Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Steelers (8-3) @ Ravens (8-3)

30

The Pittsburgh Steelers bring their 8-3 record into town this week looking to take control of the AFC North from the Ravens, and – despite what may be best for my mental and cardiovascular health – I’m going to be parked in front of the tv for the game. Popular hyperbole is that you can throw the records out the window when these two teams clash, but when they are both an equal 8-3, and the winner assumes the inside track for not only the division crown, but for a first round Playoff bye…yeah, the records matter.

Pittsburgh is coming off a game against the Buffalo Bills. A game in which, just like the Ravens in Week 6, they needed a small miracle in overtime to pull off the victory. For the Ravens, it was of course Ray Lewis’ strip and fumble recovery long after a whistle probably should have blown. For Pittsburgh, there were no less than 3 instances where Buffalo should have won the game. First, the Buffalo kick returner likely would have taken the opening kickoff of OT to the house – or at least into short field goal range – but he tripped over his own man just past midfield. Next, Pig Ben fumbled at the Steelers’ one-yard line, but recovered it himself. And finally – the one we’ve all seen by now – wide receiver Steve Johnson dropped a wide open touchdown pass in the end zone that would have given the Bills the win. It really sucks that the Ravens don’t come into this game with a full game lead on Pittsburgh already, but hopefully they used up every last bit of luck they had in that Buffalo game, and all bounces go for purple on Sunday night.

The Steelers once again boast the league’s number one run defense coming into B’More. Allowing just 64 yards per game, it will be rough sledding for Ray Rice and Willis McGahee. Add on the fact that lead blocker Le’Ron McClain remains extremely questionable for Sunday, and the Ravens’ prospects of ground success look pretty bleak. However, Pittsburgh also had the #1 run defense in 2009, and the Ravens managed to put up 132 and 175 yards in the two contests, with Ray Rice going for 141 by himself in Pittsburgh. In the first meeting this season, though, they managed only 70 yards on the ground. The run game as a whole has been disappointing in 2010 – and they proved in Week 4 that they don’t NEED to run the ball to beat the Steelers – but this would be a great week for Rice and Willis to finally bust out, and repeat some of the success they found against Pittsburgh a year ago.

In the Steelers’ two non-Raven losses this year, they have been carved up by two of the league’s premiere quarterbacks. Drew Brees of New Orleans threw for 305 yards and 2 TDs, and Tom Brady of New England put up 350 and 3 scores. Joe Flacco does not possess the quick release nor mastery of the short passing game that those two QBs exhibit, but the blueprint is there on how to attack this Pittsburgh secondary. Flacco showed in the first game, when he easily and efficiently drove 40 yards in 36 seconds for the game-winning strike to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, that he can move the ball through the air even when Troy Polamalu is, as he will be Sunday, roaming back there. In fact, since his disastrous rookie year against them, Joe has been decent against the Steelers in general, with ratings of 100.8, 83.1, and 82.7 in the three games (100.8 was in Baltimore).

Joe was sacked nine times by the Steelers in the two games in 2009, but only once in the first 2010 meeting. Tackles Michael Oher and Marshal Yanda did a superb job against linebackers Lamarr Woodley and James Harrison, and will need to repeat that success on Sunday night. Pittsburgh, as always, is right at the top of the NFL in sacks, tied for second with 32. Woodley has hit a bit of a dry spell lately, registering just one sack over the previous three games. Harrison has three in the last two games, and is as much of a beast as ever. He is hurting his team as well though, as “Silverback” has become the NFL’s poster boy for what it deems malicious hits. Harrison has been penalized and fined more than any other player (by a lot) for illegal hits, especially on quarterbacks. It was one thing – and not surprising at all – for Harrison to get penalized and punished for hits on glamor boys Brady and Brees. Last week, though, he was flagged and fined for a hit on Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s safe to say at this point that the refs are keeping a close eye on #92 in black and yellow. If the Ravens benefit from another questionable penalty on Harrison Sunday – as long as Flacco or anyone else isn’t injured on the play – I’m certainly not going to complain. It is a bit ridiculous though, but that’s a topic for another day.

The towel waving throngs have been beating the drum of “yeah well we didn’t have Ben” ever since that Week 4 Ravens victory. Putting aside for a second the fact that the drama queen now apparently has a broken foot – of course he does – coming into the game, Pig Ben isn’t near the conqueror of Charm City that Steelers fans would have us believe. Ben has a total of ONE win in B’More in his life. One more victory at M&T Bank Stadium than you or I have.

  • 2004 – Ben enters game for injured Tommy Maddox. Ravens win.
  • 2005 – Ben hurt, Maddox starts. Ravens win.
  • 2006 – Ben plays, sacked 9 times. Ravens win 27-0.
  • 2007 – Ben sits, Steelers having clinched Playoff spot. Ravens win.
  • 2008 – Ben plays, needs miracle last second questionable touchdown to win.
  • 2009 – Ben hurt, Dixon starts. Ravens win.

Yes, he’s 7-2 against the Ravens in his career. Six of those wins though, came in Pittsburgh (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2008), and three came against a rookie quarterback (2008, 2008, 2008).

Whoopdie doo.

The real Raven-killer isn’t Pig Ben, it’s the now departed Santonio Holmes. Holmes against the Ravens? Lights. Out.

  • 2007 @ Pitt – 4 rec, 110 yards, 2 TD
  • 2007 @ Bal – 4 rec, 98 yards, 1 TD
  • 2008 @ Pit – 3 rec, 61 yards, 1 TD
  • 2008 @ Bal – 3 rec, 21 yards, 1 (game winning) TD
  • 2008 @ Pit – 2 rec, 70 yards, 1 TD
  • 2009 @ Bal – 6 rec, 74 yards, 1 TD
  • 2009 @ Pit – 5 rec, 86 yards, 1 TD

Eight touchdowns in seven games, and at least one in all seven.  If and when the Ravens face the New York Jets again, be scared of Santonio.  Don’t be scared of Ben.

Of course, the Ravens also have Ed Reed back for this game. Reed missed the first Steeler game as well, something yinz always seem to forget when whining about Week 4. Reed has four interceptions in five games in 2010, and barely missed his fifth in five on back-to-back plays against Tampa.

With Holmes out of the picture, Reed’s attention will need to be focused on Mike Wallace. Wallace, the second year former college teammate of Michael Oher, leads the NFL in yards per reception, and has eight touchdowns already in 2010. In Week 4, the Ravens did a very good job on Wallace, especially Lardarius Webb, who knocked a potential touchdown pass out of his hands in the end zone. I love Webbie, but I’d like to see him getting some help from Fast Eddie Sunday night. Webb allowed Bucs’ receiver Michael Spurlock to beat him deep last week, and Wallace – should he break free like that – won’t drop the ball the way Spurlock did. Let Hiney Cheap Shot and Heath Miller work underneath, but don’t give up the big strike to Wallace.

On the ground, the B’More defense will have to bottle up Rashard Mendenhall the way they did Michael Turner and, to a lesser extent, LeGarrette Blount in previous weeks. Though not as inept as Willie Parker before him, Mendenhall never seems to get untracked against the Ravens. His best performance was a 24 carry 95 yard one in Baltimore last year. In the last two, he has managed only 2.1 and 3.2 yards per carry.

The Ravens should be able to take advantage of Pittsburgh’s extremely banged up offensive line. Terrell Suggs (the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November) and Jarret Johnson have cranked up the pressure in recent weeks, and could be in for a field day. The Steelers allowed five sacks to Buffalo (22nd in the league in sacks), and offensive lineman were called for something like eight holds on top of that. The best player on the OL, rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, has even struggled recently, perhaps hitting the proverbial “rookie wall.”

The last thing I want to mention is these stupid ass towels that the Ravens are handing out prior to the game. As Goob said in his pre-game video, don’t wave these damn things Ravens fans. Yell, clap, bang on the back of the chair in front of you – anything to you know, MAKE NOISE, when the Steelers’ offense is on the field. Memo to Ravens PR/Marketing departments: WE DO NOT WANT TOWELS. WE MAKE FUN OF STEELERS FANS FOR THEIR TOWELS. STOP TRYING TO GIVE THEM TO US!

They did this shit last year too, remember? If not, read what WNST’s Glenn Clark had to say about it then. Everything still applies.

Everything the Ravens set out to do in 2010 is still sitting right in front of them. Sunday they get the chance to really grab their destiny by it’s throat.

Go Ravens.

Ravens 23 Steelers 16

Comments

30 Responses to “Steelers (8-3) @ Ravens (8-3)”
  1. Oh goody, a return of the groundless “drama queen” Ben stuff, as common a Ravens fan phenomenon as blaming the refs for losses.

    You know who else tried to pull that this week? Mike Preston, a guy you spend a lot of time saying is awful. Guess you’re not any better. That must suck.

    I also love that, as evidence, you cite a Mike Florio (ha!) post where he admits he has no proof that the broken foot report originated from Roethlisberger but calls him a drama queen anyway. Hilarious in its hackness.

    So much other contradictory stuff in this post (wins against rookie QBs for Ben = suspect, but a Ravens win against Roethlisberger making his first career appearance in ’04 coming in in the second half with a multiple-score deficit = beat your chest) but who has the time? Oh, predictably pathetic Nest.

  2. NestMinder says:

    Aw, and here I thought we had a cease-fire? For some reason you made it damn near impossible to comment at DCSN, so I can’t even defend myself when you quote me and twist my words to whatever suits your ‘tarded motives.

    http://dcsteelernation.blogspot.com/2010/10/christ-what-asshole.html

    Yes, Preston sucks.

    Yes, Ben is a drama queen. We’re not having this argument again.

    (wins against rookie QBs for Ben = suspect, but a Ravens win against Roethlisberger making his first career appearance in ’04 coming in in the second half with a multiple-score deficit = beat your chest)

    And of course, you find “chest beating” where there is none. What did I say?

    2004 – Ben enters game for injured Tommy Maddox. Ravens win.

    Facts, the lot of them. No chest beating. Stating facts.

    As always though, reading comprehension is far from your strong suit. The only thing predictable is that you’ll take anything I say and twist it to fit your little weaselly notions and preconceptions.

  3. Matt says:

    I thought Steelers fans were the ones who been complaining about the Refs lately. So I got a new dog that I am trying to housebreak, do you think A Football Fans Manifesto is a good tool to use?

  4. Matt says:

    Nevermind it’s the Steelers ownership that is complaining about the refs

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/12/03/art-rooney-thinks-the-steelers-are-being-targeted/

  5. NestMinder says:

    And their coach.

    And their players.

    And yes, their fans.

    And don’t quote Mike Florio’s site, didn’t you know that he’s a hack?

  6. vi ravens fan says:

    Not to mention that the stillers fans were the ones saying things like “no excuses for injured players,” “you play with who you got, no complaining,” when t-sizzle was playing hurt in 2008, along with a few other ravens. But somehow that doesn’t apply when ben rapistberger misses a game… odd.

  7. For some reason you made it damn near impossible to comment at DCSN

    Damn near impossible? As in, I stopped comments from anonymous users to keep out spam and trolls. WHAT AN IMPERMEABLE FORTRESS I HAVE BUILT!

    Yes, Ben is a drama queen. We’re not having this argument again.

    Because you have no point, here. You just want to call him one. He’s said nothing about his injury this week. Definitely no Terrell Suggs pre-’08 AFC Title Game histrionics.

    Yes, Steelers fans, owners and players are bitching about the new helmet policy and its consequences vis a vis James Harrison. This is true. Of course, Ravens players – Suggs and Ray-Ray – have agreed with them. Just something to keep in mind.

    But one thing Steelers haven’t done is blame the officiating for losses. That ball is still in your court. Why, didn’t Ray-Ray do it after the Bengals game?

    Facts, the lot of them. No chest beating. Stating facts.

    Please. You were using it as an example to show how Ben isn’t good in Baltimore. Don’t be coy. At least stand behind your retarded arguments.

  8. NestMinder says:

    As in, I stopped comments from anonymous users to keep out spam and trolls.

    No, you stopped comments using Name/URL.

    This is true. Of course, Ravens players – Suggs and Ray-Ray – have agreed with them.

    And everyone here agrees with them too. See this above?

    If the Ravens benefit from another questionable penalty on Harrison Sunday – as long as Flacco or anyone else isn’t injured on the play – I’m certainly not going to complain. It is a bit ridiculous though, but that’s a topic for another day.

    Of course, though, in a post that is 90% complimentary of Steelers’ players, you manage to pick out one little ridiculous perceived slight where I “beat my chest.”

    Please. You were using it as an example to show how Ben isn’t good in Baltimore.

    Pointing out how he “isn’t good” is chest-beating?

    I was using it to describe how simply having the guy on the field doesn’t guarantee victory, like every towel-waver wants to believe. The best way to do that, that I know of, is to go through every game Pittsburgh has played in Baltimore since he has been on the roster and lay out what happened in those games. In the league since 04, and this is but his third start in the home of a division opponent? Pretty extraordinary. Point is, there’s no evidence to support the notion that he owns the Ravens, at least not in Baltimore.

    I guess that constitutes beating my chest though.

  9. Matt says:

    Besides have the Steelers beaten a team with a winning record all season besides Tampa?

  10. NestMinder says:

    They beat Atlanta. And I think Oakland and maybe Miami had winning records at the time anyway.

  11. Matt says:

    The minute the Atlanta show up for a road game against a decent team that is outdoors will be the first time and the Raiders and Dolphins will have losing records or be near 8-8 when the season is done.

  12. NestMinder says:

    By that measure though, the Ravens have only beaten Jets, Steelers, and Tampa.

    WOOOOOOOOOOO THAT’S SOME GOOD CHEST BEATIN’!!!!!!!!

  13. Matt says:

    Not to mention the Dolphins had a winning record when we played them and was undefeated on the road at the time.

  14. No, you stopped comments using Name/URL.

    Nope. Just checked the settings. No one else seems to be having this problem, either.

    I was using it to point out how simply having the guy on the field doesn’t guarantee victory, like every towel-waver wants to believe.

    Well, it seems like you’re not doing much to support that theory by showing that they haven’t won in Baltimore without him starting since before he was drafted. But yes, he’s 1-1 as a starter in Baltimore. He lost his first start in M&T Bank and won his second. By comparison, Flacco lost his first three in Heinz Field before beating a third-string QB in the final minute to get his first away victory against Pittsburgh. Ben doesn’t “own” the Ravens in Baltimore at this point, but I’d say his early history is better than Flacco’s by that standard.

    In the league since 04, and this is but his third start in the home of a division opponent? Pretty extraordinary.

    Indeed. But rather than simply savor your good fortunate – while Ben is certainly not unbeatable against the Ravens, he’s far better than any alternative the team has – Ravens fan would rather just be bigger assholes and claim Roethlisberger is soft or a drama queen.

  15. NestMinder says:

    By comparison, Flacco lost his first three in Heinz Field before beating a third-string QB in the final minute to get his first away victory against Pittsburgh. Ben doesn’t “own” the Ravens in Baltimore at this point, but I’d say his early history is better than Flacco’s by that standard.

    Dude, who’s talking about Flacco? Certainly, nobody has ever said that Joe owns Heinz Field, and nobody would argue your point that Ben’s early history is better. If any Ravens fans will say that “now that we have Flacco, we’ll never lose in Pittsburgh again,” they’ve obviously got a screw loose. I never said that Ben being 1-1 as a starter in Baltimore means Joe is better.

    Ravens fan would rather just be bigger assholes and claim Roethlisberger is soft or a drama queen.

    Completely unrelated. I’m not saying he’s a drama queen because he’s only made 2 starts in Baltimore. And come on man, it’s not just Ravens fans that call him that.

    Re: the commenting thing-

    I seriously have no idea, I guess.

  16. Matt says:

    Nah, I think I rather be an asshole and besides why should I applaud Ben Roethlisberger for finally learning at the age of 28 that forcing himself on women is wrong. I think I learned that in health class when I was 14.

  17. Completely unrelated. I’m not saying he’s a drama queen because he’s only made 2 starts in Baltimore. And come on man, it’s not just Ravens fans that call him that.

    The guy takes more contact than any quarterback in the league – a good deal of it willingly because of his style of his play. Whoever is calling him soft is just stupidly picking fights.

    As for the drama queen shit, it comes up every single time he has an injury, no matter its severity and no matter how he reacts to it. What exactly did Roethlisberger do this week to court drama besides getting hurt in the first place? Nothing. Florio repeats that shit because it equals pageviews, which is the only reason Florio does anything. It’s just a cheap and stupid way to try to detract from him. Are McClain and Oher drama queens, too?

    Touche, Matt, you fucking simp. Go play in the street and wait for Donte.

  18. Matt says:

    Ouch that rough almost as rough as being locked in a bathroom with Big Ben,

  19. that rough almost as rough

    How many extra chromosomes do you have? Or how many are you missing?

  20. Matt says:

    About as many to realize I am getting in a war with a two bit internet hack. But I am enjoying it from my Blackberry on the ride home from work.

  21. NestMinder says:

    Simp vs. Chimp.

    WHO YA GOT?

    you boys play nice.

  22. Matt says:

    Fine with me, I don’t take this stuff too seriously. Remember when I said I was going to sneak in a Purple Vuvuzela and blow in every Steelers fan’s ear?

  23. Matt says:

    What exactly is a simp anyways? I wish we had the stupid Bills fans again or at least the retarded Steelers fans who called us Ovechkin Choking loosers. Number 1 that is a DC team, Number 2 I am an American I hate Hockey. Basketball is more my speed anyways. If you want to call the Wizards lousy it’s not going to insult me I antipate them being another lottery pick

  24. HereWeGo says:

    Haha I love Steelers-Ravens week. As a Steelers fan, I found the article to be fair. I don’t agree with the drama queen stuff…Roethlisberger takes a lot of contact so he naturally gets beat up each year. Agree it is something a lot of other fans/analysts have called him though. I’m really enjoying the Chimp vs Simp battle, but my money’s on the Chimp in that one. You gotta admit the wait in the street for Donte line was a good one…

  25. Matt says:

    HereWeGo is a cool guy. He is a Steelers fan but doesn’t come off like he is he is better than you, unlike a certain Winter Holiday Primate.

  26. HereWeGo says:

    Haha I’m glad the primate returned though, the back and forth makes for some good laughs! Nest, can we get some in game blogging for this one???

  27. NestMinder says:

    In game blogging? I can’t type when my hands are shaking, which they’re sure to be.

  28. Matt says:

    Live Blog? Live Blog? Are you kidding me? I’m actually going to the game. I will be more concern with hypothermia instead of doing shtick on a website live blog. You seen the weather reports? It will be as cold as the Redskins game a few years back.

  29. HereWeGo says:

    Yeah I’ll be at the game too, it would be good to be able to come back and see Nest’s emotion throughout the game…I know he’ll be wild!

  30. Name: Mark says:

    I don’t know who Runn Bengston is but he just mumbled: “Plus side: The next time Ben Roethlisberger is in a mugshot situation, it’s not matching up with the previous ones.” I like that

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