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hawaiiansteel
11-06-2011, 02:53 PM
Starkey: Oh, Those Arrogant Ravens

November 6, 2011

http://photos.triblive.com/photos/PITT/1319869/37670884E.jpg

The Baltimore Ravens remind me of another absurdly arrogant Beltway team — the Washington Capitals.

Both behave as if they have won something of signficance when everybody knows they haven’t.

Not unless you go back 11 years, anyway, and the only player left from the Ravens’ 2000 Super Bowl team is Ray Lewis.

Check that. I’m sorry. The Ravens did win a Super Bowl recently. You probably saw the footage. Their coach giddily flapped his arms during the final minutes of the blowout win. Players laughed and danced on the sidelines.

I would have sworn the Ravens popped champagne and threw a ticker-tape parade, too, until I remembered one key detail: The game took place in early September.

It was the first game of the season.

Even now, eight weeks after their 35-7 victory over the Steelers, the Ravens obviously need a reminder that seasons aren’t made before Thanksgiving.

Check out this quote from running back Ray Rice, as his team prepped for a visit to Heinz Field: “If we win, we’ve swept them. We don’t have to worry about Pittsburgh no more the rest of the year.”

Really? Somebody should tell Rice that even with a win, the teams would be separated by a single loss with two months left in the regular season, to say nothing of a possible third meeting in the playoffs.

The biggest games are yet to be played, but it would be silly to minimize the importance of this one. Especially for Baltimore.

Forget about their sour playoff endings, this is the victory the Ravens have been unable to secure under John Harbaugh– the critical regular season win that could help earn them a bye and some home playoff dates.

Though the Ravens tout their 4-3 road playoff record under Harbaugh, it’s more of a blemish than a badge. That many road games prove they haven’t taken care of business in the regular season.

Three factors traditionally ruin the Ravens:

1. The Steelers.

2. A self-destructive offense.

3. A lack of humility.

Taking the last issue first, you might remember some Ravens players laughing and waving to the Heinz Field crowd as they ran off with a 21-7 halftime lead in last year’s playoffs.

Or you could simply refer to the season-opener. Have you ever seen the Steelers celebrate a regular-season win — let alone one in September — like that?

The Steelers were mum on the subject this week, but they are often mum on such topics until after the fact.

Last year’s AFC Championship, when Mike Tomlin played nice all week with Rex Ryan, who said the game “wasn’t personal” to him, as opposed to the previous week’s game against the Patriots.

Well, there was Tomlin afterward, greeting his players outside the locker room and shouting, “Maybe next time it’ll be personal!”

You know he pounded the disrespect angle that week.

All you need to know this week is what Hines Ward said after the loss in Baltimore: “We’ll remember everything.”

Not that there was much love between these teams, anyway. Steelers tackle Max Starks is no fan of Baltimore’s boastful style.

“It’s just a different type of demeanor down there in Baltimore, amongst their players,” Starks said. “They have their way of doing things. Fine. But I don’t condone it.”

As for the Ravens’ offense, well, some things don’t change — even if Baltimore did break out a no-huddle attack to beat woeful Arizona.

I asked linebacker Terrell Suggs on Wednesday the same question I asked him before last year’s playoff game: Why should anyone believe the Ravens’ offense will finally rise to a critical occasion?

“That’s a good question,” Suggs said. “Why should anybody believe it’s going to be different, until we show it?”

I’ll believe it when I see it. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was alleged to have shed his Steelers demons last season, when he finally won at Heinz Field. Four months later, he disintegrated on the very same patch of grass.

After the season-opener, it was “Flacco finally beat Big Ben and got the monkey off his back.”

Not exactly.

I mean, until he finds a way NOT to kill his team when it matters most, Flacco will have done nothing more than shoo a baby orangutan off his back. The gorilla’s still there.

Nobody should be shocked if the Ravens offense implodes again, in a game that should go a long way toward deciding the AFC North. The Steelers, remember, still have their secret weapon: Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

On the other hand, it is entirely possible the Ravens exploit a wounded Steelers defense and win the game.

And then carry Harbaugh off the field.

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/11/ ... nt-ravens/ (http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/11/06/starkey-oh-those-arrogant-ravens/)

Steel Life
11-07-2011, 01:10 AM
And as predicted...the Ravens gave Harbaugh a Gatorade bath after the win, just proving that this means more to them than anything else.

I've said it before & I'll say it again - I would gladly exchange two losses to the Ravens for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Kudos to them...now we'll get our break & some players back - & then the season really starts.

feltdizz
11-07-2011, 01:15 AM
And as predicted...the Ravens gave Harbaugh a Gatorade bath after the win, just proving that this means more to them than anything else.

I've said it before & I'll say it again - I would gladly exchange two losses to the Ravens for a trip to the Super Bowl.

Kudos to them...now we'll get our break & some players back - & then the season really starts.
Break? We have a 6-2 Bungle team next week

focosteeler
11-07-2011, 01:28 AM
i just hope that if we meet them in the playoffs we crush them the way they did us in week 1

hawaiiansteel
11-07-2011, 02:52 AM
Joe Flacco drives Ravens to series sweep of Steelers with last-second TD

Associated Press


PITTSBURGH -- Torrey Smith's night began with a penalty that wiped out a long Baltimore touchdown.

It ended with a catch that gave the Ravens a season sweep of Pittsburgh.

Joe Flacco struggled in his first five trips to Pittsburgh, coming up with just one win and a lot of bad memories. But Sunday was a different story for Flacco and the Ravens.

Five plays after a sure scoring strike tipped off his fingers, the Baltimore rookie receiver held onto a 26-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with 8 seconds remaining to lift the Ravens past the Steelers 23-20 on Sunday.

"For him to keep coming back to me, that meant a lot," Smith said.

Smith was flagged for holding on the game's first play, negating Ray Rice's 76-yard touchdown run. But he capped Baltimore's game-winning 92-yard drive by beating William Gay down the right sideline as the Ravens (6-2) snapped Pittsburgh's four-game winning streak.

Flacco finished with 300 yards passing and Baltimore swept the season series from the rival Steelers (6-3) for the first time since 2006.

"This Steelers-Ravens game is a game for men," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "This is a game for big men. You've got to shine bright in this game if you want to win this game. And nobody shined brighter than Joe Flacco in this game."

The Steelers appeared to be in control after rallying from a 10-point deficit to take a 20-16 lead with less than 5 minutes to go when Ben Roethlisberger hit Mike Wallace for a 25-yard score.

Pittsburgh's defense held once and the Steelers moved in range for Shaun Suisham to attempt a 47-yard field goal that could have bumped their lead to seven.

A delay of game penalty, however, pushed Pittsburgh back five yards and the Steelers opted to punt.

"I accept responsibility for that," coach Mike Tomlin said. "There was some hesitation on my part."

Flacco, who fumbled midway through the fourth quarter to set up Roethlisberger's strike to Wallace, atoned during a brilliant 13-play drive.

He converted a fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 49 with less than a minute to go to keep Baltimore's hopes alive, and Smith made up for a drop with the biggest play of his young career.

The Steelers got the ball back with 8 seconds left but Antonio Brown fumbled a lateral from Wallace and the Ravens poured onto the Heinz Field turf in celebration.

How excited were the Ravens? Harbaugh received a cut on his chin after being dropped by Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome.

It's hard to blame the Ravens for their giddiness, particularly after two of their last three seasons ended on the same field.

"We swept them, but don't be fooled -- we'll see them again in January," Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "This is the only team in the world that can play like we play and match us blow for blow."

With one dramatic drive, Baltimore ended Pittsburgh's surge and moved into a tie with Cincinnati atop the AFC North.

Who Gon' Stop Me?

Third-down efficiency was one of the keys to Baltimore's win Sunday night. The Ravens shredded the Steelers on the crucial down, gaining big yardage all the while.

Flacco, who had come under fire from his teammates for inconsistent play, completed 28 of 47 passes and kept his head late after spending much of the second half trying to avoid Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison.

The All-Pro sacked Flacco three times in his first game back after missing a month with a fractured orbital bone around his right eye, but Pittsburgh's pass rush disappeared on Baltimore's final drive. Given time to work, Flacco picked apart the NFL's top-ranked pass defense.

Gay couldn't stop Flacco from hitting Anquan Boldin on the crucial fourth down and then couldn't stay in front of Smith on the game-winning play.

"That was, on my part, the worst drive ever," Gay said.

And perhaps the finest moment of Flacco's career.

"You don't really have anything to lose," Flacco said. "You either score or you don't score. ... You take a couple of shots at the end zone and see what comes of it."

The Steelers trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter but roared back behind Roethlisberger. Rashard Mendenhall scored from 1 yard out to pull Pittsburgh within 16-13 and Harrison swatted the ball out of Flacco's hand on Baltimore's next possession.

Gay recovered and Roethlisberger put the Steelers in front when he rolled right to avoid pressure and threw in the direction of Brown. Wallace streaked in front of his teammate for the score and Pittsburgh appeared to be on its way to avenging a 28-point loss to the Ravens in the season opener.

Roethlisberger finished with 330 yards passing to become the first Pittsburgh quarterback to top 300 in three consecutive games, but the Steelers' defense couldn't contain Flacco at the end.

Suggs picked off Roethlisberger's pass in the third quarter to preserve a 9-6 Baltimore lead. A dozen plays later, Rice darted in from 4 yards out to put the Ravens up 16-6.

The NFL's top-ranked defense couldn't make it hold up, though for once Flacco bailed the defense out in a relationship that's often been vice versa.

"In my eyes, to be totally honest with you, they're the defending AFC champs, so they're still the team to beat," Suggs said of the Steelers. "But if we're playing football throughout, we'll see them again in January. But they've got to come to our house."

Game notes

Steelers WR Hines Ward left in the second quarter with concussion-like symptoms after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Baltimore LB Ray Lewis. Tomlin called the injury "minor." ... Pittsburgh punter Jeremy Kapinos averaged 33.3 yards on three kicks a day after being signed to replace injured Dan Sepulveda, who is out for the season with a knee injury. ... Rice, who ran for more than 100 yards against the Steelers in the opener, was held to 43 yards on 18 carries. ... Smith finished with five receptions for 71 yards.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=311106023