View Full Version : Steelers rally to beat Ravens 13-10
12-06-2010, 03:41 AM
Steelers rally to beat Ravens 13-10
By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer 1 hour, 14 minutes ago
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap;_ylt= ... 0101205033 (http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap;_ylt=AlmOiXJsB0JUM9q5hRa4sHhDubYF?gid=201012 05033)
BALTIMORE (AP)—The Baltimore Ravens have been beaten so many times by Troy Polamalu(notes) and Ben Roethlisberger(notes), they should have seen it coming.
And yet, it happened again.
Polamalu forced a fumble with a sack of Joe Flacco(notes) and Roethlisberger converted the turnover into a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman(notes) with 2:51 left to give the Pittsburgh Steelers a 13-10 victory Sunday night.
With the win, Pittsburgh (9-3) gained sole possession of first place in the AFC North over Baltimore (8-4) and earned a split of the season series.
“Tough place to play, but let’s be frank, we needed to come here and even the score in this matchup,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “Thankfully we did, and we’ll push on.”
A fierce defensive battle turned when Polamalu hit Flacco’s arm on a safety blitz. LaMarr Woodley(notes) returned the loose ball 19 yards to the Baltimore 9, setting up Pittsburgh’s lone touchdown.
After throwing two incomplete passes, Roethlisberger dumped a short toss over the middle to Redman, who broke tackles by Dawan Landry(notes) and Jarret Johnson(notes) on his way to the end zone.
Baltimore’s ensuing drive ended at the Pittsburgh 31 when Flacco bounced a fourth-down pass to Ed Dickson(notes) with 33 seconds remaining.
The game was a defensive battle, as expected. And Polamalu and Roethlisberger again made the difference.
“Everybody watching TV at home, everybody in the stadium, you all know it you see 43 at the line, four-minute offense, he’s coming,” said Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs(notes), who had 1 1/2 sacks. “It was just like, I hope we have a plan. It just didn’t feel good when I saw that hair at the line.”
Polamalu, of course, wears No. 43. And he’s done it to the Ravens before— his 40-yard interception return sealed Pittsburgh’s 23-14 victory in the 2008 AFC title game.
Roethlisberger broke his nose on Pittsburgh’s first series, was playing with a sprained right foot and was under constant pressure all night. And he still went 22 for 38 for 253 yards.
The rugged quarterback has won six straight starts against Baltimore and is 8-2 in his career against the Ravens. He missed the first game this season while serving an NFL-issued suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy.
“That’s a Steelers-Ravens game, right? Hard-fought all the way to the end,” Roethlisberger said. “Everybody contributes.”
He laughingly suggested that his battered nose helped take his mind off his ailing foot.
“It hurt a lot,” he said of the foot, “but the broken nose took some of the pain away.”
Baltimore blew a fourth-quarter lead for the sixth time this season and had its eight-game home winning streak end.
“Obviously, it was a tough loss. Basically, we gave the game away at the end,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We should have won the football game, and that’s disappointing.”
Flacco was 17 for 33 for 266 yards, but his fumble was the most decisive play of the game.
“It was an all-out blitz. They brought everybody,” Flacco said. “I took three steps and raised my arm and was getting hit. It was pretty shocking.”
As is usually the case when the Steelers and Ravens meet, the trainers were busy tending to injured players.
Both starting tight ends were knocked out of the game. Baltimore’s Todd Heap(notes) strained a hamstring on the first play from scrimmage and did not return, and Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller(notes) suffered a concussion in the third quarter in a collision with Ravens cornerback Chris Carr(notes).
The Steelers also lost right tackle Flozell Adams(notes), who sprained his ankle in the third quarter.
The hitting was so hard that even Pittsburgh’s punter got injured. Daniel Sepulveda(notes) hurt his right knee in the second quarter, and placekicker Shaun Suisham(notes) was called upon to punt for the remainder of the game.
Sepulveda has an ACL injury, Tomlin said, and likely is lost for the season.
Blanked in the first half for the first time since Nov. 26, 2007, against Miami, Pittsburgh got a field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter to close to 7-3. Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward(notes) for 13 yards and Mike Wallace(notes) for 23 yards before Suisham kicked a 45-yarder.
The Ravens responded with a 60-yard march that ended with a 24-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff(notes).
Pittsburgh then closed to 10-6 with a 16-play, 79-yard drive that consumed more than 9 minutes and was extended by two pivotal penalties against Baltimore. But the Steelers had to settle for a field goal with 12:46 left after a 28-yard pass from Roethlisberger to Wallace set up a first-and-goal from the 2.
Baltimore had two sacks and interception in the first half, and Flacco threw a touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead at the break.
On Pittsburgh’s first march, Roethlisberger got his nose bloodied on a third-down sack by Suggs and Haloti Ngata(notes).
Baltimore grabbed the lead late in the first quarter. Flacco went 6 for 6 during a 92-yard drive, completing a 61-yarder to Anquan Boldin(notes) on a third-and-15 before connecting with Boldin for a 14-yard touchdown.
On the scoring play, Flacco rolled to his right and had plenty of time to survey the field before finding Boldin in the center of the end zone.
NOTES: Baltimore’s 92-yard scoring drive was the longest against Pittsburgh this season. … Ravens WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) went over 7,000 yards receiving. … Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall(notes) ran for 45 yards to break 1,000 for a second straight season.
12-06-2010, 03:43 AM
Steelers-Ravens Post-Game Quotes
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STEELERS AT RAVENS
DECEMBER 5, 2010
M&T BANK STADIUM
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
(opening statement) “That’s Steelers-Ravens right there. That’s why we believe that’s the number one rivalry in football. It’s a humbling thing to be a part of, we’re fortunate to come out on top tonight, of course. We have big-time respect for that football team, they’ve earned it. Hopefully, we’ve earned their respect. Guys fought to the end through adverse circumstances. Of course we went into the game short in some areas and got shorter over the course of the game. But like we always do, we’ll assess where we are. We’ll put the healthy men on the field next week so we can push forward. A laundry list of injuries, Ben’s [Roethlisberger] got a broken nose, it happened early in the contest, on the first sack. He’s going to be fine, other than the discomfort that comes with that. Danny [Sepulveda] has an ACL injury, that’s unfortunate of course. He wanted to help his teammates, he was able to hold for the remainder of the game. Respect him for that. But of course, we’ve got to get that looked at and fixed. Flozell [Adams] had a high ankle sprain and Heath Miller had a concussion. So I’m sure there will be more bumps and bruises, it always is when these two teams come together. We just love the way we have an opportunity to represent AFC North when those two teams come together. Tough place to play, but let’s be frank, we needed to come here and even the score in this match-up. They came to our place earlier in the year and got us. So we had to even the score, thankfully, we did, and we’ll push on.”
(on Troy Polamalu’s forced fumble) “It was actually a run pressure, we anticipated them to maybe run the football, and we were trying to drop them for a loss, get them off schedule, you know, keep them off schedule. I think maybe it was second down, they called a pass. Troy’s [Polamalu] a great player, a lot of guys would go in there and sack the quarterback. He sees the game a little differently, that’s what makes him special. He got the ball out, unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the ball in the endzone, but our offense finished the job for us.”
(on Flozell Adams’ emotion) “For Flozell that was a lot. Flozell’s a man of few words, and that’s okay by us. We judge him based on his actions, and he’s always ready to compete for us. He doesn’t complain, this guy wants to be part of a winner. He’s been good, unfortunately, he sustained an ankle [a high ankle sprain]. We’ll see where that takes us.”
(on running back Isaac Redman being a check down) “He was out in the route and that gave him the opportunity to do what he did. Isaac is a competitive guy, he takes his division of labor job very seriously. Frustrating night for him. You’ve got to tip your hat to the Ravens, they got after this guy in short yardage. And he’s our short-yardage runner. I think we were maybe 0-for-2 or three with him in those instances. But he kept plugging and made a significant play for us, and I’m happy for him.”
(on the officiating) “I coach, I don’t officiate. I don’t work in New York, I work in Pittsburgh.”
(on Ben Roethlisberger playing through his injuries) “That’s Ben. We expect that from him, not that it’s unappreciated. It is. But we expect it from him, and he expects it from himself.”
(on why this is the number one rivalry) “Because of the leadership of the men involved, the unique players, whether it’s Hines Ward, Derrick Mason, whether it’s James Farrior and [Ray] Lewis, Troy [Polamalu] and [Ed] Reed, [Lamarr] Woodley and [Terrell] Suggs, you just name it. These are guys that play with great passion. And they’ve earned respect on both sides. Not a lot needs to be said on Raven week. And I’m sure they felt the same way about Steeler week. It’s always a great game.”
(on the last play) “Based on what we saw in pre-game, we thought it was the outer limits of his [Billy Cundiff] range, and it was into the wind. We kicked one from about the 27 [yard line] for our first field goal of the game. And we had concerns that that was the outer limits of our range. The winds were significant going that direction, that was one of the reasons why we deferred to start the game.”
RB Issac Redman
(on how it felt to score the winning touchdown) “It feels great. I made the biggest play in the biggest game I’ve ever played. It just goes to show you that the hard work paid off. This was like a 12-round fight, and we hung in there long enough and won.”
(on his touchdown run) “I thought I was going to be in there for protection in case of a blitz, but the ball came my way, and I wasn’t going to be denied. When you’re playing with a guy like [QB] Ben Roethlisberger, you see him bleeding, and he’s got a bad foot. He’s the kind of guy you want on your sideline. I’m happy we could get this done.”
(on playing in front of family and friends) “I have some family and friends and several of my former teammates there. To score the winning touchdown in front of them was a great experience.”
(on how many of his family and friends were rooting for the Ravens) “I think they were rooting for both of us, but one of my friends is a big Ravens’ fan. He told me, ‘Congratulations, but don’t do it again.’”
WR Hines Ward
(on whether this was a typical Steelers-Ravens game) “Yes. It was a typical Pittsburgh-Baltimore game. It was low-scoring, hard-hitting and came down to the wire. It’s hard to win in Baltimore. We were fortunate to find a way to beat Baltimore on the road. Nobody gave us a chance. We came here and shocked the world. Now we control our own destiny.”
(on whether this is the best rivalry in the NFL) “It definitely is. The Jets and the Patriots are great teams, but they’re just getting started. This has been going on for years. We play them two, sometimes three times a year, and every one of them comes down to the end. I’m sure we’ll see them again in the playoffs.”
(on QB Ben Roethlisberger) “Ben’s a warrior. He’s a winner. He gives us a great chance to win every time. I love the way he plays. We really had a lot of injuries out there tonight, and we just hung in there. There were slim pickings out there. Things were so bad, I thought we were going to put me in at tight end.”
QB Ben Roethlisberger
(on his bloody nose) “Sometime in the first half, I got hit in the face. I have no idea who did it or on what play it happened. I didn’t even realize it was that bad until I went over to the sidelines and guys were looking at me funny.”
(on second half adjustments) “At halftime, we decided we wanted to go no-huddle. We got two long drives and changed the momentum. I’m really proud of the way the offense played. We lost a couple guys tonight, and others came in and stepped up. I’ve got to give Baltimore a lot of credit. They’re a hard-fighting team.”
(on the fourth quarter play when he threw the ball away) “I was just fighting to get out of the pocket. He [Terrell Suggs] grabbed me, and I kept trying to get away from him. Fortunately, I was able to get rid of the ball in time.”
(on the way Terrell Suggs played) “He is a heck of a player. We kept trying to change our blocking schemes on him, and he still got through. One time after a play, I looked at him, and he was bleeding from the mouth. I was bleeding from the nose. That says it all about a Ravens-Steelers football game.”
(on whether the Steelers control their own destiny) “We can’t look at it like that. It’s just one game at a time for us. When you start looking at it that way, you start to get in trouble. All I know is that we have the Bengals next week.”
S Troy Polamalu
(on the sack and fumble) “The coaches made a great call. I was surprised they were passing in that situation. It was all coached football.”
(on anticipating the run on that play) “Yes, we were, but Coach [Dick] LeBeau was a step ahead.”
(on the Ravens and Steelers always having a close game) “This is a great rivalry. It was a great defensive performance by both teams. It was a great game.”
(on feeling that the defense needed to make a big play) “Sometimes things just happen so fast, but everybody was coming back.”
(on the defense holding on the last drive) “We were in that position earlier this year. There are still a lot of things we need to fix. I personally gave up the first touchdown, the big play, by being misaligned. Had I not made those mistakes, then we probably would have not been in that situation late in the game.”
(on the big game nature of Ravens-Steelers) “It’s exciting. You know it’s a great rivalry because it’s a physical game. They have a great defense and a very physical offense, and so do we.”
RB Rashard Mendenhall
(on the game) “We feel good about a win however we can get it. We need guys to fight, like Ben [Roethlisberger] did and like some other guys that were out there struggling, and they fought through it. It’s a 60-minute game. Regardless of how it looks, or what’s going on.”
(on S Troy Polamalu) “That’s what Troy does. He always comes through with great plays at the right time. The defense was playing hard and tough all day. We came with pressure, and it was a matter of time before we got a turnover, and we did. We were able to get the ball on the 10-yard line, and we had to put points on the board at that point.”
(on RB Isaac Redman) “He’s been making plays and breaking tackles since the day he stepped in here, and so doing it on a stage like this feels good for him, and it’s a great win for this team. He’s a player, he’s a ball player.”
(on the AFC North) “We have to keep winning. This was close. This was great. We’re going to look back at it and try to improve. Other games have to be played.”
(on the Ravens’ defense) “They have a great defense. They’re very disciplined, and we’re pretty familiar with each other. We kind of know what we are trying to do. It’s a combination of things. They have a real tough defense, and any game against them is going to be tough for us.”
S Ryan Clark
(on switching the defense from the first to second half) “The first half, we had a communication breakdown on the backend. We were trying to switch positions and give them a different look, and we left it open for some big plays. At halftime, Troy [Polamalu] and I were talking that this was the worst half we had played all year. And we had only given up seven points. We felt like last week we had dominated Buffalo, and the game was still close. So we knew we had a chance, and big-time players make big-time plays. Troy made a great play, and Isaac Redman made a powerful play, and we won the game.”
(on Troy Polamalu’s play when he forced the fumble) “It was a great call by Coach LeBeau. We went cover-zero and we sent the house. I think if I was an offensive coach, and I had to pick one guy to let go, Troy wouldn’t be that guy. But they let him go, and he made an awesome play. It was a great pick up by [LaMarr Woodley], and it put our offense in scoring position.”
(on Troy Polamalu making plays late in the game) “You’ve been seeing that from him for years. He’s a Pro Bowl player and he shows up. We try to put him in position to where he can do that. A lot of times when we break the huddle, he’s like’ ‘What are you thinking?’ and I’m like, ‘I’ll just do the opposite of whatever you’re doing.’ You want him to be comfortable, and he just makes great plays.”
LB LaMarr Woodley
(on the Ravens’ decision not to kick the field goal on their final drive) “I didn’t know what, I was tired. It would’ve been taking a chance, but they felt they could make a play for those three yards. It gave us a big break.”
(on the improvement of the defense’s play as the game went on) “We gave up big plays early, and we let them get a lot of chunks down the field. We definitely have to eliminate that. I think if we eliminate those plays, it’s a different ball game.”
(on the 60-yard pass play) “Yes, that‘s true, but we had them in a third down situation. We had them backed up, and would’ve given our offense good field position. But we allowed them to hit us for a big play, and we have to eliminate that.”
(on his thoughts on their upcoming game with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback) “I don’t really pay attention to what is going on with the offense. I take care of the defensive side of the ball. No matter who’s the quarterback, or who’s on the field, I just figure to handle the defensive side of the ball.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh
(opening statement) “Obviously, it was a tough loss. Basically, we gave the game away at the end. We should’ve won the football game, and that’s disappointing. We’ll keep fighting like we always do. That’s what we do. We’ll find a way to get in the playoffs. We might still win the division. We’ll keep fighting for that, and that’s where we’re at.”
(on his decision to go for it on the final fourth down) “It was just a tough wind up there. It was really outside of our range, as we designated going in. We felt like we had a better chance to get the first down than we had to get that field goal.”
(on if it was a 48-yard or 49-yard field goal) “Were you down there on the field? Did you see the wind down there? Did you see the way the ball was tracking with the field goals in pre-game? It was a tough kick. I’m pretty good at that. I’ve been doing that for a long time, and I understand what those guys can do and what they can’t do. It was a very low percentage kick.”
(on what range he wanted to get to) “The 27-yard line. That’s where we wanted to get the ball. We thought the outside range was 30. That was the drop-dead range – 30.”
(on if he thought to challenge the QB Joe Flacco fumble) “There was talk about it. But, when I saw it on the tape, I didn’t want to waste a timeout because it was a fumble.”
(on choosing to throw the ball for the aforementioned play) “I don’t really sit in here and criticize my coaches’ play-calling after the fact. Never have; never will. We could’ve run it. We could’ve protected it better. We could’ve completed it, and we’d still be running, and we’d be talking about what a great call it was. We tried to stay aggressive. We called it because we thought it would get us a completion. We didn’t protect it, and that’s the bottom line.”
(on if TE Todd Heap’s injury changed the game plan) “It took us out of one package, so it wasn’t a killer. We stayed healthy with the rest of the stuff that we did. I thought the young tight ends did a pretty good job. After Ed [Dickson] dropped the first pass, he made some plays for us. I think if we complete those two, we’d still run another flat-route. So, I thought he played OK.
(on not activating a fullback) “[Le’Ron McClain] was a little bit gimpy. We worked on the three-tight end stuff all week, and we felt like the packages were very similar. What I didn’t want to do is put ourselves in a position to run packages we hadn’t practiced. Plus, the two-tight end stuff and the three-tight end stuff that we had was pretty good against their outside pass rush.”
(on the defense’s performance) “I thought the defense played great. I thought they played really well. I’m proud of them.”
(on LB Terrell Suggs) “Terrell played fantastic. He broke the huddle for us. Terrell was a dominant player. He’s one of the premier players in the league, and he played great.”
(on if T Michael Oher’s performance was affected by injury) “I’ll have to look and see. I’m not sure if it was injury-related or not.”
(on the offensive play calls after the Steelers’ 16-play scoring drive) “I think we took a sack right there, which put us behind schedule. So, if we protect better, we’re OK. I don’t question play calling before I watch the tape. If I question, I question with my coaches privately, not in this kind of setting. Never have; never will.”
QB Joe Flacco
(on the fourth-down throw) “I was working Anquan.[Boldin] the same route we were able to hit T.J. in earlier in the game. It worked out for us before. That wasn’t open. I never got my hips turned around enough to get enough pop on the ball over to Ed [Dickson].”
(on the loss) “Well, it doesn’t feel good. We played a very good football team. I feel like we gave this one away. It happens. They made a good play. So we’ve just got to keep our head down and get ready for Houston.”
(on if he sensed if Polamalu was coming on the blitz) “It was an all-out blitz. They really brought everybody, and I took three steps and raised my arm and just got hit. I was pretty shocked to see it myself, but that guy’s made [that] play in his career.”
(on struggling to move the ball in the 2nd half and if the Steelers made changes) “I guess we just never really got into our groove. We would like to score more than 10 points, obviously. We would have liked to have put a touchdown on the board there instead of a field goal. We’d be talking a little different conversation right now [if we did]. But I know that’s not what happened. We didn’t score enough points to win. That’s really what it came down to today. I thought our defense played great. They made a key play, and they put up the points.”
(on the blitz on the play where he fumbled) “Everybody was coming. I took three steps and tried to get rid of the ball as quick as I could. I was going to either the flat or the slant. I took three steps, and I had the flat open. I was getting ready to throw him the ball, and I got hit.”
(on whether he thought about the game-winning drive in the previous game in the final minutes) “Not really. We knew we had to go down and put some points on the board, whether it was a field goal to tie or a touchdown to win. We felt pretty confident about doing it, and we went down there and just didn’t make a play.”
(on whether he was aware of where the Ravens needed to get to for a field goal) “We try not to pay attention too, too much to that. You’ve got to get as close as you can, and then let Billy [Cundiff] take care of it from there. We were trying to complete as many passes and get as many yards as we could, and then let the coaches on the sideline decide whether they wanted to kick it or go for it. We’re not really paying too much attention to it unless we’re in a certain situation.”
(on whether he was surprised to go for it on fourth down at the end) “No, not really. You’re going into the wind. Billy does have a good leg, but it was fourth and a couple yards. We had the guy open, and just didn’t execute the play.”
(on whether he thought his arm may have been going forward on the Polamalu hit) “No, it happened so fast. As soon as I brought the ball back, there was no way. Even if my arm went forward, the ball went backward, so if you throw a ball backwards, I think it’s a fumble anyway.”
(on bouncing back from this loss) “We’ve got to get ready to play another game. It happens all the time in the NFL. You lose football games. We’ve got to get ready for Houston and get ready for another big game. We’ll be ready to go. We’re a good enough team that we can handle this the way it’s supposed to be handled. We’ll go back out there and play on Monday night.”
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
(on the loss to the Steelers) “The defense gave us every chance to win, but we just threw the game away.”
(on second-half struggles) “It’s a combination of things. Of course you’re going to come out and try to adjust and not do the things you didn’t do well and do more of the things that you did well. But, they’re going to come out and make adjustments, too. To be in a situation where our defense completely dominated the game, we were fairly effective, but only scored 10 points. We shouldn’t have lost the game the way we lost it. And, if we would’ve done anything to help the defense out, we would’ve won.”
(on the Ravens’ last offensive play) “They played a zone defense. They did a good job of mixing it up. They played more man on that last drive, but the corners didn’t want to give up the deep ball. It was just a zone defense. I thought we had a pretty good play call, just didn’t execute it right.”
(on whether they should’ve kicked a field goal) “I don’t know. You would have to ask coach Jerry Rosburg, coach Harbaugh and Billy [Cundiff]. I have no idea what he thought he could make. The way he kicks the ball, I wouldn’t put that past Billy. But, you’ll have to ask those guys that.”
(on whether the Ravens were conservative in the second half) ”I wouldn’t say we were conservative. I think we just didn’t move the ball. If you want to call that conservative, you can. When you guys are watching the game, you might see it differently than when we’re playing. Whatever it was, it didn’t work. It’s very disappointing when Ray [Lewis] played the way he did, when ‘Siz’ [Terrell Suggs] played a great game. Everybody on defense played a great game, and we didn’t do anything to help them out. That’s the disappointing part about it, because we should’ve had a lot more than 10 points.”
(on how good the Steelers’ defense is) “We gave them the game. You all watched the game; you know that. They know that. It’s just that they took it with a turnover at the end. It’s a tough win to swallow because of the way the game was played and because of the way our defense played. I thought our defense played great. And, it’s the same song. If we do anything in the second half, we had two possessions in the third quarter, and they were both three-and-out. We kept the defense on the field entirely too long. We just didn’t do enough.”
(on whether he thought they could win like they did in Pittsburgh) “Of course. That’s human nature. I felt like we were going to do it again. Worst case scenario, I thought we’d get a field goal, and we would go to overtime. I never would have thought we would lose the game, even after they scored. With the time we had, I never thought we’d lose the game. Hopefully, we can get some help in the last four games and take care of what we have to take care of.”
T Michael Oher
(on whether the Steelers’ defensive scheme was anything different than what was expected coming into the game) “No, we’d basically seen everything, and I think we did a pretty good job of picking up everything.”
(on what happened on the S Troy Polamalu sack-fumble play) “I don’t know, we’ve probably got to go watch film on it. But he’s a great player; we’ve got to account for [No.] 43 at all times, we can’t let him get out of our sights. So, we’ve just got to watch film and look to see what we did wrong.”
(on what this loss is like for the team) “It’s a heartbreaker. It’s our rival. You know, Pittsburgh, we want to beat those guys every time, and then we’re fighting and wanted to take control of the division. To lose this one, we’re going to have to keep fighting for the rest of the year.”
CB Josh Wilson
(on the mental state of the team after this game) “Man, it’s tough, a tough one. You know, these are the ones that you think about, but like we were talking, you’ve got to get ready for next week. We’ve got another big one coming next week, and we can’t sit here and dwell on this. We’ll definitely have another chance at this.”
(on whether they look back at the game winning drive and wish they could take that one back) “Yeah, it’s a tough one. It’s a tough one.”
(on what happened on his interception play) “Oh, they ran the slant earlier, and they came back and when they ran the slant-and-go, [it was] a foot race. God blessed me with good skills, and I just had to make the catch.”
(on whether he was surprised that QB Ben Roethlisberger was able to hold up as well as he did with how much pressure they had on him) “You must not watch the Steelers play too much. (laughing) That’s his thing; he’s going to get hit, and he’s going to break loose, and he’s a tough guy, a great player.”
(on whether they felt like they ever had Roethlisberger out of the game) “No, when you have a rivalry, that’s what happens. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle all the way to the end, like every game has been. The last game was with them, and in the past I’ve seen that’s how they’ve been.”
TE Ed Dickson
(on his thoughts when he saw TE Todd Heap injure his hamstring on the first play of the game) “Well, I thought he was going to be alright. He’s like Superman. So, I just got in there and basically said, ‘Do my job and not miss a beat.’ That’s what we work on through the offseason, [and] if something major happened like that, I’d go in and not miss a beat, and that’s what we did.”
(on whether he felt comfortable right away with all the things that the Steelers do, or if he had to grow up very quick) “A little bit of both. I mean, we know these guys like no other team, so I’ve got a lot of film study, and I felt really comfortable out there with these guys. And I got a lot of support from my teammates; the O-line, Joe Flacco and a lot of receivers.”
(on what happened on the first pass that he bobbled around) “When I saw it, the wind had grasped it a little bit and took it right out of my fingertips, and I just kind of bobbled it. And I should have just picked it out of the air like a cherry. So, you learn from that, you can’t let that affect your play, and I just wanted to continue the game and catch everything else.”
(on his second to last catch and whether he thought he was down after he dove to catch the ball, or if it was just tough to get up and run) “Well, the ball came out a little bit low, and then I just tried to secure the catch and roll out of bounds, because I knew the play clock was rolling. So, I didn’t try to get up and run with it, I just tried to roll out of bounds and stop the clock.”
(on whether the pass on the last play was deflected or just came up short) “I’m not sure. I think it got deflected and just came up a little bit short, and that was tough. Real tough.”
CB Chris Carr
(on the Steelers’ win) “They got a play at the end on the sack-fumble. We wanted to keep them out of the end zone, but they had a great play out there. It’s disappointing that those things transpired. We just have to regroup, and hopefully we learn something.”
(on LB Terrell Suggs’ effort tonight) “We were aware of it. We could hear the sacks, and we could hear everyone cheering out there. We were covering for a long time, and it’s good. We have a lot of good players on our team. If we can sit there and cover for a long time, Ben will start scrambling and we can get them opportunities to get sacks. Suggs is one of those players who is one of the best in the league, and he had a great game tonight. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the job done.”
(on dealing with the loss) “We have a lot of veterans on this team. You can’t gloat after a win, and you can’t go in the tank and think your season’s ruined after a loss. A lot of people tonight are going to be thinking about it. People will probably lose sleep over this one. But, we have a while until we play on Monday night. By the time people wake up on Tuesday, they’re going to be fine and they’re going to be over it. They’ll be watching film on our next opponents, the Texans. We’ll be fine.”
(on losing a close game) “Sometimes, it just comes down to who makes plays. We were up 10-6 with two minutes left. They get a sack-fumble and run it down to our eight-yard line. That puts the defense in a very tough position. We stopped them on first and second-down, but unfortunately they got a good play on us on third-down. It just came down to that. Great play call on their part.”
LB Jarret Johnson
(on the loss) “It’s like a playoff game; you’ve got to play four quarters. You can’t play three and play all the way up until the last three minutes. It’s too bad, because we felt like we controlled the entire game, and then you look up, and it’s over. We have to get past this. We have to win some games and move ahead.”
(on whether the long drive affected the defense) “Yeah. I mean, any time you get a quick turnaround after a long series is tough. I had an opportunity to make a tackle at the end, and I missed it, and it would’ve been big to hold them to three [points], but we didn’t get it done.”
OLB Terrell Suggs
(on whether he played his best individual football game of his career tonight) “No. No. We didn’t win. You can say you had a good game, but that wouldn’t be the best one. I think plays were left on the field and even some momentum.”
(on whether he felt the game was ripped away at the end) “No, we gave that to them. Is that something new – [Steelers S Troy] Polamalu at the line of scrimmage? You can’t give their defense opportunities to make plays. They have a lot of good defensive players over there, as you all can clearly see. That play changed the outcome of the game. We’ve just got to know our opponent better. I feel like we have to play better as a team – offensively, defensively – and play the game. We need to learn from our mistakes. I remember another sack, fumble for a touchdown in 2008. It’s like, ‘Have we learned nothing?’ You’ve got to know who you’re playing against. [Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau, he’s an aggressive defensive coordinator. Nine times out of 10 that [No.] 43 [Polamalu] is at the line, he’s coming. We can’t give them that opportunity to make plays, and we did.”
(on the Ravens’ defense not giving the Steelers much) “It doesn’t matter, because they’re going to be happy as hell on that airplane back to Pittsburgh. They got the ‘W’. In this league, that’s all that matters. They don’t want to say, ‘Oh, well, the Baltimore defense played phenomenally, and didn’t give up anything.’ They lost. That’s all that matters.”
(on his view of the go-ahead touchdown) “He threw it quick. It was a three-step [drop], so I don’t think he had a shot…”
Reporter interjects: “No, once the receiver caught the ball”
“Oh, the tackle. He didn’t have far to go. We missed a couple. He made a play for his team. That’s all you can say. He made a play. They scored.”
(on the Ravens giving up a fourth quarter lead for the sixth time this season) “You’ve got to look at how you’ve been giving them up. When you’re playing the Steelers, you have to keep them out of the end zone. At the same time, you can’t give their defense opportunities to make plays. We know we were up. We had some injuries. You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt. You’ve got to adjust some stuff. Everybody, I think, watching at home, everybody…When you see [No.] 43 [Polamalu] at the line, four-minute offense, he’s coming. It was like, ‘Man, I hope we’ve got a plan,’ because it just didn’t feel good when I saw that hair at the line of scrimmage.”
(on whether he was trying to force a fumble when he had Ben Roethlisberger wrapped up) “I was, but I was trying to strip it. I didn’t even know he was outside the tackle box. Once I did strip the ball, I was just going to bring him down. Me and him, I think we weigh the same. He threw the ball out of bounds, and they score in the next two plays.”
(on whether he felt he was pretty close to stripping the ball) “I didn’t get it. Grenades and horseshoes… In this game, almost doesn’t cut it.”
(on whether the emotions of this rivalry will make this loss harder to get over) “No, we’re going to move on because if we let this get to us, not only can we not lose the division, but we can still slip farther down the line and not make the playoffs at all. But, we’re going to move on. It’s going to suck. It’s going to hurt tonight, but the moment I get home, I’m going to kiss both of my babies and get over it. They don’t really care what happened today. I may have some diapers to change. Daddy will be Daddy.“
12-06-2010, 03:47 AM
Ravens believe they handed the Steelers the game
By Mark Kaboly, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 6, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 12448.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_712448.html)
It will go down in the record books as a 13-10 Steelers win over Baltimore.
But the Ravens will always view it as something else.
“I’m sure they would like to say they took it with the turnover at the end,” receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “We gave them the game. Y’all watched the game. Y’all know that. They know that.”
Troy Polamalu’s strip sack of Joe Flacco on a 2nd-and-5 play with a little more than three minutes left in 10-6 game led to the game-winning touchdown and left the Ravens stunned.
“We gave it to them,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said.
Instead of having control of the division with four games left, the Ravens are now sitting in the sixth and final wildcard spot in the AFC.
“Obviously it is a tough loss,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “Basically, we gave the game away in the end. We should’ve won the football game and that’s disappointing.”
It’s been an all too familiar sight for the Ravens against the Steelers.
All four of their wins since 2008 over the Ravens have come by four points or fewer. And the one before that prevented Baltimore from going to the Super Bowl.
“We are sick,” linebacker Jarrett Johnson said. “We felt good the whole game and feel confident about the win and all of a sudden it is over and they are kneeling. I am pretty disappointed right now.”
“We shouldn’t have lost the game how we lost it,” Houshmandzadeh added.
With the Ravens clinging to a 10-6 lead late in the game, Polamalu creeped to the line of scrimmaged and blitzed from the right side.
Left tackle Michael Oher slid to the inside and running back Ray Rice crossed the formation to pick up the blitzing Lawrence Timmons.
Polamalu came free and knocked the ball out of Flacco’s hands. LaMarr Woodley picked the ball up and returned it to the 9.
“Is that something new?” Suggs said. “Polamalu at the line of scrimmage? You can’t give their defense opportunities to make plays.”
Suggs had a bad feeling when he saw Polamalu sneaking to the line of scrimmage.
“It was like ‘Man, I hope we have a plan’ because it didn’t feel good when I saw that hair at the line of scrimmage,” Suggs said.
Flacco didn’t see Polamalu coming. He took a three-step drop and was going for a pass in the flat when he was hit.
“I took three steps and raised my arm and just got hit,” Flacco said. “I was pretty shocked to see it myself.”
Oher, who is battling a right knee injury, wasn’t sure what happened on the play.
“I don’t know, we have to go watch film on it,” Oher said. “We have to account for 43 at all times. We can’t let him get out of our sight. We have to see what we did wrong. The guy is a heck of a football player. He is so good at disguising a lot of things.”
Baltimore has games left with Houston, New Orleans, Cleveland and Cincinnati. They have a stranglehold on a wild card spot at 8-4.
“We have to regroup and hopefully we learned something,” safety Chris Carr said. “You can’t gloat after a win and can’t go in the tank after a loss. We are going to lose some sleep over this one but we will be over it on Tuesday.”
The Steelers have games left with Cincinnati, N.Y. Jets, Carolina and Cleveland.
“Hopefully we can get some help,” Houshmandzadeh said.
12-06-2010, 03:48 AM
Roethlisberger again finds way to beat Steelers' top rival
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 6, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 12401.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_712401.html)
Around the Steelers
• Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel returned to the starting lineup Sunday night after missing five games since the middle of October because of hamstring and calf problems. Ziggy Hood got the start opposite Keisel, and the Steelers' 2009 first-round pick recorded his first sack of the season when he dropped Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on the opening possession. Hood played the entire first quarter with Nick Eason spelling Keisel.
• Steelers punter Daniel Sepulveda injured his right knee in the first half. Sepulveda got hurt during Lardarius Webb's 34-yard punt return. Kicker Shaun Suisham punted in place of Sepulveda.
• Steelers wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown played in the same game for the second time this season. The two combined for three of the Steelers' nine catches in the first half. Sanders also returned kickoffs, while Brown and Antwaan Randle El returned punts.
• Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps) and tight end Matt Spaeth (concussion) didn't play last night because of injuries. The Steelers should soon get a better idea of when Smith, who has been out since late October, will be able to return. He's scheduled to have an MRI taken on his injured arm this week.
• In addition to Smith and Spaeth, defensive lineman Steve McLendon, offensive tackles Tony Hills and Chris Scott, cornerback Crezdon Butler, running back Jonathan Dwyer and quarterback Charlie Batch were inactive last night.
• The Ravens lost tight end Todd Heap to a hamstring injury on their first possession, and fullback Le'Ron McClain didn't play because of an ankle injury.
About the writer
Scott Brown is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Steelers beat writer and can be reached at 412-481-5432 or via e-mail.
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BALTIMORE - Bloodied but unbowed, Ben Roethlisberger yet again found a way to beat the Steelers' biggest rival.
Roethlisberger threw for 253 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers rallied in the second half Sunday night for a 13-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens.
Troy Polamalu turned in arguably the biggest play for the season for the Steelers late in the fourth quarter when he sacked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco from the blind side and forced a fumble.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley scooped up the loose ball and returned it 19 yards to the Ravens' 10-yard line.
On third down, Roethlisberger threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman, who broke several tackles on the way to the end zone. The score, which gave the Steelers their only lead, came with 2:58 remaining.
Roethlisberger improved to 8-2 against the Ravens despite playing on a bad foot and through an inadvertent hit to his nose early in the game.
The defense kept the Steelers in the game and ultimately put them in a position to win it.
"We came in here and did what we needed to do," linebacker James Harrison said.
The win gives the Steelers (9-3) sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
The Steelers' remaining four opponents, starting with the Cincinnati Bengals, have a combined record of 17-30.
Three of those games are at Heinz Field, and only one of them is against a team with a winning record.
The Steelers will try to win at least 10 games in a season for the third time in four years under coach Mike Tomlin when they host the 2-10 Bengals.
Steelers' penalties dominated talk leading up to the renewal of one of the NFL's fiercest rivalries. Yet, it was the Ravens who kept officials busy after the Steelers won the pregame coin toss.
They were flagged seven times in the first quarter alone, allowing the Steelers to establish control in the all-important game of field position.
The early miscues weren't enough to rattle Flacco, who completed a 61-yard pass to Boldin.
Boldin got behind safety Ryan Clark and then bounced off Bryant McFadden for his longest catch as a Raven. That set up a 14-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Boldin that culminated a 92-yard drive.
The Ravens turned a Steelers' breakdown into another 61-yard pass play from the shadow of their own end zone.
But the Steelers' stiffened after Donte' Stallworth's catch and run, and cornerback Ike Taylor's sack of Flacco on third down knocked the Ravens out of field-goal range.
The Steelers didn't get much out of their offense in the first half as Roethlisberger struggled with his accuracy.
That changed in the second half when the Steelers went to the no-huddle.
"We were able to move the ball downfield," Roethlisberger said.
The Steelers' most promising drive came at the end of the first half, but it resulted in no points. The Steelers converted on fourth down from the Ravens' 44-yard line but couldn't keep the drive going.
The Steelers got on the scoreboard early in the second half when Shaun Suisham kicked a 45-yard field goal.
They didn't score their first touchdown until late in the game, but that was good enough to claim pole position in the AFC North.
12-06-2010, 03:49 AM
Stakes raised by Tomlin, and Steelers cash in
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 6, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 12451.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_712451.html)
BALTIMORE -- The booming voice was unmistakable. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wanted to personally deliver a message to his players last Wednesday before the first practice of the week.
"Outside!'' Tomlin shouted upon entering the locker room.
Translation: "I don't care how cold it is, we're not practicing indoors.''
Tomlin raised the significance of Sunday night's critical AFC North battle against Baltimore to new heights. Since losing to New England last month, Tomlin made the Steelers practice in full pads on Wednesdays. No one could remember the last time that occurred, but it certainly wasn't this season.
Tomlin didn't stop there. A year ago, the Steelers practiced inside during inclement weather. This year, only a blizzard will prevent the Steelers from practicing outdoors.
In all honesty, nothing could have prepared the Steelers for what they encountered last night. As a result, nothing will feel any sweeter than the Steelers' 13-10 comeback win at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Steelers take pride in their defense. But there was nothing good about watching Baltimore drive 92 yards and take a 7-0 lead against the NFL's No. 5 defense. It was the longest drive by a Steelers opponent this season, made possible by a 61-yard strike from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin on third-and-15 from the Baltimore 3.
Baltimore's opening score resulted on the type of play that makes defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's cringe. For the second consecutive week, the Steelers pass rush failed and the opposing quarterback had too much time to pick out an open receiver.
Last week against Buffalo, a wide-open Steve Johnson dropped the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime against the Steelers. This week, Flacco received plenty of time to scan the field and drill a 14-yard touchdown pass to Boldin.
Baltimore continued to ring up big plays against the Steelers. Like most opponents, the Ravens couldn't run against the league's top-ranked rushing defense. But why run when you can pass?
Flacco dialed up Donte' Stallworth for a 67-yard bomb in the second quarter. Left cornerback Bryant McFadden made an inside move toward the tight end when he suddenly realized the ball was coming to his side of the field. Luckily, the Steelers finally discovered a pass rush when cornerback Ike Taylor blitzed and sacked Flacco for an 11-yard loss, forcing a punt.
By the same token, that same defense set up the winning touchdown when blitzing safety Troy Polamalu forced a Flacco fumble and linebacker LaMarr Woodley returned the fumble to the Baltimore 9. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hit running back Isaac Redman with the game-winning touchdown pass as the Steelers took over first place in the division.
The Steelers won despite the offense failing to score in the first half for the first time all season. Roethlisberger, playing gamely on a sprained right foot, tried to work the ball downfield. He paid for it when Baltimore cornerback Josh Wilson intercepted an ill-advised, second-quarter pass intended for rookie Antonio Brown that was thrown into double coverage.
Regrouping at halftime, the Steelers smartly mixed the run with short and intermediate passes before their first drive in the third quarter fizzled out at the Baltimore 27. Shaun Suisham's 45-yard field goal made it 7-3 at the 10:54 mark.
Trailing 10-3, the Steelers offense needed to prove it could move the ball consistently against a good defense when it mattered. Garbage points in the fourth quarter against New England don't count.
We know the Steelers can move the ball against the likes of Oakland and Cincinnati. To win against Baltimore, the Steelers were going to have to score at least one touchdown against a good defense.
They did it last night at the most opportune time. The late-game heroics made Tomlin's recent practice edict seem like a stroke of genius.
12-06-2010, 03:51 AM
Steelers Notebook: QB rides shotgun, absorbs more hits
Monday, December 06, 2010
By Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Blood runs from Ben Roethlisberger's nose after taking a sack against the Ravens in the first quarter Sunday in Baltimore. Hines Ward and Ray Lewis get tangled up in the first half.
BALTIMORE -- The Steelers lost punter Daniel Sepulveda for the rest of the season in Sunday night's game with the Ravens when the ACL in his right leg was torn, the third time he has had that injury since his college days.
The team will likely sign a punter to take his place this week.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also will have surgery to repair a broken nose, sustained in the first series when he was sacked by the Ravens Haloti Ngata, who hit the quarterback in the face with his left hand.
Roethlisberger, though, will be able to play next Sunday against Cincinnati.
Right tackle Flozell Adams left the game with a high ankle sprain and tight end Heath Miller left with a concussion.
Big Ben's mobility
Because of an injured right foot that restricted his mobility, Roethlisberger played most of the first half lined up in the shotgun formation.
Roethlisberger has a sprain and fracture in his right foot. He lined up under center for only five of the 31 snaps in the first half.
He took most of the snaps in the shotgun because it put less stress on his foot.
Roethlisberger was sacked twice in the first half. On the first one he was struck across the facemask by the left hand of Ngata, causing a bloody nose. No penalty was called on Ngata for a blow to the head.
In the second quarter, as he was chased from the pocket, Roethlisberger was shoved to the ground by safety Dawan Landry after he released the ball. No penalty was called, and Roethlisberger looked at referee Terry McAulay and waved his hand in disgust.
Dimed to depth
The Steelers used their dime defensive package, which employs six defensive backs, a lot last week in Buffalo because the Bills used formations with four wide receivers.
In that package, the Steelers take linebacker Lawrence Timmons -- one of their best players -- off the field and insert cornerback Anthony Madison as the sixth defensive back.
When cornerback Bryant McFadden was injured against the Bills, the Steelers had to reach further into their bench for cornerback Keenan Lewis when they took Timmons off the field, a move that doesn't seem to make sense.
But defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau does that because he doesn't want Timmons matched against a wide receiver.
The Steelers didn't think they would use that package much against the Ravens because LeBeau wanted Timmons on the field to match against running back Ray Rice. Plus, the Ravens rarely use four wide receivers at once.
Until the Ravens got a 14-yard touchdown on the Joe Flacco-to-Anquan Boldin pass with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter Sunday night, the Steelers had allowed one touchdown in the previous 150 minutes, 10 seconds.
Boldin's touchdown was the first against the Steelers in the red zone since the New England game Nov. 14.
The Ravens failed to sweep the season series with the Steelers. The only time they won both games against the Steelers in one season was in 2006. The Steelers won both games in 1997, '98, 2002, and '08.
Ravens give, don't yield
Despite 16 giveaways in their first 11 games, the Ravens started the game without having allowed a single touchdown off a turnover all season. The Steelers broke that streak in the fourth quarter, scoring their only touchdown after a fumble by Flacco when he was sacked by Troy Polamalu.
The Steelers snapped Baltimore's eight-game home winning streak as well as the Ravens' string of nine consecutive games in which they'd piled up at least 300 yards of offense.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340/11 ... z17Jdp16xI (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10340/1108694-66.stm#ixzz17Jdp16xI)
12-06-2010, 03:52 AM
Steelers Report Card: Game 12 vs. Ravens
Monday, December 06, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Considering his condition, a gutsy game by Ben Roethlisberger, especially in the second half when he was able to make more plays on the run and the winning TD throw to Isaac Redman. He was 8 of 10 for 111 yards in the third after completing just 9 of 19 for 92 with an interception in the first half and finished 22 of 38 for 253 yards. Roethlisberger took only five of 31 snaps under center in the first half.
RUNNING BACKS C
The short-yardage offense sputtered at a key point in the fourth quarter when the Steelers had to settle for a field goal after a first down at the Ravens 2. But Isaac Redman made the big play, breaking two tackles on the winning 9-yard TD. Rashard Mendenhall, who had 79 yards against the Ravens in the first meeting, had just 27 on eight carries in the first half and only 42 yards through three quarters.
WIDE RECEIVERS B-
Mike Wallace had a team-high five catches for 79 yards and Emmanuel Sanders had three for 49 yards, including a 28-yarder to set up the second FG. But it's not a productive first half when backup TE David Johnson is the leading receiver with two catches. A concussion to Heath Miller in the third left them with just one tight end. Hines Ward had a big third-down drop at the Ravens 26 in the first half.
OFFENSIVE LINE C
More injuries caused more juggling on the line, but the protection was good enough in the second half to allow Roethlisberger to make plays. The Steelers rushed for only 39 yards in the first half and the line was had problems containing DE Terrell Suggs, who had 1 1/2 sacks and pressured Roethlisberger. But it got tougher in the fourth when Miller and RT Flozell Adams went out with injury
DEFENSIVE LINE A
Another strong performance by a unit that plays unselfish and disciplined. The return of DE Brett Keisel solidified the league's No. 1 rush defense, holding the Ravens to 43 yards rushing through three quarters, including just 11 yards on 11 carries in the first half. DE Ziggy Hood had one of the two sacks on QB Joe Flacco in the first half and did a good job at the point of attack in run defense.
James Harrison was very disruptive, especially in the first half when the Ravens had 11 yards rushing, and collapsed the pocket on several occasions. Same with OLB LaMarr Woodley, who drew holding calls -- something that was missing in Buffalo. Woodley made the big 19-yard return with a fumble recovery to set up the winning TD and ILB James Farrior had a sack and tipped pass on the final drive.
DEFENSIVE BACKS C-
Just as he did in the 2008 AFC title game, S Troy Polamalu made the big play, forcing a fumble on a sack that led to the winning score. But Flacco's ability to convert third-down passes was almost too much to overcome. Two passes of 61 and 67 yards, both on third down, in the first half were crippling. CB Ike Taylor had a big third-down sack to push the Ravens out of FG territory.
SPECIAL TEAMS C+
The Steelers needed to get a big-play from their special teams and instead they got three silly penalties that cost them 38 yards in field position. But K Shaun Suisham's 45-yard field goal in the third quarter was his 13th in a row between 40-49 yards and he also had a 19-yarder. After P Daniel Sepulveda injured his right knee on a 35-yard return by Lardarius Webb, Suisham also had to handle punts.
Letting the Ravens hit a pair of 60-something passes from horrid field position was inexcusable against a team that doesn't hit long passes. And three special-teams penalties could have been more problematic. But the offense was saved on Roethlisberger's winning TD pass to Redman and the defense made the big play when it was needed most. A big win in tough circumstances.
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12-06-2010, 03:53 AM
On the Steelers: Steelers take division lead
Polamalu slashes ball from Flacco, sets up winning td pass to Redman
Monday, December 06, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers running back Isaac Redman scores the winning touchdown against the Ravens late in the fourth quarter Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
BALTIMORE -- Big games call for big plays from big players, and none came bigger for the Steelers Sunday night than the one delivered by Troy Polamalu.
With their chances of victory and a division title slipping through the Steelers' hands, Polamalu blitzed and sacked Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco and forced a fumble that led to the winning touchdown.
The offense made it count when Ben Roethlisberger completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Redman with 2:59 that delivered a 13-10 victory.
"They're over there sick right now," wide receiver Hines Ward said of the Ravens, who would have been in the driver's seat had they won.
The victory lifted the Steelers to 9-3 and a one-game lead over the Ravens in the AFC North Division. The Steelers also cling to a tiebreaker with the best record within the division.
"Does it surprise you?" Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said of Polamalu's
game-turner. "It doesn't surprise us, either. We see that all the time."
With the Ravens holding a 4-point lead and the ball at their 43 with less than four minutes to go, Polamalu blitzed off his right side and hit Flacco, slashing his right arm and causing a fumble.
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley returned the fumble 19 yards to the 9.
The Steelers were blitzing to stop the run, but Flacco dropped back to pass and no one even tried to block Polamalu, who came from Flacco's blind side.
"A lot of guys would just go in there and sack the quarterback," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He sees the game differently."
After two pass incompletions, Roethlisberger dumped a short pass over the middle to Redman at the 7. Redman powered through two tackles and bounced into the end zone for a 13-10 Steelers lead with 2:51 left.
"I compliment that guy," Tomlin said of Redman, who was stopped on several short-yardage plays, including one from the 2 in which he lost 2 yards. "He kept plugging and made a significant play."
Baltimore wasn't done yet. The Ravens drove to the Steelers' 31 on the next series. They had fourth-and-2 from there and, instead of trying a 49-yard field goal into the wind, went for the first down. Flacco's pass bounced incomplete.
"It was just a tough wind up there," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh explained as to why he did not have Billy Cundiff try the field goal to tie it. "It was really outside of our range ... We felt like we had a better chance to get the first down than we had to get that field goal."
In a typically brutal hitting game by these two rivals, several players left the field with injuries and did not return, including Steelers tight end Heath Miller (concussion), offensive right tackle Flozell Adams (high ankle sprain) and punter Daniel Sepulveda (torn ACL). Baltimore lost tight end Todd Heap (hamstring).
The Steelers scored the final 10 points to erase a 10-3 Baltimore lead. Shaun Suisham -- pressed into punting duty after Sepulveda's injury -- kicked a 19-yard field goal with 12:46 left after Baltimore's defense kept the Steelers from the end zone after they had a first down at the 2.
Flacco completed two big passes to Boldin on the only scoring drive of the first half. Boldin caught the first for 61 yards on a play that started from the Ravens' 3. The next was a 14-yard touchdown catch.
The Steelers reached Baltimore territory several times. One ended on an interception of Roethlisberger at the 2, the other when Ward dropped a pass at the 26.
The Ravens and Steelers traded quick and ineffective early series, but the visitors were gaining ground in field position. Baltimore was driven back to its 3 after a penalty on third-and-15.
On the next play, Boldin ran in motion to the right and into the slot, where safety Ryan Clark faced him. Boldin bolted down the middle, blowing past Clark and catching a perfectly throw pass from Flacco for a 61-yard pickup to the Steelers' 36. Flacco ended that series, which officially covered 92 yards but actually covered 97 by tossing a 14-yard pass in the middle of the end zone to the wide-open Boldin.
The Steelers reached Baltimore's 45 after Roethlisberger completed a 25-yard pass to tight end David Johnson. On second down, Roethlisberger threw deep to Antonio Brown, and cornerback Josh Wilson intercepted at the 2. The Steelers had another drive going at the Baltimore 38 when, on third down, Ward dropped a pass at the 26 that hit him in both hands.
The game was taking its toll. Baltimore lost Heap on the first play from scrimmage. The Steelers lost Sepulveda in the first half. In the second, Miller left with a concussion after he took a shot to the head from linebacker Jameel McClain. Carl Johnson, the NFL's head of officiating, told NBC that McClain should have been penalized on the play.
The Steelers opened the second half with their first score, a 45-yard field goal by Suisham, with Sepulveda holding. It was the 13th consecutive time in Suisham's career that he connected from between 40 and 49 yards, including all four from that range last week in Buffalo.
That drive featured a short pass to Mike Wallace, who turned it into a 33-yard gain to put the Steelers within field-goal distance.
Baltimore, though, responded with a field-goal drive of its own to go back on top by 10-3 on Cundiff's 24-yard field goal.
The Steelers seemed poised to tie it early in the fourth quarter when they reached Baltimore's 2 on a drive that started at their 20. They had a first down after Emmanuel Sanders caught a 28-yard pass from Roethlisberger, who scrambled to his right to throw it. On first down, Redman lost 2 yards. On second, Rashard Mendenhall lost 1. On third, Roethlisberger threw sideways to Wallace, who caught it at the 5 and managed to get to the 1.
The Steelers have had trouble scoring touchdowns once they get inside the 5, and it happened again, forcing Suisham to kick a 19-yard field goal that enabled the Ravens to cling to a 10-6 lead with 12:46 left and create the feeling that the game would come down to a big defensive play.
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12-06-2010, 03:57 AM
Updated Dec 6, 2010 2:22 AM ET
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/pitt ... win-120510 (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/pittsburgh-steelers-baltimore-ravens-Ben-Roethlisberger-breaks-nose-in-win-120510)
With his nose smashed and fractured foot in a walking boot, Ben Roethlisberger now knows how Antonio Margarito felt after being pummeled in a recent high-profile boxing match.
“I look like I just went 12 rounds with (Manny) Pacquiao,” the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback quipped after Sunday night’s 13-10 victory over the host Baltimore Ravens.
The difference between Roethlisberger and Margarito? Roethlisberger scored a knockout.
A 9-yard touchdown pass to running back Isaac Redman with 2:51 remaining spelled the difference in a game featuring the kind of blows that have established Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh as the NFL’s hardest-hitting rivalry. Already forced to wear an oversized shoe to protect an old foot injury he aggravated last week, Roethlisberger had his nose broken on Pittsburgh’s sixth offensive snap when Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata’s hand penetrated the quarterback’s face mask. Blood flowed down Roethlisberger’s face, staining his white No. 7 jersey and forcing him to receive treatment from trainers who tried to bend his nose back into shape.
“I just knew it was bleeding,” Roethlisberger said. “When I got to the sideline, I could tell by the look on everyone’s face that something wasn’t right.”
For most of the game, neither were the Steelers (9-3). The Ravens (8-4) never trailed until the end and had a chance to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter. But on a second-and-5 from the Ravens 43-yard line, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco dropped to pass when Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was blitzing. Polamalu admittedly expected a running play but didn’t hesitate to make a beeline for Flacco when left unblocked.
“I just saw his back turned,” Polamalu said. “I felt like I saw the ball come down. ... The ball just came out.”
Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley collected the fumble and returned it 19 yards to the Ravens 9. That’s when Roethlisberger took charge.
On first down, Roethlisberger somehow wrestled himself away from Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs to throw an incompletion and avoid what seemed a sure-fire sack. After another incompletion, Roethlisberger again dropped to pass from an empty set. Aligned in the slot, Redman caught a quick slant. He broke away from Ravens safety Dawan Landry’s tackle attempt and spun into the end zone after being hit by outside linebacker Jarret Johnson near the goal line.
“They blitzed everybody,” Roethlisberger said. “I tried to remind Isaac that, ‘Hey, It’s coming to you.’ He did the rest himself.”
It was fitting that an obscure third-string running back like Redman would shine on a chilly night when injuries forced the Steelers into some unusual personnel and strategic decisions. Tight end Heath Miller was sidelined with a concussion during the third quarter, leaving the Steelers with one tight end. Kicker Shaun Suisham was forced to punt when Daniel Sepulveda tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Trai Essex finished the game at right tackle on a patchwork offensive line after Flozell Adams sprained his ankle. And the Steelers unveiled a truncated shotgun formation — i.e. “the pistol” — because Roethlisberger was struggling to drop back from under center.
Unable to complete a full practice last week, Roethlisberger admitted his foot “hurt a lot” before smiling and saying, “The broken nose took some of the pain away.”
The Ravens should be sore about this loss for some time to come. Baltimore squandered the chance to take control of the AFC North against a battered opponent with a one-legged quarterback. It was also disturbing to see Flacco falter in crunch time. On fourth-and-2 from the Steelers 31, Flacco’s final attempt was a short-hopped throw to tight Ed Dickson that would have given Baltimore a first down.
“I felt like we gave this game away,” said Flacco, who was limited to 87 second-half yards on 8-for-19 passing.
The Steelers will gladly accept such charity, especially after suffering a Week 4 loss to the Ravens in Pittsburgh. That was the final contest Roethlisberger was forced to miss while serving his four-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Since then, Roethlisberger has gone 6-2 as a starter while winning over teammates like wide receiver Hines Ward who weren’t fans of his “Big Ben” persona gone amuck.
“He’s a warrior. That’s why I love everything about him,” Ward said. “I know when he’s on the field, he gives us a great chance to win.”
Even when beaten and battered by a Suggs-led Ravens defense.
“One time I looked at (Suggs) and he was bleeding from the mouth,” Roethlisberger said. “I was bleeding from the nose. That’s what this game is about, really.
“We find ways to make it happen. Sometimes, it isn’t pretty. Look at me. But we get it done.”
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