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fordfixer
10-03-2010, 02:53 AM
Key Matchups: Week 4

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... eek-4.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/october/03/key-matchups-week-4.html)
Sunday October 3, 2010 12:18 AM

Lewis vs. Mendenhall

Last week in a win over the Browns, the Ravens uncharacteristically allowed 173 rushing yards, including 144 to backup running back Peyton Hillis. Is that reason for the Steelers to feel optimistic about their chances of running the ball?

Coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t think so. He believes the Ravens were so embarrassed by getting gashed by the Browns that they’ve worked overtime this past week to fix their run defense. And with linebacker Ray Lewis, pictured, among the Raven defenders who got gashed, he figures to be especially fired up.

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has made three starts against the Ravens. In 2008, he carried nine times for 30 yards before having his season end with a broken shoulder. It was Lewis who provided the vicious hit that shattered Mendenhall’s shoulder. Last year, Mendenhall ran for 95 yards in a 20-17 overtime loss in Baltimore but was held to 36 yards later in the season in a 23-20 win in Pittsburgh.



Ngata vs. Kemoeatu

For those who enjoy interior play at the line of scrimmage, this promises to be a brutal battle between two warriors with Tongan ancestry.

Haloti Ngata, the right defensive end in the Ravens’ 3-4 defense, is a former first-round draft pick (2006). He’s a load at 6-foot-4, 350 pounds and made the Pro Bowl for the first time last year. He already has a sack this season (two weeks ago vs. the Jets), but he’s especially effective in stuffing the run.

Tomlin said that there will be times that Ngata must be double-teamed because “he’s as dominant a defensive lineman as there is in football right now.”

Regardless if the Steelers double-team Ngata or play him straight up, left guard Chris Kemoeatu will be the man most responsible for trying to stop him. Kemoeatu (6-3, 344), who’s nearly as big as Ngata, is a physical player who plays with a mean streak.

Boldin vs. Taylor

When watching videotape of Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin burning the Browns’ secondary, Tomlin called it a “horror show.” Boldin has already caught 20 passes this year, including three for touchdowns, all against Cleveland

“He has more catches than our entire wide receiver corps,” Tomlin said.

Boldin, who came to Baltimore in a trade with Arizona, was acquired to give third-year quarterback Joe Flacco a prolific pass-catching threat. He played in three Pro Bowls with the Cardinals.

Ike Taylor, the Steelers’ best shut-down cornerback, historically shadows an opposing team’s best receiver regardless of where he lines up. His job today will be to shut down Boldin.

fordfixer
10-03-2010, 02:54 AM
Five questions: Week 4 edition

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... ition.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/october/03/five-questions-week-4-edition.html)

Sunday October 3, 2010 12:16 AM

Does James Harrison still carry ill will toward the Ravens for cutting him in 2004?

“No,” said Harrison, the Steelers’ star outside linebacker. “I mean, the Steelers let me go three times, too.” Harrison spent two seasons (2002-2003) with the Steelers, briefly on the 53-man active roster but mostly on the practice squad. After the Steelers cut him for a third time, Harrison signed with Baltimore in 2004. After two days of off-season workouts in the spring of ’04, Harrison was cut by the Ravens and re-signed by the Steelers when Clark Haggans broke his hand.



Who’s the last Steelers running back to rush for over 100 yards vs. the Ravens?

It’s been six seasons since the Steelers last had a back accomplish the feat against Baltimore. The last to do so was Jerome Bettis, who ran for 117 on Dec. 26, 2004.



How have the Ravens fared in recent years against backup quarterbacks?

Since the start of the 2007 season, the Ravens are 10-2 when playing against teams forced to start backup QBs. That streak includes a win over Charlie Batch, who starts today for the Steelers.


What do Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau have in common?

Both entered the coaching profession as the special teams coach for the Eagles. LeBeau, 73, coached Philadelphia’s special teams from 1973-75. Harbaugh, 48, coached in Philly from 1998-2007, nine years as special teams coach and one year as secondary coach.



How rare is it for a Steelers’ wide receiver to catch TD passes of 40 yards or more twice in the same game?

It’s extremely rare. When Mike Wallace did it last week with TD receptions of 46 and 41 yards, he became just the fifth Steeler to do so.

The others are: Louis Lipps, Dec. 4, 1988 vs. Houston; Lynn Swann, Dec. 2, 1979 vs. Cincinnati; Gary Ballman, Sept. 25 1966 vs. Washington; and Ray Mathews, Oct. 17, 1954 vs. Cleveland.

fordfixer
10-03-2010, 02:56 AM
Inside the Game: Week 4

By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sport ... eek-4.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/sports_details/article/1501/2010/october/03/inside-the-game-week-4.html)

SERIES HISTORY

Over the past few days, players and coaches from both teams have touted Ravens vs. Steelers is the NFL’s best rivalry. It began in 1996 when the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and formed the Ravens. The Steelers lead the series 19-11, including two playoff wins. The Steelers are 12-4 against the Ravens in games played in Pittsburgh and 7-7 in games played in Baltimore. Under coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers are 5-2 against the Ravens including 4-0 at Heinz Field. Two years ago, the Steelers beat the Ravens 23-14 in the AFC Championship Game.

TODAY’S STORYLINE

Even with star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger opening the season on a four-game suspension, the Steelers have started 3-0. But they’ll be severely tested today against the Ravens (2-1) in an early-season AFC North showdown.

INJURY REPORT

Guard Trai Essex (ankle) and nose tackle Chris Hoke (knee). Quarterback Dennis Dixon (knee) was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list on Saturday.

Ravens running back Ray Rice (bruised knee) is questionable but has said he’ll play. Also questionable for the Ravens are starting defensive end Cory Redding (concussion) and two backups, linebacker Edgar Jones (thigh) and tackle Tony Moll (hip).

QUOTEWORTHY

“Definitely, we respect Baltimore. But anything legal, anything between the white lines, it’s all game.”

James Harrison

Steelers LB on the rivalry with the Ravens

BETTING LINE

The Steelers are favored by 2.5 points

PREDICTION

Steelers 16, Ravens 13