Archive for November, 2010

Ravens-Steelers Week…Feeling Like ’08

Well we have quite a matchup to look forward to this Sunday night. And it only seems appropriate that the Steelers come into town with the same record as the Ravens: 8-3.

High Stakes? You bet. But really, would you want it any other way?

The lead-up to this game feels an awful lot like the lead-up to the one 2 years ago on Dec. 14, 2008, when 10-3 Pittsburgh arrived to face 9-4 Baltimore.

That game more than lived up to the hype. It was a defensive slugfest and the Steelers came away with a memorable victory that clinched the division crown. Ben Roethlisberger drove his team 91 yards down the field and capped off the drive with this unforgettable play (which I recorded btw, sorry it is so blurry!!):

You’re going to hear many quotes from players of both teams this week that sound a lot like what Terrell Suggs said in his post-game interview last Sunday in regards to the the opposition this week:

“Our teams are similar, and we just don’t like them, but we respect them. It’s going to be championship football.”

The words are a little stronger on the internet between the fan bases. Venture over to the Scout.com Ravens page or read the comments to The Baltimore Sun’s Ravens Insider posts. The fans of these  teams can really fire up a war of words. Its quite entertaining and it proves  just how much this game means to the two cities involved.

The last two ravens victories over Pittsburgh have been great. An overtime win last year at home and a come from behind win this year at Heinz Field. However the guys under center for those two games? Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch respectively. Not to knock either of those two…but as a Ravens fan, I want to play Roethlisberger, and I want to beat him. Overcoming Pittsburgh just isn’t as satisfying or fulfilling when he isn’t playing.

Because like it or not, the man is an incredible quarterback. He is hard to bring down and he can improvise like no other when he gets flushed from the pocket.

Want to know what else is a hard pill to swallow for Ravens fans? The boys in purple haven’t defeated Big Ben at M&T Bank Stadium since November 2006, when he took that infamous hit from Bart Scott. Hard to believe its been that long, huh?? Granted, he didn’t play in ’07 or ’09…but still, its been 4 years!! And they last time they beat him period was just a month later when they took down Pittsburgh on the road to complete their first and only season sweep of the Steelers to date.

The big story this week will be the status of left tackle Michael Oher’s knee sprain. If he cannot go on Sunday, Oniel Cousins will get the start and faces the daunting task of protecting Joe Flacco from James Harrison for four quarters. More on that as the week progresses.

Peace.

Boise St – Nevada

Last Friday night I was amazed/stunned/mesmerized by the Western Athletic Conference showdown in Reno between Boise State and Nevada.

Now your first thought going into this game might have been: “Who cares about these two little schools. They are playing at 10:30 pm on a Friday night. I already got by football fix for the day! I saw a hell of a game between Auburn and Alabama, the big boys of college football. I am going to bed.”

Well if you did get your beauty sleep that night, you missed an unbelievable game. There were four plays I saw over the course of the second half that were simply jaw dropping. And if you want to see what I’m talking about, here is a link to the highlights. I’ll include where to skip to in the video to make it easy

– (:39 seconds in): With Boise ahead comfortably 24-7 on the third quarter, Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick rolled out of the pocket, pumped, took off, made a defender miss, and then leapt over the pylon with the ball in his hand to complete the 17 yard TD run. It was an amazing play that gave Nevada a huge burst of momentum and cut the deficit to 10. I thought it was Vick-esque and couldn’t stop saying “WOW!”.

– (:51 seconds in): Still down ten, Nevada got the ball back this time early in the fourth quarter. A little bit of trickery as Rishard Matthews got the handoff on an end around. Boise appeared to have the play sniffed out beautifully, with three men ready to bring Matthews down about eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. But Matthews darted through all three, broke through a  tackle around the first down marker, and then let his legs do the rest as he motored down the sideline for a 44 yard score. Nevada had narrowed the gap to just a field goal. UNREAL! At this point I was wide awake (keep in mind this is all happening at approx 12:30 am eastern time)

– (1:10 in): After a Nevada field goal to tie it up, Boise got the ball with a little over five minutes to go. They had faced adversity in their opener at FedEx Field against Virginia Tech yet still pulled out a W. I was thinking “Could they do it again? Could they do it here?” We didn’t have to wait long for an answer. On the first play of the drive, Boise QB Kellen Moore found Doug Martin on a screen pass underneath. Martin then got some stellar blocks down field, weaved through them, juked one defender, shed off another, and thanks to some poor pursuit angles by the Nevada safeties, went the rest of the way untouched for a 79 yard TD.

Talk about responding! It looked like Boise would prevail again. But Nevada had their own responding to do. They engineered a 14 play, 79 yard TD drive which tied the game up and ate up almost all of the clock. This leads to jaw dropping play #4.

– (1:41 in): Boise got one final chance with just nine seconds to play and the ball on their own 38. Moore heaved the ball deep down the field and Titus Young made a spectacular diving catch with just one second left. This was straight out of arena football, or an EA Sports video game! How could Nevada have allowed themselves to get beat deep?

Of course the end of the game was quite memorable, with Boise kicker Kyle Brotzman missing a field goal at the end of regulation and in overtime…both of which were under 30 yards.

Just an incredible game, it was as much fun watching a college football game as I can remember. It made it that much more memorable that the conclusion occurred at 1:52 a.m. and that it shook up the BCS standings (Boise entered the game ranked 4th).


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