The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens have had many close, hard-fought battles over the years, but November 5th, 2007, wasn't one of them. It was a lopsided affair, but if you were a Steelers fan in need of a good laugh, it was a wonderful night as the Steelers played around with the Ravens the entire game on the way to a very comical 38-7 victory at Heinz Field in-front of a nationally televised audience on Monday Night Football.
The 2007 season was the 75th anniversary for the Pittsburgh Steelers and it was on this night that the organization honored their All-Time team by bringing back former greats like Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Rod Woodson to join in on the festivities.
The Steelers wore their throwback uniforms on this night and even the honored legends donned the old-time jerseys. Woodson wore a Steelers jersey for the occasion even though he won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2000. Super Bowl or not, Hot Rod knew being a Steeler was much cooler.
At the start of the game, there was a heavy downpour, complete with thunder and lightning. A thunderstorm in November on a Monday night for a Steelers/Ravens football game? Now that's funny stuff.
Midway through the first quarter, James Harrison really got the hilarity underway when he forced quarterback Steve Mcnair to fumble with what was described by the Monday Night announcers as a perfect form-tackle as Harrison used his helmet to knock the ball out as he tackled Mcnair. That was funny because in 2011 Harrison would probably be fined $15,000 for a helmet-to-ball hit.
Harrison recovered the fumble, and soon after, Roethlisberger alluded a sack by Ravens' defensive lineman Trevor Pryce, rolled to his left and hit Heath Miller for a 17-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0, Pittsburgh.
The Monday Night announcers--Mike Tirico and company--tried to say that Pryce's broken wrist was the reason he was unable to bring Roethislberger down. That was hilarious. Like two healthy wrists would be enough to tackle Big Ben. Pryce could have had three arms and it wouldn't have helped. He's a funny guy, that Mike Tirico.
Later in the first quarter, the Steelers had to punt, but there were off-setting penalties on the play, and Sepulveda was forced to kick again. For the second punt, the great Ed Reed replaced Yamon Figurs as the return man. He probably thought he would score a touchdown or something because he's so damn special. But James Harrison would have none of it and nailed Ed Reed with another one of those illegal perfect form-tackles, once again using his helmet to dislodge the football, and Lawrence Timmons recovered the fumble out of the air at the Baltimore 30 yard line.
A few plays later, Roethlisberger momentarily froze Ed Reed and hit Santonio Holmes for a perfect 15-yard touchdown pass to put Pittsburgh ahead, 14-0. I thought that was hilarious because everyone knows it's taboo to throw anywhere near Ed Reed. I guess someone forgot to tell that to Big Ben.
Near the end of the first quarter, Pittsburgh recovered yet another Baltimore fumble. This time it was Willis Mcgahee who lost the pigskin, and believe it or not, James Harrison didn't have anything to do with it. Troy Polamalu poked the ball out and former Steelers safety Anthony Smith recovered it. Smith was acting like he would actually turn into a player someday. Now that's funny!
Early in the second quarter, Terry Bradshaw joined Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser in the broadcast booth, and naturally, Bradshaw was thigh-slappingly funny as he cracked jokes with the boys. While in the booth, Brashdaw had a perfect view of Pittsburgh capitalizing on the fumble recovery as he watched Big Ben avoid more Ravens defenders, roll out (this time to his right) and hit a wide-open Nate Washington for a 30 yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0.
Later in the second quarter, Roethlisberger threw his fourth touchdown pass of the half--and second to Holmes--with a perfect 35-yard strike down the right sideline. The cornerback who was covering Holmes on the play, Derrick Martin, was still looking up in the air for the football when Holmes already had it in his possession. You can't buy that kind of comedy.
Bradshaw and Holmes were laughing it up on the sidelines after that play, probably making fun of Martin.
To add even more laughs to the night, Baltimore didn't make it past midfield until the five-minute mark of the second quarter. Jaws stated that the Ravens just needed to change some things and Kornheiser retorted: "What changes can they make other than leaving the stadium?" Right after reaching midfield for the first time, Harrison let Mcnair know that the laughs would continue for Pittsburgh as he intercepted his pass and returned it into Ravens' territory.
With 1:51 left in the second quarter, Roethlisberger threw his fifth touchdown pass of the half when he hit Nate Washington on a six-yard strike in the corner of the endzone. After the play, Kornheiser noted that Roethlisberger had thrown as many touchdown passes in one half as the Ravens had thrown in the entire season up to that point. I was laughing so hard, I had tears in my eyes. Tony was joking, right?
Believe it or not, the Ravens actually scored a touchdown before halftime after a long kickoff return and a face mask penalty gave them the ball at the Steelers' 33 yardline. I thought it was funny that they scored because I didn't think it was possible.
There wasn't much comedy after halftime other than Ravens' Head Coach Brian Billick inserting Kyle Boller into the game at quarterback to mop-up for Mcnair. That was hilarious because Billick was still holding out hope that his prized 2003 draft choice would ever amount to anything.
The Steelers just ran out the clock in the second half, but that didn't stop the Ravens' defenders from pounding their chests and making it pretty clear to anyone within ear-shot that they didn't think it was their fault they were on their way to losing by such a large margin. In fact, in his postgame interview, highly regarded team leader, Ray Lewis, threw his entire offense under the bus by saying "I.....I just play defense." Way to go, Ray Ray. Way to divide that locker room. Way to not take any responsibility for a 38-7 beatdown. A linebacker trying to make himself a martyr after losing by 31 points? That's a comedy goldmine right there.
A few funny stats to sum-up the beat-down:
James Harrison was so dominant, I was doubled over in laughter. Here's James' line for the evening: 3.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.
Needless to say, the Ravens' offense played like 11 court jesters, committing four turnovers to go along with only 104 yards in total offense.
Ben Roethlisberger was side-splittingly efficient, needing just 13 completions to accumulate 209 yards through the air and throw those five touchdowns.
The Steelers would go on to win the AFC North in 2007. As for the Ravens, they would only win one more game the rest of the year and finish with a 5-11 record.
Funny stuff, indeed.