View Full Version : Ravens-Steelers recap

12-28-2009, 03:30 AM
Ravens-Steelers recap
December 28th, 2009

Player of the game: OLB LaMarr Woodley.
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Woodley sacked QB Joe Flacco on consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter after the Ravens had driven to the Steelers’ 35-yard line.

On his second sack, Woodley forced a fumble that rookie DE Ziggy Hood recovered with two minutes and 27 seconds left in the game.

Woodley, who led the Steelers with 10 tackles, took over the team lead in sacks with 11 ½. He tied the career high in sacks he set last season.

The third-year veteran also established a new Steelers record with at least half a sack in seven consecutive games, breaking the mark Greg Lloyd set in 1994.

Play of the game: Ravens WR Derrick Mason dropped a 21-yard touchdown pass on first play of the fourth quarter.

The Ravens had scored 10 unanswered points in the third quarter to tie the score at 20. They looked like they were going to take the lead when the normally reliable Mason beat cornerback Deshea Townsend on a double move.

Flacco’s pass, however, bounced off Mason’s facemask near the end line, and the Ravens proceeded to go backwards from there.

Two penalties, including a 15-yard personal foul on right tackle Oniel Cousins, moved the Ravens out of field goal range. That was as close as the Ravens came to scoring in the fourth quarter.

Best hit: OLB Lawrence Timmons leveled Mason in fourth quarter.

Mason caught a pass near midfield with just under 11 minutes to play but Timmons jarred the ball loose when he launched his shoulder into the veteran wideout.

Mason stayed down and eventually wobbled off the field with help from the Ravens’ medical personnel.

He appeared to have possession long enough for it to be a fumble, and the Steelers would have gotten excellent field position as Ryan Clark pounced on the loose ball.

Here is why coach Mike Tomlin didn’t challenge the ruling on the field: “I was told that I could challenge it, but if I did it would be ruled an incomplete pass so why challenge it,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure that out.”

Best catch: WR Mike Wallace’s 12-yard grab in the first quarter.

After QB Ben Roethlisberger escaped a collapsed pocket, he ran right and looked like he was trying to throw the ball out of bounds. The pass, however, hung in the air and Wallace came down with the jump ball.

That helped set up a 39-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.

Key stat: The Ravens were penalized 11 times for 113 yards compared to four for 20 for the Steelers.

Baltimore penalties wiped out touchdowns on an interception return by Dominique Foxworth and a run by Willis McGahee. The miscues prevented the Ravens from seizing control of the game as they got just three points from those two possessions.

Needs fixed: The Steelers’ run defense appears to be leaking oil.

Ray Rice gashed them for 140 yards, becoming the first back in 37 games to go over 100 yards against the Steelers.

Rice’s big day dropped the Steelers from first to third in the NFL in rushing defense (89.3 yards per game).

What’s more, the Steelers have yielded an average of 129.4 rushing yards in their last five games.

They’ll get a heavy dose of the run Sunday against the Dolphins as Miami is fourth in the NFL in rushing offense (142.1 yards per game).

Next up: at the Dolphins Sunday at 1 p.m.

The game time is not expected be changed under the NFL’s flex scheduling policy with the Bengals-Jets and Cowboys-Eagles games getting moved from 1 p.m. to the 8:20 and 4:15 p.m. slots, respectively.

Thus, even if the Steelers win, they may not know if they make the playoffs until late Sunday night.

The AFC playoff wild-card picture is blurry as ever with five teams, including the Steelers, at 8-7.

The Steelers would have controlled their own destiny had the Colts beaten the Jets and the Dolphins beaten the Texans.

The Jets and Ravens now have that distinction as the two will claim the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively, if they win no matter what else happens next Sunday.

The most likely scenario for the Steelers getting in, provided they beat the Dolphins, is the Jets and Texans each losing.

Each play teams that have clinched division titles but that may have a considerable downside for the Steelers.

The Bengals and Patriots will only be playing for a better playoff seed and won’t have nearly the same sense of urgency as the Jets and Texans, both of whom are at home next Sunday.

The Steelers also get into the playoffs with a win and losses by the Ravens and Texans or a victory and losses by the Broncos, Ravens and Jets.

Quotable: “Still got a pulse in this thing and we’ll continue to control the things we can control, playing winning football, preparing, doing the best we can. We put ourselves into this position but I like the way (the players) are dealing with it.” -- Tomlin on where the Steelers stand going into the final week of the regular season.

“We’ve been do-or-die for awhile now. I think we’re the cardiac kids or something. We’re out here barely winning these games but a win is a win, it doesn’t matter how you get it.” –- Roethlisberger after yet another close game in which the Steelers have played.

“I know that sometimes when you lose you look for deeper reasons why but every week I come up here and tell you it’s a play here or there. I know sometimes that’s not the answer you’re looking for but it’s really just that simple.” -- Tomlin on the difference between the team that lost five games in a row and the one that has won back-to-back close games.

“I can’t give you the route but I know it was the wrong route. I wasn’t supposed to be where it was and (Roethlisberger) just happened go through his progression. Everybody, I’m pretty sure, was locked up but the (Ravens) left me at least a 10- or 15-yard cushion. I turned to look where (Roethlisberger’s) eyes were and they were definitely on me at the same time mine were one him.” –- Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes on his 24-yard touchdown catch near the end of the first half.

“It’s just stats. It’s good for fantasy football players and something to have on your resume but this league is all about wins and losses. Just because you have all that doesn’t bring championships.” – WR Hines Ward on the Steelers having a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in franchise history.

“I liked the way they fought. I liked the way they were around the football, they didn’t play tentative. That’s what’s going to be required as we chase, hopefully, some January football.” –- Tomlin on the Steelers’ secondary, which had Deshea Townsend starting at right cornerback in place of William Gay.

"Come to the press conference Tuesday. I'll give you the MRI update or not." -- Tomlin on whether SS Troy Polamalu, who has missed six consecutive games with a left knee injury, will play against the Dolphins.

“It was good, especially to see LaMarr, who’s been playing exceptionally well probably since midway through the season to come through with the way he’s been playing. It was big for us. Also, just to get some turnovers. James (Farrior)’s big turnover in the first half and also the fumble recoveries were things we were missing. If just shows that if you get those, games are different.” –- Clark on the Steelers forcing three turnovers and sacking Flacco four times.

“I think you guys can go into penalties if you want. You can point the finger at whatever you want. We’re going to Oakland.” -– Ravens coach John Harbaugh on the disparity in penalties between the two teams and the effect it had on the outcome of the game.

“I just didn’t catch it, that’s what it boils down to. You move on but that’s one that I gotta have. I cannot allow myself to relax in a situation like that regardless of how open I am.” -- Mason on his dropped pass at the beginnning of the fourth quarter.