Let's see, the prime rib was pretty raw, cookies were great and the pizza hot (just joking).
Ahhh, the catch.
In all my years of covering the
, since 1987, I have never seen a stadium go so quiet, get so numb. It will long be remember as the day Heinz Field was unplugged. In the press box, it looked like a catch, but we kept waiting for the officials to signal a touchdown. In the meantime, you knew it was a touchdown because the
officials sitting behind us were trying extremely hard not to cheer, which is forbidden in the press box. If I were a Ravens official, I would have been doing the "Bernie."
Victory aside, it was just a great night to be a sportswriter. When two teams with such great traditions play, it's just fun to watch. Whenever the Ravens play Pittsburgh, you have to take time out to look around and give thanks for what you do for a living. Ravens vs
, it doesn't get much better in the world of sports.
This team was inspired to get back to the playoffs after losing to Pittsburgh in the post season in 2010. They knew they had the better team and should have won that game.
As for Flacco, if he wants to get haters off his back, he needs to become more consistent. Everyone knows Flacco has the pure talent, but he just doesn't play at a high level of consistency. It's unfair the way he has been judged. Fans seem to either love or hate him. I just think he is a pretty good quarterback who isn't elite, but good enough to win a Super Bowl given the right talent around him. But the key for Flacco, as for any player in the NFL, is to play at a consistently high level every week.
A year ago, some fans were saying the same thing about Flacco with the last-minute touchdown pass to
in Pittsburgh. Remember? He had arrived. He had turned the corner. It's about consistency, consistency, consistency. If he struggles against Seattle on Sunday, the critics will be out again Monday morning.
Eric in Abingdon: The Steelers went to the no-huddle in the second half to neutralize the Ravens' pass rush. Although very effective, it's a double-edged sword because the Steelers' defense looked tired and out-of-sync on that last drive due to playing the majority of the second half. Flacco bailed out the Ravens and won the game, but I feel more teams will now try no-huddle earlier to give their offense the early edge. How can the Ravens' defense adjust to the no-huddle? Are our corners talented enough to hold their own if the pass rush is neutralized by the no-huddle?
I'm not sure the Steelers went to the no-huddle just to neutralize the Ravens' pass rush. They also had to jump-start their offense, and they did well against the Ravens in the second half. The Ravens have a lot of sub packages in their defensive scheme and, like most teams, couldn't always get their personnel on the field. Defensive coordinator
and the Ravens should be prepared for the no-huddle because they see it in practice. You do the best you can, but defenses can't always control down and distance change.
The Ravens' cornerbacks have played well since they lost to Tennessee, and they are a lot more aggressive and confident. To answer the latter part of your question, if you can't get a pass rush, it makes no difference if you have
on the corners. If a quarterback gets time to throw, the offense is going to succeed. The no-huddle has been around for a long time, and it will become more of a weapon. Defenses attack more than in previous decades, and offenses have to counter by not allowing them to get their sub packages on the field.
Question from a Steelers fan: How come when the Ravens scored all those points in the second half last week against Arizona it's labeled a great comeback, yet when the Steelers scored all those points in the second half of that playoff game last year or overcame that insurmountable 10-point lead in the second half Sunday night it's because the Ravens blew the lead? Signed, Confused in Pittsburgh
Mr. Confused: Don't your have your own team and hometown newspaper, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette?
I suggest you start your own Q&A with your beat writers. I got a couple of questions you might want to ask. Why did we get a delay-of-game penalty to take us out of field-goal range late in the fourth quarter? Why did we continue to play press coverage late in the game when the Ravens receivers were blowing by our cornerbacks? Why isn't "Smiley,"
, smiling these days? Is it because he had to get the broom out of the closet, or because the Steelers might not get a playoff game at home in 2011?
Maybe this will help clear up some of the confusion.
Ravens and Steelers games have been close over the years and usually defensive battles. In those type of games, a field goal is nearly as precious as a touchdown. Maybe if you're playing Cleveland or Seattle on the road, you go for it. But against Pittsburgh, I take the three points. Good call by Harbaugh.
Rice has been a strong blocker, but in the past couple of games, he has gotten wasted by blitzing linebackers. Take one for the team? Are you kidding me? He has taken a lot for the Ravens throughout the years. When you have a 6-4, 6-5, 235-pound linebacker or 290-pound defensive end matched against Ray Rice and they have a running start, Rice probably isn't going to win that matchup as far as pass blocking.
If you are referring to
hurdling over Rice, there isn't much he can do about that but watch him fly or grow about six inches in a hurry. I thought it was a great effort by Harrison. Great players make great plays, and Harrison is one of the best.
I think the Ravens have switched up, and at certain times used Leach as a pass blocker in that situation. I really don't mind the way they use Leach as long as he stays in front of Rice consistently as a blocker. But as the year goes on, it's something to keep an eye on because the Ravens might be tipping their plays. Offensive coordinator
swears he doesn't read our material, but I know he does religiously.
Cam, LordBern might have given you a tip. Go to the film room and check it out.
I have no problems with the Ravens' secondary. Considering the talent of the Steelers receivers and quarterback
, the group has played well. Webb is much improved from a year ago. As for Smith, he'll eventually get back onto the field. They have to play him because he is a first-round draft pick.
But for right now, if it ain't broke, leave it alone.
No one in Baltimore overlooks the Bengals. They have been a royal pain in the butt for years, and Bengals head coach
has mastered shutting down the Ravens' offense by taking Rice out of the game. Cincy is also playing great defense this year.