May the back and forth begin between Ravens fans and supporters of the Pittsburgh Steelers begin. I'll get things started with a reminder to all of us out there who may be worried sick about match up number three with the Ravens. By the way, before we start, let's hear what Mike Tomlin has to say about the commonly held belief that it's tough to beat a team three times in a season:
"I personally don't subscribe to that hocus-pocus to be honest with you," Tomlin said. "It's going to be a knock-down drag out. What happened in the other two games will have no bearing on the outcome of this game. We aren't buying into that."
Agreed Mr. Tomlin. And kudos to you for using the word hocus-pocus in the context of the National Football League. I like.
I might disagree though with what I feel is hocus-pocus. Yes, the myth of 'beating a team three times' is hocus-pocus. But what's also a sham is the Ravens offense right now.
I don't have the time this moment to elaborate why the present match up of these two teams favors us so I won't even give it a half hearted go. It's far more important than anything that has happened in the past, but that's for another time real soon.
Instead, a look at Baltimore's offense this past Sunday. I know Coach, the past's the past, but come on, can't I just revel in looking at Baltimore's game long love affair with mediocrity?
Even though I know you're not into the whole brevity thing
dude Coach, I must briefly drudge up the dumpy offensive performance turned in by the Ravens this past Sunday in Nashville, even if it has no bearing on how things might materialize Sunday.
Total Yards: 211
Pass Yards: 161 yards
Rushing Yards: 50 yards
Penalties: - 8 for 40 yards
3rd Down %: 3 for 13 (23%)
3 And Outs: 5
Kicking: 2/2 FGs, 1/1 XP
Big Plays: 3 biggest Baltimore plays accounted for 107 of the 211 total yards.
- 48 yard TD to Mason
- 37 yards to Clayton
- 23 yards to Heap
Even better news for Baltimore was that all three of those big plays came on 3 separate drives - their 3 scoring drives of the game.
This is not a good offense right now, any way you carve it up. Anything can happen on any particular outing - as evidenced by our thoroughly dominant offensive line performance Sunday against the Chargers - but the reality is that we've drawn the perfect opponent for how our season has been trending lately.
I'll explain further in a later post, but to me, the Steelers defense is playing a lot closer to its 2007 level than it is its level turned in during the first 14 games of the 2008 season. That's ok, it's still damn good defense. But to me, it's a tremendous relief to have such a mediocre offense in Baltimore's coming to town.
As for their defense? It's still dangerous, and you still have to execute and protect the ball against them. From start to finish too, not just for 95% of the plays like the Titans did on Saturday. If you can though protect the ball, which Ben Roethlisberger has done just fine against them in recent meetings, then they can be beaten.
Much more from me on this showdown coming up at Heinz Field later in the week but I wanted to get something up for Ravens and Steelers fans to banter back and forth about. I have a few more things in store for the SD game, but it's about time we start looking towards the final game of the 2008 - 2009 season against an AFC opponent: the Championship game with a trip to Tampa Bay on the line.