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hawaiiansteel
10-31-2011, 05:14 PM
Surging Steelers ready for payback against Ravens

WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
Monday, October 31, 2011

http://www.timesunion.com/mediaManager/?controllerName=image&action=get&id=1715289&width=628&height=471

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) strips the ball from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12).

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ryan Clark remembers the dancing. And the jawing. And the seemingly countless celebrations.

Did the way the Baltimore Ravens enjoyed their 35-7 mauling of the Steelers in the season opener bother the veteran safety? Of course.

Then again, there's not much Clark could do about it.

"People can throw parties when you can't stop them from scoring, and we couldn't stop them from scoring," Clark said. "They can dance all they want."

The Steelers turned the beatdown and the ensuing obituaries written from the critics about who gleefully detailed how the defending champions were "old, slow and ... over" into a rallying cry.

"That was y'all writing us off," Clark said. "We felt like we had a bad one. We lost to a good team."

Funny, Clark said, the Steelers didn't look old, slow or over while knocking off Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 25-17 on Sunday to set up a rematch the Ravens next weekend.

And they haven't lost much since.

The team that looked uninspired at best and ill-prepared at worst during a nightmarish opening month of the season is now the only team in the AFC with a 6-2 record.

It's the fifth straight year the Steelers have started 6-2. And they acted like they've been there before even after beating Brady for the first time since 2004.

There were no bold proclamations even after limiting the NFL's top offense to a paltry 213 yards. The Steelers don't do proclamations.

Sure, exacting a bit of revenge on Brady for all the times he's crushed the franchise's hopes was nice. It'll mean nothing if they can't back it up against the Ravens (5-2).

It's why wide receiver Mike Wallace opted to spend his Sunday night indoors rather than bask in one of the franchise's biggest regular season victories in years.

"I'm not going out," Wallace said afterward. "I'm going home right now and lock it. I'm ready for next week. I don't care about nothing else."

Neither do his teammates, though the Steelers could be without a couple of vital parts against the Ravens.

Linebacker LaMarr Woodley was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on the strained hamstring that cut his two-sack day short. Woodley sat out the fourth quarter but insisted he would be good to go on Sunday night.

"It was one of those sit now so I don't miss three or four week things," Woodley said.

The status of wide receiver Hines Ward (ankle) and linebacker James Farrior (back) is also unclear. Both sat out against the Patriots, as did linebacker James Harrison, who missed his fourth straight game while recovering from a fractured right orbital bone.

Harrison hinted he would return in time to play the Ravens, and the Steelers could use him if Farrior and Woodley can't go.

Then again, considering the way the patchwork defense has held its own so far, maybe the Steelers can get by without them.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Lawrence Timmons was the only normal starting linebacker on the field, and he was playing out of position at outside linebacker as Harrison's replacement.

Pittsburgh survived anyway. If reserve linebackers Larry Foote and Chris Carter weren't making plays, then young defensive linemen Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward and Steve McClendon were spelling veterans like Brett Keisel and still providing enough pressure to make the normally unflappable Brady antsy.

"Those kids have been playing amazing ball for us," Keisel said. "I can't say enough about Ziggy and Steve and Cameron coming in and playing winning football. We have a great tradition on the line and we expect those guys to step in and play ball and they've done that."

The defense that struggled stopping the Ravens on Sept. 11 is now ranked second in the league in yards allowed, right behind the Ravens.

It's where the Steelers expected to be all along. The biggest makeover in the last seven weeks has come on the other side of the ball.

The offensive that couldn't block the Ravens, couldn't hold onto the ball and mustered little fight while turning it over seven times suddenly looks as potent as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger promised weeks ago.

Roethlisberger lit up the Patriots for 365 yards passing and two touchdowns, completing 36 of 50 passes and helping the Steelers convert 10 of 16 third-downs. He hit nine different receivers and save for a second quarter interception rarely forced the ball into tight spaces.

"It definitely gives us momentum," wide receiver Antonio Brown said. "We need to continue to get better, continue to go to work on some plays we left out there. There are some things we could do better."

Three times the Steelers pushed inside the New England 20 only to settle for a Shaun Suisham field goal instead of a touchdown. Those kinds of opportunities cannot be missed against the Ravens and the Steelers know it.

"We've got to keep pressing," Wallace said.

The Steelers don't know how to do otherwise. They didn't panic after getting crushed in the opener. They just went back to work. It's what they do.

"We just want to keep flying under the radar," Clark said.

Can a team that beats New England and Baltimore in consecutive weeks do that?

"I hope so," he said.

http://www.timesunion.com/sports/articl ... z1cO9UERfh (http://www.timesunion.com/sports/article/Surging-Steelers-ready-for-payback-against-Ravens-2244891.php#ixzz1cO9UERfh)

hawaiiansteel
11-01-2011, 02:33 PM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/media/photo/2011-02/59343818.jpg


Remember Koch's two-point play? The Steelers will

By Matt Vensel
October 31, 2011


Remember Sam Koch's seemingly-unnecessary two-point conversion scored on a fake extra point in the 35-7 win over the Steelers in Week 1? You can be sure the Steelers do, and I'm guessing it will be a popular topic of discussion this week as the Ravens and Steelers gear up for Sunday night's rematch in Pittsburgh.

With the Ravens leading, 27-7, in the third quarter after an Ed Dickson touchdown catch, Koch, the Ravens' punter and holder on field goals, caught the snap from Morgan Cox and ran to his left into the end zone for two points. Koch said the Ravens were just trying to put up points and were not trying to send a message.

“You’ve got the Steelers and the Ravens, which is such a bitter rivalry year-in and year-out,” he said after the win. “Rubbing it in their faces is definitely not the answer because you never know what can happen.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked the day after the game to explain the decision to go for two.

“Sometimes you go with your head, sometimes you go with your heart,” Harbaugh said. “The second decision was probably going with my heart. I felt like we were going to get it. I felt like we could get it, and I thought we could really put the nail in the coffin. Twenty-five is better than 22. What would it have been then? Twenty-nine is better than 25. Sometimes a little more… How much is enough? Just a little bit more.”

But after the blowout, as the Steelers left Baltimore with their tails between their legs, salty Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said that being embarrassed by the Ravens like that “leaves a taste in your mouth."

“The two-point conversion. The passing at the end,” Ward said. “We'll remember everything."

Neither team needs bulletin-board material in this rivalry, but you can be sure Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will show Koch’s two-point play to his team at least once or twice during the week.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/balt ... 3799.story (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baltimore-sports-blog/bal-sportsblitz-ravens-steelers-sam-koch-two-point-conversion1031,0,3593799.story)

Steelers>NFL
11-01-2011, 03:07 PM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/media/photo/2011-02/59343818.jpg


Remember Koch's two-point play? The Steelers will

By Matt Vensel
October 31, 2011


Remember Sam Koch's seemingly-unnecessary two-point conversion scored on a fake extra point in the 35-7 win over the Steelers in Week 1? You can be sure the Steelers do, and I'm guessing it will be a popular topic of discussion this week as the Ravens and Steelers gear up for Sunday night's rematch in Pittsburgh.

With the Ravens leading, 27-7, in the third quarter after an Ed Dickson touchdown catch, Koch, the Ravens' punter and holder on field goals, caught the snap from Morgan Cox and ran to his left into the end zone for two points. Koch said the Ravens were just trying to put up points and were not trying to send a message.

“You’ve got the Steelers and the Ravens, which is such a bitter rivalry year-in and year-out,” he said after the win. “Rubbing it in their faces is definitely not the answer because you never know what can happen.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked the day after the game to explain the decision to go for two.

“Sometimes you go with your head, sometimes you go with your heart,” Harbaugh said. “The second decision was probably going with my heart. I felt like we were going to get it. I felt like we could get it, and I thought we could really put the nail in the coffin. Twenty-five is better than 22. What would it have been then? Twenty-nine is better than 25. Sometimes a little more… How much is enough? Just a little bit more.”

But after the blowout, as the Steelers left Baltimore with their tails between their legs, salty Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said that being embarrassed by the Ravens like that “leaves a taste in your mouth."

“The two-point conversion. The passing at the end,” Ward said. “We'll remember everything."

Neither team needs bulletin-board material in this rivalry, but you can be sure Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will show Koch’s two-point play to his team at least once or twice during the week.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/balt ... 3799.story (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baltimore-sports-blog/bal-sportsblitz-ravens-steelers-sam-koch-two-point-conversion1031,0,3593799.story)

Ratbirds did nothing wrong with passing at the end of the game. Or going for 2pts. Who cares. Steelers got their behind handed to them. That is what they should remember and use as motivation tool for payback to the Ratbirds.

BURGH86STEEL
11-01-2011, 08:07 PM
I don't see Flacco playing lights out this time. I see Ben playing much better. That should be enough to swing the game the Steelers way for a W.

papillon
11-02-2011, 07:16 AM
I don't see Flacco playing lights out this time. I see Ben playing much better. That should be enough to swing the game the Steelers way for a W.

Flacco is one of those quarterbacks that plays well as long as he isn't under duress or any perceived duress. Once he gets rabbit ears he is prone to mistakes by trying to get through his reads quicker. If he is allowed to settle in and get comfortable again it will be a long day.

Would the press coverage work again against the Ravens receivers? Boldin, Smith, Dickson and others? I know Boldin is a strong receiver, not sure that press is the way to go with him, but the others?

Pappy

StarSpangledSteeler
11-02-2011, 07:56 AM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/media/photo/2011-02/59343818.jpg


Remember Koch's two-point play? The Steelers will

By Matt Vensel
October 31, 2011


Remember Sam Koch's seemingly-unnecessary two-point conversion scored on a fake extra point in the 35-7 win over the Steelers in Week 1? You can be sure the Steelers do, and I'm guessing it will be a popular topic of discussion this week as the Ravens and Steelers gear up for Sunday night's rematch in Pittsburgh.

“The two-point conversion. The passing at the end,” Ward said. “We'll remember everything."



http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/balt ... 3799.story (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baltimore-sports-blog/bal-sportsblitz-ravens-steelers-sam-koch-two-point-conversion1031,0,3593799.story)

Ratbirds did nothing wrong with passing at the end of the game. Or going for 2pts. Who cares. Steelers got their behind handed to them. That is what they should remember and use as motivation tool for payback to the Ratbirds.

I respectfully disagree. There is nothing illegal or unethical about going for two. But in that particular situation they did it as an intentional slap in the face. That was the purpose. Harbaugh said it himself. He did it because "they could." It made no sense mentally/rationally/logically. He went with his "heart" which said "We've got them beat. Let's rub it in."

You're entitled to your opinion of course, but Hines Ward and I disagree with you.

hawaiiansteel
11-03-2011, 01:49 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/img/logo_triblive.gif

Hampton offers guarantee

by Scott Brown
November 2nd, 2011


We have a guarantee, pertaining to the Ravens-Steelers game, and it comes courtesy of Casey Hampton.

“If they beat us they’ve going to have to beat us,” the Steelers nose tackle said, “but it’s not going to be an out tempo thing where they’re playing faster and are more intense. I guarantee that.”

Such talk bodes well for the Steelers on several levels.

Assuming they are able to match the speed and intensity of the Ravens, the Steelers won’t be nearly as easy to run on as they were the first time the bitter AFC North rivals met. And if Ray Rice doesn’t gash them as he did on Sept. 11 -– the fourth-year veteran rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown -– it will put more pressure on Joe Flacco and the Ravens passing game.

Rice, it should be noted, has two of the three 100-yard rushing games that the Steelers have allowed in their last 58 regular-season games. He is also averaging 107.6 yards of total offense in the Ravens’ last five games against the Steelers.

Rice carried the ball 18 times last Sunday but just eight times two weeks ago in a stunning loss to Jacksonville.

“I expect us to see a lot more Ray Rice than anybody else has,” Hampton said. “We know what type of game it’s going to be. It’s usually a physical game and they’re going to try to make it physical.”

http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/201 ... guarantee/ (http://blog.triblive.com/steel-mill/2011/11/02/hampton-offers-guarantee/)

RuthlessBurgher
11-03-2011, 12:44 PM
It's the fifth straight year the Steelers have started 6-2.

How remarkable is this little nugget?

hawaiiansteel
11-03-2011, 02:43 PM
expect the Ravens to test our injury-depleted defense with lots of servings of Rice...


Running back Rice igniting Ravens' offense

By Ralph N. Paulk, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, November 3, 2011

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2011-11-02/1103RiceFrontAP-a.jpg

BALTIMORE — Ray Rice turned a deaf ear to ramblings about the Baltimore Ravens' dismantling of the Steelers on opening weekend of this NFL season.

The Ravens did more than take the befuddled Steelers to the woodshed in a 35-7 thumping. They embarrassed them by dominating offense, defense and special teams.

More importantly, Rice was the nucleus of an efficient offense in which the Ravens' sometimes-erratic quarterback, Joe Flacco, thrived. Rice churned out 107 yards, mostly between the tackles, to keep the Steelers' defense guessing.

With the Steelers keying on Rice, Flacco continuously delivered the ball to running backs and tight ends. It was a well-executed game plan that could have easily gone awry if not for Rice's determined effort.

Again, the Steelers are expected to focus primarily on derailing Rice, whose 489 yards leads the 19th-best run game in the NFL.

If not, the Ravens (5-2) figure they can sweep the Steelers (6-2) with a victory at Heinz Field in a nationally televised Sunday night game that could figure prominently in the playoff equation at season's end.

"They are going to do everything in their power to stop everything we've done," Rice said Thursday before practice. "They are similar to our defense in that they want to stop the run first.

"But not only did we run the ball in the first game, we passed it efficiently. They'll come into this game looking to prove something."

Rice had to prove something, too, in the teams' first meeting. He rushed for only 84 yards combined in the previous three games before running through a Steelers defense that yielded 170 yards on the ground.

The Steelers began the week wondering if three defensive starters — linebackers James Harrison (eye), James Farrior (calf) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) — will suit up against a Ravens team that had an uneven performance in erasing a 21-point deficit before barely surviving underdog Arizona, 30-27, last Sunday.

The Ravens, however, are hardly sympathetic.

"Everyone is saying who is going to be in and who is going to be out," Rice said. "I'm not worrying about that because Coach (Mike) Tomlin does a good job of having the next man ready."

"I don't think it changes anything," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "If they're not in there, they'll put other guys in there. They'll be playing the same positions; they'll just have different numbers."

Young linebackers Stevenson Sylvester and Chris Carter held up in a 25-17 win over New England. But the Steelers' experienced linebackers were surprisingly exploited against the Ravens, particularly in pass coverage as they surrendered 13 of Flacco's 17 completions to running backs and tight ends — including 11— and 18-yard scoring passes to Rice and tight end Ed Dickson.

"Those guys (Sylvester and Carter) will be fired up," Rice said. "What a great situation for them to make a name for themselves against the Ravens.

"We don't want to be a one-dimensional team. We showed our ability to play out of the gun (against Arizona). In the week before against Jacksonville, we had a tough time executing. But the last two quarters we got the kind of balance we'll need to beat Pittsburgh."

Rice conceded it'll take more than a well-executed game plan for the Ravens to snap the Steelers' four-game win streak.

"It's not one of those games that you can depend solely on your game plan," Rice said. "It's about which team executes the best."

It's about the rivalry, too.

It's about playoff contenders trying to flex their muscles and gain a psychological advantage, considering it's conceivable they could rendezvous in the postseason for the third time in four seasons.

"We dislike them because every year, in order to get where we want to go, there's always Pittsburgh," Rice said, with linebacker Terrell Suggs nodding in agreement. "Every year, our road to success has to go through Pittsburgh — no matter how you slice it.

"Everybody is expecting this to be a cold, hard-hitting game. We can't go into this game and try to trick them."

The Ravens aren't likely to deviate from a game plan they executed almost flawlessly in Week 1. For the Steelers, stopping Rice will be the key to vengeance - no matter what.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1cf5CQbr4 (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_765270.html#ixzz1cf5CQbr4)

NorthCoast
11-03-2011, 04:39 PM
Another way to take Rice out of the game (and maybe easier to execute) is to get a two-touchdown lead and have Flacco play from behind. He has shown he can do this, but the opponents' defense lost their composure and had no answer for Boldin. Double Boldin and man everywhere else.
Ben will need to play a similar game to NE and get rid of the ball on time and quickly. I hope the Oline has an answer for Suggs. Not sure I know what that is.

Sugar
11-03-2011, 06:06 PM
The Ravens seemed to wake up from their recent malaise in the second half of last weeks game and I don't think it bodes well for our injury depleted D. As I see it, we have a hard time with them even when we're mostly healthy. If we go life and death with them and when Harrison, Woodley and Farrior all playing, what happens when they don't?

With the momentum we've gained, I would have picked the Steelers to win at home with so much on the line. However, with our LB corps beat to hell I think the spirit will be willing but the flesh will be too weak.

Oviedo
11-03-2011, 06:19 PM
This game comes at a bad time for us. When you are missing 3 or 4 starters from your most important defensive unit that does not bode well for us. IMO our only chance is to have the offense control the game like they did last week. It will be much tougher because Ravens defense is much better than Pats.

hawaiiansteel
11-03-2011, 08:43 PM
Harbaugh: Steelers-Ravens rivalry takes you to “dark place”

Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on November 3, 2011

http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/steelers-vs-ravens.jpg?w=250

There’s just something different about Ravens-Steelers.

I’ve called it the best rivalry in the NFL more than once because the games between the two AFC North rivals are always intense, memorable, and meaningful.

In a conversation with NFL.com’s Albert Breer, Ravens coach John Harbaugh puts the matchup in perspective.

“It’s almost surreal,” Harbaugh said. “All of a sudden, everything’s different. You go into this dark place. It’s like you’re in this globe, in a good way, and suddenly there’s nothing outside of that moment, outside of that stadium.

“It’s unique to these games, and yet, both teams are so comfortable in that place. It’s where we’re supposed to be. It’s where they’re supposed to be. It’s hard to describe.”

That did the trick pretty well.

Part of football’s appeal: It can sometimes be played in a dark place. The Ravens and Steelers matchup embody the game’s mix of hitting, toughness, and competitive play at the highest level. It’s a blast to watch.

Week One’s matchup didn’t live up the rivalry’s usual high standards. This one means more.

Something tells me Sunday night will be different.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... ark-place/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/11/03/harbaugh-steelers-ravens-rivalry-takes-you-to-dark-place/)

RuthlessBurgher
11-05-2011, 12:20 PM
This game comes at a bad time for us. When you are missing 3 or 4 starters from your most important defensive unit that does not bode well for us. IMO our only chance is to have the offense control the game like they did last week. It will be much tougher because Ravens defense is much better than Pats.

Early in the week, when it looks like we'd have to start Timmons-Foote-Sylvester-Carter (or possibly even Keisel at strong-side OLB), it wasn't looking good.

Harrison being back is huge. Moves Timmons back inside, where he is much, much better. And Worilds looks good to go as well (his physique seems much more likely to stand up against the run while playing over the TE than the pencil-thin Carter). Plus, add to the fact that Foote seems to have channeled his inner Farrior of late, and our current probable starting lineup at LB, Harrison-Foote-Timmons-Worilds, looks much better.

hawaiiansteel
11-05-2011, 07:52 PM
Ravens respect archrival Steelers

Associated Press
November 4, 2011


OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There once was a time when the Ravens-Steelers rivalry was fueled by hate.

The operative word now is respect.

Remember when Shannon Sharpe referred to Plaxico Burress as Plexiglas? Or when Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward insisted the Ravens put out a bounty on him? How about the time when Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs claimed that Ward was "a dirty player, a cheap-shot artist?"

“Hate is a strong word. We don't like them, but we definitely respect them. Even enemies can show respect. But on Sunday it's business. It's my city versus theirs, my team versus theirs. We're planning on bringing (a victory) home.” -- Terrell Suggs

As the Ravens prepare for Sunday night's showdown in Pittsburgh, they've got nothing cruel to say about the Steelers. Quite the contrary, in fact.

"Hate is a strong word. We don't like them, but we definitely respect them," Suggs said Wednesday. "Even enemies can show respect. But on Sunday it's business. It's my city versus theirs, my team versus theirs. We're planning on bringing (a victory) home."

Both teams play tight defense, don't make a lot of mistakes and usually end up in the playoffs. It would be a lot easier to coexist if they were in a different division, but they both reside in the AFC North.

Sunday's game is for first place, and for Pittsburgh, it's about gaining a measure of revenge for a 35-7 thrashing in the season opener.

It's as important as it gets during the regular season, but as far as the Ravens are concerned, trashing the Steelers beforehand does not serve any purpose.

"It doesn't really matter because the game is going to be won on the field and not in the newspaper," Suggs said. "So it doesn't matter what either one of us says. It's about what we go out there and do."

Ravens cornerback Chris Carr called trash-taking "obsolete."

"It's Pittsburgh Week. They're going to be up for it, we're going to be up for it," Carr said. "So there's really nothing to say. Plus, that's not really our team's mentality. We don't really try to get people hyped up."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh puts no limitations on what his players say during the week and has no fear what might end up on the Pittsburgh bulletin board.

"That doesn't matter," Harbaugh said. "You can't motivate them any more; they can't motivate us any more. You've got two mature football teams. They've been in this game before. That stuff is way over-evaluated. It doesn't mean much."

The players agree.

"Coach Harbaugh treats us like men," guard Marshal Yanda said. "We can say whatever we want to say, but we don't because of the respect factor.

"They're our rivals. We want to beat them and they want to beat us," Yanda said. "But you definitely respect those guys over there because they're a lot like us in a lot of ways as far as tough defense, tough guys, physical guys, guys that get after it. We're a lot alike. Once in a while you'll get a guy that wants to get that trash-talk aspect going, but really, the game is hyped up enough so nothing needs to be said."

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis laughed when reminded of Sharpe's comment about Burress.

"You always have to wonder where those comments come from," Lewis said. "It don't matter who says what, it don't matter how they say it. The whistle has to be blown Sunday night, and they know what we bring and we know what they bring, so here we go with another rival."

That's not to say the teams will shake hands before the kickoff and wish each other the best of luck.

"There's a lot of hostility between the two teams, but we do respect the way they play," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "When we get on the field we're going to be talking pretty good, but going into a game it doesn't motivate you any more. I'm not going to try to talk myself into playing better."

Someone told Suggs on Wednesday that the Steelers, perhaps in a show of mutual respect, said they feared what Suggs might do Sunday after sacking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times in that 35-7 rout in September.

"I don't think they fear me at all," he said. "I wasn't the first guy to have three sacks and I won't be the last. It's all part of their little game. 'Oh, we fear Suggs.' Those dudes don't fear anybody, just like we don't."

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/71848 ... spect-them (http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7184831/baltimore-ravens-pittsburgh-steelers-respect-them)

Pahn711
11-05-2011, 08:08 PM
Ratbirds did nothing wrong with passing at the end of the game. Or going for 2pts. Who cares. Steelers got their behind handed to them. That is what they should remember and use as motivation tool for payback to the Ratbirds.

I respectfully disagree. There is nothing illegal or unethical about going for two. But in that particular situation they did it as an intentional slap in the face. That was the purpose. Harbaugh said it himself. He did it because "they could." It made no sense mentally/rationally/logically. He went with his "heart" which said "We've got them beat. Let's rub it in."

You're entitled to your opinion of course, but Hines Ward and I disagree with you.

:Agree As Coach Harbaugh's younger brother Jim proved, the Harbaugh's lack class in victory. The two point conversion is a rare sight for a reason, it is used only when down or up by a certain number of points. Since they were winning handily, you can't possibly argue it was anything more than spite. They will get what is coming to them.

hawaiiansteel
11-05-2011, 11:33 PM
Ravens have changed since last we met

Literally and figuratively, Pittsburgh and Baltimore headed in different directions

Saturday, November 05, 2011
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A blessed few hours remain before the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are called to disorder at Heinz Field, which means the mandatory hype-a-palooza is over save for a few dozen multiple-hour pregame shows that literally cannot emphasize enough that these are a couple of teams that don't like each other.

I get it.

I've seen it.

And while I appreciate Steelers-Ravens for its intensity (if not always its borderline pathological violence), it's not as if every other NFL game is a mere tete-a-tete between two teams of one heart who love each other very, very much.

Besides which, we've spent the whole week flogging the wrong cliche. As the two acidic rivals meet still again to direct the playoff traffic in the AFC North, the working dynamic is not their mutual contempt. Regrettably, it's the far more mundane two-teams-going-in-opposite-directions deal.

I hate to invoke this one because it enlivens an obvious if unrelated truth about the very nature of the sport. All football games are between two teams going in opposite directions, one toward one goal, the other toward the other. Hockey and basketball have the same arrangement, two teams going in opposite directions, with the exception being baseball, which is two teams going in the same direction, but at different times.

Nevertheless, the more relevant reality is that the Steelers are peaking while Baltimore is squeaking like some ratty chew toy discarded by a pack of diffident Jaguars and very nearly soiled by some low-flying Cardinals.

Nine weeks after flogging the Steelers 35-7 on Kickoff Weekend, the Ravens swoop into Pittsburgh looking more susceptible to a total reversal of those numbers than capable of Flogging II, even if that's just because quarterback Joe Flacco has spent this year's post-Sept. 11 period burrowing toward the bottom of the NFL's quarterback rankings.

He was 27th out of 32 as of Tuesday, but that doesn't count any interceptions he threw in practice this week. While Flacco has been throwing exactly one touchdown pass since Sept. 25, Ben Roethlisberger has been winning four in a row, beating unbeatable Tom Brady, and turning up in official league literature as the AFC This of the Week or the AFC That of the Month.

But the trends aren't purely a quarterbacking function as much as a commingling of everything that goes into the urgency of third down, which is where the Steelers and Ravens have really begun to separate. The Steelers converted a staggering 10 third-down situations on 16 attempts last week against New England and there was nothing terribly unusual, for them, about a 62.5 percent third-down efficiency figure. In their past four games, that figure is 55 percent and the season's total number is 51 percent.

"It's a credit to them," Roethlisberger was saying of his highly accomplished young wideouts this week. "It's not like their success has gone to their heads. They've continued to work really hard, and they knew it was going to be a lot of hard work to play the way we did against the Patriots."

That dynamic is altered for tonight, with second-year man Emmanuel Sanders having spent the week in Texas due to the death of his mother. Sanders isn't expected to play, but Hines Ward is, much to the delight of Ravens mouthpiece Terrell Suggs.

Suggs wondered aloud about Ward's availability, but his trademark confrontational rhetoric turned inward this week when he wondered about the availability of his own team's offense after a month of pratfalls. There again, look at third down. Baltimore has not converted 50 percent of 'em in any game this year and comes into this showdown just 15 for its past 53 (28 percent).

In the matter of both offenses, there have been both mitigating and aggravating circumstances for this third-down divergence. The Steelers, for example, went 10 for 16 last week all right, but that was against a New England defense that has made 300-yard passers out of six of the first seven quarterbacks it has encountered, including the 416-yard machine known as Chad Henne. Typical third down efficiency clearly isn't guaranteed against Baltimore, which has allowed only seven offensive touchdowns in its seven games. Similarly, even though the Steelers are yet to allow either a 100-plus yard receiving performance or a 300-plus yard passer, Baltimore's ground game might present Flacco with more manageable third downs, as it did in the opener, and that was with James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior all there in the flesh.

All of that is still an analysis of a matchup in the abstract, but Steelers-Ravens always seems to redirect right there in the flesh. When midnight comes, two things will be static: They won't like each other, and they'll either be heading in opposite directions still, or in the directions opposite the ones from which they came. I think.

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