Posts Tagged 'Pittsburgh Steelers'

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.

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Ravens 2010 Schedule Officially Released

The 2010 schedule is finally here! The Ravens’ opponents have been known for quite some time now but now we know when the games will be played and which ones will be in prime time.

Here are a few of the highlights:

-Week 1: The Ravens will open their season on the road against Rex Ryan and the NY Jets on Monday Night Football (9/13).

-Week 4 will be played at Pittsburgh, and assuming Ben Roethlisberger is dealt a four game suspension, Baltimore will not have to face him in that match-up (10/3).

-Looking ahead to Week 13: The second Pittsburgh game…this one at home, will be a nationally televised Sunday night game (12/5) for the second year in a row.

-A week later, another prime time game. This time on Monday Night at Houston (12/13).

-And on six days rest, Baltimore welcomes in the defending champion Saints to M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 19.

Click here or above on the header titled “Ravens 2010 Schedule” to view the entire slate of games. Grab your calendar and mark down the games! This fall should be fun!

Weekend Recap

Loved the final round of the Masters yesterday. Great golf, great drama. Personally I was cheering for Tiger. He’s my favorite and I thought it would be cool for him to go out there and win it all after going through a tumultuous winter of shame and disgrace. I know there were quite a bit of folks who just couldn’t bring themselves to cheer for the man, but you got to respect his game. CBS’ Peter Kostis made a great comment during yesterday’s telecast: “Say what you will about Tiger the person or Tiger the brand. Tiger the golfer is still exciting.” It looks as if viewers agree. Preliminary Nielsen  estimates indicated CBS’ rating for Saturday’s third round was 33 percent higher than 2009’s third round coverage.

And although it was who Tiger drew the ratings, it was Phil Mickelson who finished atop the leaderboard to earn his third green jacket in seven years. Mickelson has always been “the peoples champ” and it was so enjoyable to see him win the tournament given the circumstances surrounding his wife Amy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. He played tremendous golf, shooting 67’s on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sunday’s final round was also bogey-free for Mickelson, what a great way to finish.

Now on to a topic slightly less heartwarming. The state of the 2010 Orioles after 6 games.  They own a record of 1-5, their worst start since 2002. Like I always do because I’m a homer, I’m going to look at this situation with the glass half-full.

The starters have for the most part done their job, through six games they rank 13th in the league with a 3.89 ERA. I know it’s early to be referencing stats but they really do not lie and the starters have held up their end of the bargain, plain and simple.

The run support was one run short in the first four losses. But on Saturday and Sunday scoring zero and two runs respectively is just not enough. Garrett Atkins is hitting .350 and Matt Wieters .409, however they bat towards the bottom of the order. No one else on the roster owns an average higher than .300.

Mike Gonzalez has now blown two saves and people are calling for his head. I was fine with the first one on opening night in St. Petersburg, and pretty frustrated when he did it again in the home opener on Friday. I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt but now my leash is short with him. He better rattle off a few solid scoreless innings before his next blown save. If he can’t, its time for Dave Trembley to make some changes at closer.

So it’s a new week of what is still a very young season and grabbing two out of three or dare I even say sweeping  this upcoming series against Tampa Bay is critical for the team’s confidence. After these three upcoming home games they hit the road for a seven game trip on the west coast against Oakland and Seattle. Then they have to face the Yankees and Red Sox for twelve consecutive games! The Birds went a combined 7-29 in ’09 against the two powers of the A.L. East.

And a very interesting and unexpected move in the NFL last night. The Steelers have traded wide receiver and Super Bowl 43 MVP Santonio Homes to the Jets for a fifth round pick in this month’s draft. Holmes will be suspended for the team’s first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Well this is good news if you are a Ravens fan. Holmes has always been a dangerous weapon at receiver and has made big plays against Baltimore several times in his career, most notably in the 2008 AFC Championship Game when he scored on a 65 yard catch and run.

Every Dog Has His Day

Ben Roethlisberger is sacked for a loss by Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Corey Williams. The Browns sacked Big Ben eight times in the contest.

Associated Press — There’s nothing Super about the Pittsburgh Steelers anymore. The defending NFL champions lost their fifth straight and had their playoff hopes sacked by the lowly Cleveland Browns, who ended a 12-game losing streak against their bitter rival by beating the Steelers 13-6 on Thursday night in subzero wind chills.

Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times and lost for the first time in 11 career games against the Browns (2-11), who extended Pittsburgh’s longest losing streak in six years and defeated the Steelers (6-7) at home for the first time since 2000.

The Steelers are going to need help to make the postseason, a stunning freefall for a team that hit the season’s halfway point at 6-2.

Oh I love it. This was a fun game to watch. The Browns’ season has just been miserable in 2009. But they went out their and played their asses off in 12 degree temperatures and 20 mile per hour wind gusts.

It’s been said before and it will be said again because it is so true. “Any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday” (Or in this case, Thursday haha). After what transpired tonight and last week when the Steelers fell to Oakland, the Ravens cannot overlook the Lions.

Things are boding well for Baltimore, if they can win out. According to the website PlayoffStatus.com, if the Ravens win their remaining four games, they have an 87% chance of making the playoffs. And that number is not taking into account the Steelers latest loss.

Titans – Steelers Preview

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The NFL season kicks off tonight from Heinz Field as the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers host the Titans. The previous meeting between these teams was in Nashville last December with the number one seed throughout the playoffs at stake. The Steelers held a 14-10 advantage early in the third quarter. But Tennessee scored 21 unanswered points, capped by a Michael Griffin 83 yard interception return for a touchdown. What ensued has started a massive controversy. A Terrible Towel was thrown from the stands towards the Titans sideline. A few Titans, most notably LenDale White, started stomping on the towel. This pretty much declared war between these two franchises, which were destined to meet in the AFC Championship as the respective 1 and 2 seeds. But the Ravens knocked off the Titans in the divisional round and Steelers never needed redemption, they got something better instead, a Super Bowl victory. As you can imagine, the Titans feel as though they beat the best, so they should be the best. “If we would’ve had a chance to play them again in the AFC championship and those guys would’ve beat us, it would’ve been a little easier to swallow,” Pro Bowl safety Chris Hope said. “Being we beat the Super Bowl champions and never had a chance to compete and go play for the Super Bowl, that left a bad taste in our mouth.” So fast forward almost nine months, it’s time for the rematch.

Tennessee is a different defense without Albert Haynesworth, who signed with the Redskins this offseason. It will be a little tougher stopping the run without his presence. But they still have the majority of their defense intact from last season, a defense that trailed only the Steelers in points allowed with 14.6 PPG. Keith Bulluck, Javon Kearse, and Kyle Vanden Bosch are the leaders of unit. On offense the M.O. for Tennessee is simple: Heavy doses of Chris Johnson and LenDale White. White lost 30 pounds this offseason and is the slimmest he’s been since high school. This has got to be one of, if not the best two back tandem in the league. Alge Crumpler is a reliable tight end who is always a threat to score inside the redzone. Former Steeler Nate Washington is solid vertical threat and a nice addition to Tennessee’s less than stellar receiving corps, but he is questionable for tonight’s game with a hamstring injury.

They go up against a tremendous Steelers defense, which gave up the fewest yards and points per game last season. It is such a tough task  for the offense to account for so many good players on one side of the ball. Players such as Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, James Farrior, Lamar Woodley, Ryan Clark, and reigning defensive player of the year James Harrison. This defense against the Titans running game will definitely be something to keep your eye on. On the offensive side of the ball the Steelers are just as dangerous. Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, Health Miller, Hines Ward, Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall, and Ben Roethlisberger can all make plays. Roethlisberger’s instincts are amazing. His ability to make plays on the move and always get the ball out just before the pressure gets to him makes him a pain for any defense.

Both of these teams are built on physical defenses that force uncomfortable 3rd and long situations. This could be a low scoring affair with average field position being the most important stat of the night. I am picking the Steelers to win this one. You have heard it before and your will hear it again a million times this season. It is hard to win on the road in the NFL. The Steelers have won 6 straight season openers dating back to ’03, which is the longest active streak in NFL. I’m not going against that trend. STEELERS 27 – TITANS 13.

Thoughts on the Ravens, Nick Markakis, and Boston-Orlando

Jan. 22, 2009, 5:50 PM

-Well it has been a solid week and a half since my last post. I could not find the time to write anything, I apologize to anyone who was looking for info on the Ravens-Steelers game.

-Speaking of the Ravens, Sunday’s AFC Championship was one heck of a football game. Aside from the disappointment I felt in the few hours afterward, I really enjoyed the game.  It was exactly what most people expected…a classic hard hitting, knock ’em down drag ’em out dogfight. The Steelers played great defense and they clearly deserve the title of the best team in the AFC. And defensively? It is rare to see a team dominate defensively better than the Ravens, but on Sunday that is exactly what the Steelers did. Now comes the long off-season for the Ravens. And quite a few questions linger. Who will they draft? Will Ray Lewis re-sign with the team? Can Ozzie Newsome land a big name free agent receiver or cornerback? It will be interesting to see what steps will be made to ensure another successful season takes place in ’09.

-The Orioles announced today that they have re-signed right fielder Nick Markakis to a six year deal worth $66.1 million. The contract locks up Markakis through 2014. This past season, he batted .306, scored 106 runs and led all major league outfielders with 17 assists. The contract is the second-largest in Orioles history(Miguel Tejada signed for $72 million before the 2004 season). This is a great move by the team. It is a good sign that they are showing they want the best young player on the team around for another six seasons. I would not be suprised if Markakis is named to multiple All-Star games before it is time for a new contract.

-Lastly, in the NBA tonight there is a great game between the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic. Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard will be the matchup to watch. The game starts at 8:00 EST and you can catch it on TNT.

Steelers defeat Chargers; advance to AFC Championship Game

Jan. 11, 2009, 8:30 PM

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The Pittsburgh Steelers took care of the San Diego Chargers today 35-24.

The game was close in the first half but the Steelers began to pull away just before halftime.

In the third quarter, Pittsburgh took over. They limited the Chargers to 17 seconds of possession time, and zero yards on one play (which was an interception). I have never seen a quarter of an NFL game be so lopsided.

The Chargers, who were the hottest team in football, could not recover from their lifeless third quarter and were suffocated by the Steelers dominating defense.

With the win, the number two seeded Steelers advance to the AFC Championship game next Sunday against the sixth seeded Baltimore Ravens.

It will be the third game between the division rivals this season. The Steelers won both of the regular season games by a combined 7 points.

The early vegas lines have the Steelers as 4½ point favorites.


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