Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens
Troy Polamalu comes up with big play after big play. Sundays AFC Championship game against the hated division rivals, Baltimore Ravens was no different.
Polamalu finished the day with 5 tackles, 4 solos, and of course the game clinching 40-yard interception for a touchdown with only 4 minutes to play.
However, it seemed that Troy made more plays than what the above statistics show. Polamalu had one of his best games of the season and showed no signs of his calf strain injury that kept him sidelined for most of this past week's practices. He was simply all over the field.
Three plays really displayed why he's one of the best safeties in the league:
1) His display of closing speed when Ravens, rookie QB, Joe Flacco rolled out to his left. Polamalu closed in an instant to register a sack and a Ravens 10 yard loss on the play. Polamalu displayed why his closing speed, athleticism, and tackling ability is much talked about by NFL analysts.
2) Polamalu's play on 4th and short. With his 40+ inch vertical leap, Polamalu leaped over the offensive line of the Baltimore Ravens to grab Flacco and prevent him from picking up a short yardage first down. A critical play for the Steelers and Polamalu showed unbelievable athleticism.
3) His interception return for a touchdown that "sealed the deal" for the Steelers. Flacco completely didn't see Troy Polamalu breaking on the ball from the opposite direction. Troy read the rookie QB's eyes and made a great jump on the ball and an even nicer catch. Then, of course the rest is history. Polamalu made a few guys miss and returned the interception for a 40-yard touchdown which sealed the victory for the Steelers with just under 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.
If Polamalu can have a similar game in the Super Bowl, he can possily "seal the deal" on his future Hall of Fame bid for the National Football League.
Dress warmly Steeler fans. The current temperature in Pittsburgh is 25 degrees with a wind chill of 15 degrees. Expect the temperature to drop significantly as game-time approaches. As displayed earlier today on ESPN, there is a good bit of snow at Heinz Field. It appears that the field will be cleared of all snow by game time but expect snow flurries (per weather.com) later this evening in the mass of 1-3 inches.
The National Weather Service has issue a winter weather advisory for the Pittsburgh area. For details, click here.
Expect Heinz Field to be a bit sloppy with these weather conditions and the wetness of its natural grass turf.
Who does this favor? Well, its difficult to say. I think the bad weather and field conditions will favor the Baltimore Ravens defense both against stopping the run and offensively, running the football. Fast Willie Parker has struggled with cut-back ability at Heinz Field when conditions are bad. In contrast, the Ravens have more success playing power football with the run game with north-south runners Ray Rice, and LeRon McClain at tailback.
However, if the Steelers can stop the running game of the Ravens, I feel this will put tremendous pressure on rookie quarterback, Joe Flacco. This will allow a Steelers attacking defense to blitz the inexperienced QB.
While the bad weather may be a negative for the Steelers running attack, the passing game shouldn't struggle too much. The Ravens secondary is beat up and if given the time to throw the ball, Ben Roethlisberger should be successful. The wide receivers know their routes which give them the slight advantage while the defense could "slip up" (literally) on the grass at Heinz Field. Let's hope the offense play calling by Bruce Arians can take advantage of these situations.
The Steelers offense needs to be at the top of their game today versus the Ravens. The key to the Steelers is easy. They need to convert on critical third downs and do not, under any circumstances, turn the ball over. If the Steelers don't turn the ball over, I believe they win this game. The Titans should have won last week against the Ravens, but turnovers was the deciding factor.
I expect the Steelers to open up the game in a spread offense. The Steelers should spread the Baltimore Ravens defense out with 4 and 5 wide receivers. The Ravens secondary is a bit beat up with Rolle out so this could result in Nate Washington having a big game. This will neutralize the Ravens' heavy blitzing and make a tough defense respect the Steelers passing game. The Steelers offense should not play conservative and tight. This will play right into the Ravens defensive plans which will make this game a much closer game than what it could be. Heath Miller and Mewelde Moore should pose significant receiving threats to the Ravens. Also, the offensive line will be a huge matchup against the Ravens imposing defensive front. The Steelers offensive line played their best game against the San Diego Chargers a week ago, but the Ravens are a much better and more aggressive defense. If Hartwig, Colon, Starks and company can keep Big Ben clean then the Steelers should be successful at Heinz Field today.
The #1 Steelers defense must play opportunistic football today at Heinz Field. The Steelers are relatively healthy today and will pose a huge challenge to the Baltimore's rookie QB, Joe Flacco. Dick Lebeau will try to confuse Flacco will different defensive looks. Per ESPN, the Steelers defense are going into this game with over 100 defensive plays at their disposal. The Steelers defense must shut down the Ravens running attack early and often. This will put the game on Joe "cool" shoulders which is exactly what the Steelers want. If McClain and Ray Rice have success running the football, the Steelers could be in for a long frustrating day.
Expect Troy Polamalu to be all over the field again today. Troy will start things off supporting the run defense as being an 'extra' in the box. Then, he'll drop back into a zone on obvious passing downs. Also, it is absolutely critical that LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison can get to Flacco today. Last game, the Steelers had trouble getting to the quarterback without sending more defenders than what the Ravens could block. This could expose our secondary and Flacco has the offensive line and the strong arm to make the Steelers defense pay for their mistakes. It is very important that the Steelers pass rush is at their best today. This will make Flacco make quick and possible poor decisions which could result in turnovers. Turnovers which will hopefully result in points in favor of the Steelers.
Turnovers is the name of today's game. If the Steelers o-line can protect Big Ben and give Willie Parker some room to run then I expect the Steelers to be victorious. If not, the Steelers could be in for a long and disappointing afternoon. The same goes for the Ravens, if the Steelers can stop the run, and get to Flacco early and often then the Steelers will have an excellent chance of winning today's game. I am going to be optimistic in this prediction but I feel the Steelers win: 27-17.
Offensive Player Of The Game: Hines Ward
Defensive Player Of The Game: LaMarr Woodley
Pittsburgh Steelers mania has started in the the 'Burgh this week with the Ravens coming to down for the AFC Championship showdown.
Leading up to the big game there has been several things which is adding extra fuel to the fire for tomorrows smash mouth game including:
1) Injury reports of Rolle, Suggs, Polamalu, and Hartwig
2) Trash talking can be found everywhere including between players, fans, bloggers, and and team forums
3) Steelers Rally
4) The major of Pittsburgh temporarily changing his name in order to remove the 'Raven' reference
And to get the fans fired up for tomorrows game, check out some of these popular items posted on the Planet Steelers forum.
Here we Go Steelers, Let's RUN OVER those Rat Birds:
Is it just me or is there an aweful lot of Baltimore Ravens fans and players yapping. It all started a couple of weeks ago when a big mouth Baltimore blogger makes unnecessary comments about the terrible towel. If you haven't heard about it, please check out the Planet Steelers forum where it has been discussed numerous times.
There is several other instances of trash talk going on. How about the comments about the Primani Brothers sandwiches as reported by KDKA. Then, theres Derrick Mason plastered on the television talking trash. Oh, and how about cry baby Ray Lewis still whining about the Santonio Holmes touchdown. As indicated, all Ray Ray wanted is for "4th down". Hey Ray, what makes you so confident that you would have stopped us on 4th down anyway?
In conclusion, Is this what the Raven's fans, bloggers, etc have to resort to? I know Baltimore doesn't have any tradition but that doesn't give them the right to bash Pittsburgh trademarks. Actually, I take that back, the Ravens tradition is that they are, and will always be the Cleveland Browns. Thats right Baltimore, your still the same loser Browns team. You just moved from one subpar city, to another.
All in all, this game is shaping up to be one for the ages. What else could you expect out of Ravens vs. Steelers, Round 3.