When the Ravens and Steelers square off Sunday with first place in the AFC North on the line, it won't be the first time the teams have met with the game having playoff implications. One of the more recent games occurred Dec. 26, 2004, in Pittsburgh. The Ravens (8-6 at the time) were trying to keep their playoff hopes alive while the Steelers (13-1 going into the game) were steamrollering to home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Steelers came out on top, 20-7, and the Ravens would need a miracle to make the playoffs. It didn't happen for the Ravens, who were 7-3 after 10 games.
WHAT HAPPENED: The Ravens' vaunted defense could not stop the Steelers from running the ball so the Ravens could take advantage of Pittsburgh's rookie quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. With the Ravens trailing 10-7 at halftime, the Steelers took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and marched the length of the field, running 12 straight times, to take a 17-7 lead. The drive, ending with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to tight end Jerame Tuman, consumed 8 Â¿ minutes and took the life out of the Ravens.
KEY STATS: Steelers running back Jerome Bettis ran for 117 yards, his first 100-yard game against the Ravens since 1997. Overall, the Steelers rushed for 183yards. ... Ravens running back Jamal Lewis rushed for just 26 yards on 14 carries. ... The Steelers controlled the clock for nearly 34 minutes and did not punt. ... Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller was 18-for-32 for 177 yards with an interception.
QUOTABLE: "We shouldn't be in this position. To shoot for the Super Bowl, it's going to come with conviction. To come back and do what we did, it's got to be humbling to you. Something needs to be corrected." - Ed Reed, Ravens safety
"This game is about scoring points. You don't get anything for stats." - Brian Billick, Ravens coach
Source: Baltimore Sun archives