Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been strained as there were even rumors earlier this month about the quarterback potentially parting ways with the organization, but a three-game winning streak has calmed that discussion. Of course, an improved effort from Pittsburgh’s offensive line has helped as Roethlisberger has been sacked only once in his last two games.

That coupled with the Steelers successfully running a no-huddle offense will pose a challenge to the Ravens’ pass rush that is tied for the NFL lead with 37 sacks in 11 games. It’s one thing to put heat on the 241-pound quarterback in the pocket, but allowing him to escape pressure often leads to problems downfield as wide receivers such as Antonio Brown — who leads the NFL with 80 catches and the conference with 1,044 receiving yards — are trained to break off routes to take advantage of the veteran’s ability to improvise.

Roethlisberger’s ability to extend plays has frustrated the Ravens time after time in the past, including earlier this season when he directed a last-minute drive for a field goal in a 19-16 win at Heinz Field. In all, the Ravens are 5-8 against Pittsburgh in the Harbaugh-Flacco era, but that record falls to just 2-7 when Roethlisberger has started.

“He’s just great at loose plays, really,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “I think you guys see it all the time when he plays. He’s just hard to tackle, and then he’s just able to find some receivers and throw the ball. He’s just a great quarterback that way. We’ve just got to do a great job at trying to plaster those guys that are leaking out and get him down when we have the chance.”

It’s easier said than done as the Ravens will try to avoid the same movie playing once again as they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive. A loss to the Steelers would not only drop Baltimore a game behind in the quest for the No. 6 seed but would give Pittsburgh a tiebreaker advantage by way of a season sweep.

The great equalizer to Roethlisberger could be Suggs, who has gone three straight games without a sack after collecting at least one in seven of his first eight games this season. The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year has sacked the Steelers signal-caller a staggering 16 1/2 times in the regular season and playoffs combined, and the Ravens will undoubtedly be looking at him and fellow edge rusher Elvis Dumervil to put more heat on Roethlisberger than they did last month when they combined for only 1 1/2 sacks and two quarterback hits in the narrow defeat.

With the pass-rushing duo and the homefield advantage, the Ravens will try to do what they’ve never been able to do before — get the best of Roethlisberger when the chips are down late in the season.

Harbaugh and Flacco haven’t been able to do it.

Suggs and Ngata have come up empty every time as well.

Even future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed could never top the Steelers quarterback when they really needed to.

And the Steelers quarterback is in the midst of a hot streak with something to play for, making him even more dangerous than he was when the Ravens saw him six weeks ago.

“He has looked like he is getting back to being Ben,” Suggs said, “shaking guys off and making plays just when you think the play has broken down. I think that’s when he’s at his best — when he’s most comfortable.”

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Pitta “closer” to returning to action, Canty probable for Steelers game

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Pitta “closer” to returning to action, Canty probable for Steelers game

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Despite facing the challenges of preparing for a short week, the Ravens couldn’t ask for a much better bill of health for their Thanksgiving night meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Defensive end Chris Canty (shoulder) was listed as probable after practicing on a limited basis all week and is the only Baltimore starter even listed on the injury report. Rookie safety Brynden Trawick was ruled out for Thursday’s game after suffering an ankle injury in the Week 12 win over the New York Jets last weekend and missing all three practices this week.

The only drama regarding the Ravens’ health picture is the status of tight end Dennis Pitta, who has now been practicing for a week in his return from a dislocated and fractured hip suffered on July 27. The Ravens must activate Pitta by 4 p.m. Thursday in order for him to play against the Steelers, but head coach John Harbaugh was tight-lipped regarding the fourth-year tight end’s status for Thursday night.

“He’s closer. Yes, he is,” Harbaugh said. “Dennis Pitta is closer [to returning].”

Pitta’s chances of returning for last Sunday’s game against the Jets were always considered extremely remote, but it remains to be seen whether the Ravens will activate him against their AFC North rival. Baltimore has wanted to see Pitta practice enough to not only get back into football shape but determine how strong his hip is in responding to the rigors of contact and being back on the field.

With the Ravens having a 10-day gap between the Steelers game and their next contest against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 8, Week 14 could be a more realistic target date for his return.

Meanwhile, the Steelers are unlikely to have outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley after he was listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game. He has missed Pittsburgh’s last two games with a calf injury and sat out Wednesday’s practice after working on a limited basis a day earlier.

The Steelers also ruled out starting nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) earlier in the week, but defensive end Brett Keisel is probable after missing the last two games with a foot injury.

Baltimore announced Wednesday that rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore will not be activated from the non-football injury list after his three-week practice window expired. This ends the Notre Dame product’s season after he was drafted in the sixth round of April’s draft.

Lewis-Moore tore his ACL in the BCS national championship game against the University of Alabama last January.

The referee for Thursday’s game will be Clete Blakeman.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s with much calmer winds than the Ravens have dealt with in their previous three games.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: S Brynden Trawick (ankle)
PROBABLE: DE Chris Canty (shoulder)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: DT Steve McLendon (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: LB LaMarr Woodley (calf)
PROBABLE: T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Brett Keisel (foot), TE Heath Miller (NIR), S Troy Polamalu (NIR), LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring), S Shamarko Thomas (ankle)

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