So the road to XLV just got 1 city closer. The Pittsburgh Steelers roared back from a 21-7 self-gouged wound against rivals the Baltimore Ravens to fry the birds once again, 31-24. Hand me the red hot cause I need to marinate this a bit! Whooo it feels good!
The Steelers, as Mike Tomlin said "Played Steeler Football" with players like Ryan Clark and rookie 6th rounder Antonio Brown collecting the game balls this week.. Big moments need big players and Clark can lay claim to forcing 2 huge turnovers. Baltimore could not overcome Clark's contributions to the Steelers offense allowing Steelers TDs off both turnovers. Clark joined a team of battlers who gave Joe Flacco and the Ravens a second half they wish they could soon forget. Flacco's 3rd Quarter flashback: Rice fumble. Ball on Balt 23. Just two plays later Heath Miller TD. 21-14. Ravens next possession 1st Down-- BAAAAAD forced throw to Heap is snagged by Clark. Steelers ball 25. Four plays later, the most hated man in Baltimore, Hines Ward and his big ass fur coat & sweaterneck bald-self evens it up and gets the home crowd roaring, tied up 21-21! The TD was helped by Ray Ray & company having troubles with a nice called screen to Mendenhall for 13 yards. (Joe- don't feel so bad. The Ravens D got beat by Big Ben again...no matter what kind of "dream" goggles Ray Lewis had on during his post-game tirade directed the offense).
The crowd got in on the action next causing Bumble Paws Flacco to fumble the snap. It was gobbled up by the Red Yeti, Brett Keisel, and the Steelers go on top by a FG, 24-21. Keisel and the defensive line tore up the once-respectable Ravens offensive line. Hood Graduated at Heinz Field Saturday. He harrassed Flacco collecting his 4 game consecutive sack and pulled in 4 tackles and 1assist while the Big Snack Casey Hampton manhandled the middle. He dominated stopping the entire running back arsenal. Even mini me, Ray Rice. The rest of the crew just tightened the Raven's coffin. You can't say enough about the performance of James Harrison. He played brilliantly never letting Flacco to get set in the pocket. He recorded 3 sacks and 7 tackles. Terrell who?
Speaking of media disrespect, it was the arms (& legs at times) of Big Ben Roethlisberger not the great arm of Flacco grabbing all the headlines. Just when all the overtime seakers got all geeked up, he hurled a 58-yard completion to the heady Antonio Brown on 3rd and 19 just before the 2 minute mark. Mendenhall takes it home and the Steelers win at home 31-24. Brown and rookie Emmanuel Sanders had some clutch moments throughout the game. They led the way in receiving yards showing everyone you need more than 3 decent corners to cover this offense.
It wasn't all pretty. Outside of the poor first half turnovers by Ben & Mendenhall, special teams racked up more laundry than a night at Kate + 8, netting 4 of the 9 Steeler penalties. However, they had a "freebie" owed to them from the opening kickoff. The Canadian Rockstar, Shawn Squeezy Sushiam's solid tackle of Ladairus Webb on the opening kick was quite possibly one of the top 5 tackles of the year. He also missed his first FG attempt but nailed the game changer...he never seems rattled, that Canadian.
Can't say enough about this team. Big Moments have Big Players. Good Night Baltimore!