The Steelers had a chance at redemption last night. As well as they've been playing lately, everyone still felt the sting of that Week 1 blowout. Coming off a dominant win over New England, the Steelers had a chance to really take their place atop the AFC. A win versus Baltimore would have taken care of the team's two biggest rivals in two weeks, and with a less-than-terrifying schedule for the rest of the season, they would have been in good position to play for a first-round bye.
That isn't how it went, though. There's a lot of season left, and the Steelers will have some catching up to do. In the meantime, jump for what happened last night.
Tomlin and Woodley come out rocking some classy vintage-style Steeler hoodies.
Ray Rice runs for a touchdown on the first play. They call it back on one of the weakest holding calls of the last 5 years. Torrey Smith and William Gay were both looknig pretty lazy on the play. We'll take it. Ricky Williams gets a few plays while Rice takes a breather and they churn out a first down. Jason Worilds made a nice hit on Rice in there somewhere. Flacco is under pressure on 3rd down but he hurls a prayer downfield to some tight end.
The Ravens keep moving ominously toward the goal line. Willie Gay doesn't help the cause when he interferes with someone in the end zone. Ryan Clark almost picks off a pass in the end zone. Larry Foote stonewalls Ray Rice. Rice tries again up the middle. He gets held up and the officials blow the whistle. He falls forward into the end zone but the play was dead. They settle for a field goal. 3-0.
Huge defensive stand.
Mendenhall rips through the defense for 9 yards and Ben does his triple-pump-fake thing but it doesn't get to any Steelers. Mendy gets shut down after that and Daniel Sepulveda Jeremy Kapinos punts it away.
Dennis Pitta gets another first down. William Gay gets away with a hold on Torrey Smith, but he reels in a 29 yard catch on the next play anyway. Gay deflects a pass up in the air on 3rd down. Butler has a shot at it but can't get turned around in time. Cundiff comes out for the field goal. Miss.
Ben hits Heath Miller on first down for 14 yards. Antonio Brown gets loose by himself on the left side of the field and Ben gets around a defender to get him the ball. Ed Reed is exactly as good at tackling as he's ever been and Blood Type runs right past him for a ton of yards.
GE runs a 15 minute commercial about jet engines.
Some dude interferes with Brown on his way to the end zone. No call. Ray Lewis headbutts Ward in the side of the helmet. Yikes. Looks like the officials are letting everything go. We're happy as long as they stay consistent in what they flag.
Ward leaves the game with a concussion and Suisham kicks a 36 yard field goal. 3-3.
Some guys fumbles on the kickoff return but the Ravens recover. Ziggy Hood just barely catches Ray Rice and keeps him from getting a first down. Cundiff kicks another field goal. 6-3.
Blood Type makes a huge play on 3rd down. It's just what he does. The Ravens' DBs make a bunch of solid defensive plays on Wallace and Brown and force the Steelers to punt.
The Ravens immediately go three and out. Flacco get chased around a lot on third down and takes a hit. Punt again.
It's always so easy to forget who David Johnson is until he makes some random catch and runs over a DB for a first down. Mendenhall gets 8 on first down and grinds to the marker on 2nd & 2. Ben's got an inch to gain on 3rd down. Automatic for Big Ben.
Ben's next pass gets tipped but Jerricho Cotchery adjusts and makes the catch. Great hands.
Cotchery gets mauled after the two-minute warning. No flags. Just the way this game is going. Ben gets swallowed up in the pocket. Suisham boots another ball through the uprights. 6-6.
Flacco gets sacked. Ryan Clark cannonballs into some guy and he drops the ball. It's okay when Ray Lewis does it to Hines Ward, but when Ryan Clark shakes some dude whose name I still don't know, that's when it's a penalty? Weak. 15 yards for being Ryan Clark.
A ball goes Boldin's way and he juggles it all the way to the ground. Then Walt Coleman goes under the hood to see if it's a catch. If it is, the Ravens are in field goal range. Perfect time for a make-up call. Coleman knows what's up. Overturned. Jon Harbaugh looks like he caught his wife cheating on him.
With 11 seconds to run a play, Ben Grubbs false starts. Ray Rice squirms down inside field goal range and Cundiff kicks a 51-yarder anyway. Lame.
Word has it the Buffalo Bills invited the Pitt marching band to play for them in Toronto last week. No idea why, but the Steelers responded by having them play at halftime. Strange situation all around.
Also, 9-6 at half time. Pretty high-scoring affair so far.
The opening drive starts off with a few Mendenhall runs. Cris Collinsworth notes that the Steelers haven't taken a shot downfield to Mike Wallace yet even though they absolutely have.
Ben spreads the ball around to Heath, Wallace, and Brown to get going downfield. Then Terrell Suggs drops out to cover the flat and picks off a screen pass. Damn.
The Steelers blitz on 3rd & 5. Flacco stays upright and slings it to Dennis Pitta. Willie Gay makes a nice open field tackle for no gain on a screen pass. Pitta converts a 3rd down again.
Keisel falls down covering Rice in the flat. Flacco overthrows Anquan Boldin by about 30 yards and Ike Taylor gets flagged. Antonio Brown got mugged in the end zone in the first half and it was okay, but it looks like the rules changed.
Ray Rice scores an easy TD. 16-6.
Ben comes out ready to answer but the offense takes a bunch of penalties. On 3rd & 17, Ben fires a rocket into Antonio Brown's hands. He's ahead of the sticks. Unrealistic catch. After that, Ben finds Heath Miller. He beats the guy covering him and walks over Ed Reed for a bunch of extra yards.
Ben eludes pressure and throws it away. He's looking for a flag. He isn't getting one. On the next play, he keeps the ball and runs to the goal line. He stretches out for the score. The play is reviewed and his knee was down short of the goal line anyway. 1st & goal at the half-yard line. Mendenhall answers Rice's touchdown with one of his own. 16-13.
James Harrison chases down Flacco from behind. Foote stacks up Ray Rice. Harrison gets Flacco in the side but he manages to get the ball to Torrey Smith for a first down. Ricky Williams gets the next one.
It's weird to think this, but at this point in the game you kind of get excited for the defense to be on the field because these games usually turn around on a turnover in the 4th quarter.
And sure enough, Joe Flacco delivers. He gets hit in the pocket and the ball comes out. William Gay is on it.
Ben and Brown have some legitimate chemistry going on. Blood Type is reading Ben's mind better than Santonio Holmes did in all of 2008. Maybe it's something about first names that end in "tonio" that works for Ben.
Jerricho Cotchery makes another catch of a tipped ball. Incredible hands.
Some Raven probably fakes an injury. Jameel McClain attacks Antonio Brown as he catches a pass. Again, not penalized when people besides Ryan Clark do it.
Ben doesn't care. He rolls out on a broken play and fires a ball into the end zone. Mike Wallace jumps in front of Blood Type for the catch. 20-16.
Flacco's turn. He tries to dump off to Rice but Keisel's beard eats him. Then LeBeau sends in the dogs and Flacco can't adjust. They have to punt.
The Ravens get the Steelers into 3rd & 9 and some joke lineman jumps the snap count and slams into Pouncey. 3rd & 4 is a lot easier to convert. Ben hits Cotchery for a first down. Tick tick tick.
Baltimore starts calling timeouts. They're down to one with 2:34 to play when Suisham comes on for a long field goal to make it a 7 point game. They wait too long and get called for delay of game. Kapinos has to punt.
Joe Flacco's got 2:24 and one timeout to go 92 yards.
He hits Anquan Boldin on every other play. They convert a 4th & 1 in there somewhere. If you're running a prevent defense (as you should be with a 4 point lead and less than a minute to play), it's okay to give up those little underneath catches as long as you don't give up the big play. The Steelers get the worst of both worlds as Boldin effortlessly moves his team down the field while Torrey Smith torches Ike Taylor but just can't get underneath a ball in the end zone.
Flacco comes right back to Smith. He landed a plane on Gay Island. 23-20.
- Ravens are in the driver's seat in the AFC right now. Here's hoping they crash.
- Patriots lost. That's big, considering we might be jockeying with them for wild card seeding at season's end.
- How good was Jerricho Cotchery in relief of Hines Ward?
- It's always easy to blame inconsistent officiating, but the Steelers could have made the plays to win on that last drive. They didn't.
- LaMarr Woodley might have made a difference at the end there.
- Great job by the O-line all night.
- Sucks to be Cincinnati next week. They finally play a good team, and it happens to be one that's looking to rebound after a frustrating loss.
- How is Ed Reed even a starter in this league? All he did was get run over for extra yards.