Sunday, January 16, 2011



Wow. What a game.

These kinds of games aren't for the faint of heart, but it's not like we haven't seen the Steelers mount comebacks before.

Ben Roethlisberger is just unreal in clutch situations. He got beat up all game, but when it mattered most, he threw a perfect strike down the sideline to Antonio Brown.

James Harrison played out of his mind in the second half. In fact, the whole defense did.

There was a great ceremony before the game to award Purple Hearts to two Pittsburgh-area soldiers that were wounded in combat duty. The four Ravens fans in our section didn't clap when the guys were awarded their Purple Hearts. Douchebags.

Game Recap

The Steelers won the toss and deferred. 

Suisham is forces into action to make a tackle on the kick return, and clearly does so at the 35, but the refs don't blow it dead and let the Ravens keep running it out past midfield. Tomlin is forced to use his first challenge to tell the refs how wrong they were.

Unibrow comes out looking for Heap-of-shit and finds him to convert one 3rd down, but goes to the well too many times as Potsie and Ryan Clark knock balls away to force a punt.

The Steelers have to deal with an immediate setback when Hines picks up a penalty for mixing it up with Ed Reed. Ben shrugs it off and converts a 3rd and 12 with a sideline pass to Mike Wallace. Ben goes right back after it, going over the top for Wallace who gets blatantly interfered with and draws the penalty. The run game starts to do work in field goal range, grinding our way down into the Red Zone when Mendenhall takes over. He does the leg work to get us down to the goal line then pounds it in for the opening score.



Mason gets flagged for pushing off of Ike on the sideline, but the Ravens get it back with a Pass Interference call on Ike. The Ravens start to use underneath passes and screens to attack the Steelers defense, with some success, and are able to move across midfield. They go to their unbalanced line set and Woodley blows by the extra tackle to sack Flacco. The Ravens catch a break on 3rd and 15 when Anthony Madison trips into Mason. Two plays later, Ray Rice takes a stupid little draw play through a seam in the defense, spins off a tackle and finds the end zone.


In one of the strangest plays you'll ever see, Ben gets hit from behind by Suggs and the ball flies forward. Everyone on the field thinks it's incomplete. Ramon Foster stands there and looks at the ball like its a girl at a middle school dance. The rest of the Steelers offense huddles up for the pending 3rd down play. Some d-bag from the Ravens picks up the ball and runs it into the end zone. Turns out, the refs never blew the whistle.

Tomlin uses his second challenge to see if Ben's arm was moving forward. Turns out, it wasn't.

Touchdown Ravens.


Second Quarter

The Second Quarter started much the way the first quarter ended, with Ben getting sacked. Kapinos booms a 55-yarder.

Boldin makes his only catch of the game, which goes for negative yards when Ryan Clark blows it up. The Ravens punter has a hell of a leg. He kills a 61-yarder, compounded with a penalty, that pins us back inside the 10.

Mendenhall gets the call to grind our way out of the shadow of our goalposts, but gets the ball knocked out and the Ravens take over inside the red zone. 

The defense was playing out of their minds on first and second down, but negating their good plays by allowing 3rd down conversions. The trend continued as Ray Rice converted a screen pass into a first down then Unibrow found Heap-of-Shit for the score from 4 yards out.



The air was completely out of the stadium after that, but there was some hope. Looking at the clock, there was 5:43 left in the half, and we knew we were getting the ball to start the second half. Score at the end of the first, then score on the opening drive of the second and it was a whole new ballgame.

Ben getting sacked on the first play from scrimmage didn't help that sinking feeling though. But Ben went to the no huddle and things started to turn around. 13 yards to Heath and 14 to Manny Sanders and things were rolling. Mewelde Moore gets the call on two quick-hitters out of the shotgun set and is able to move the chains again. The middle of the field was wide open all game, and Ben finally hits Heath over the middle to get us across midfield. Ben goes back to Sanders to get us onto the fringe of field goal range. The offense can't move deeper than the 28 and Suisham pushes one wide left from 43. 

The Ravens kneel it out.


Thomas Jefferson's band performed at halftime, but no one really cared. To be honest, TJ's band was better than a lot of bands we've seen at Heinz Field in the fact that they actually marched.

Even though the Steelers didn't score at the end of the half, we had the sense that if we stopped turning the ball over and giving the Ravens great field position, we still had a chance.

Third Quarter

The offense comes out with short passes to Hines and Heath to get things rolling, but the drive stalls out after a WR screen gets blown up and Ben gets sacked on 3rd down. Punt.

Even though the offense couldn't get things done in their last two drives, the defense came out inspired. James Harrison brings Flacco down for a big sack. Two plays later on 3rd and long, Ryan Clark punches the ball out of Ray Rice's arms and Woodley falls on it.


Mendenhall bounces one outside for 14 to get inside the 10 and Ben wastes no time going to Heath in the back of the end zone.


Just like that, we were back in the game.

And just like that, it was Renegade time.

No way in hell Baltimore was doing anything on their next drive. 

James Harrison made sure of that, absolutely burying Joe Flacco.

Baltimore is able to flip the field with a 57-yard punt, but Ben goes to work, going for Manny Sanders twice to move us into Ravens territory. Ben takes a shot deep for Sanders but the ball gets knocked away. Wallace gets gobbled up in the backfield on a reverse and the Steelers have to punt.

On the first play, Unibrow goes play-action and tries to hit Heap-of-shit down the seam, but badly overthrows the ball and Ryan Clark is there to reel in the interception.

Clark brings it back to the 25, setting the offense up in great field position once again.

Raise Some gets us down to the 12, and 3 plays later Ben threads the needle to Hines at the goal line.




With the game tied and the pressure rising, Joe Flaccoops can't even handle a snap.

Ziggy knows who's got it.

The Diesel comes out of the pile with the ball. He must've hid it up under his beard so that no one else could dig it out.

Raise Some goes forward and back as the quarter ends.

Fourth Quarter

Jonathan Scott was injured on the last play of the 3rd quarter, and after they found out he was okay, Hines, Wallace, and Sanders ran around the field trying to get the crowd pumped up. The crowd responded and was psyched to start the 4th. What a difference one quarter makes.

Ben hits Brown who comes up just short of the sticks. Ben rushes us to the line and sneaks it forward for the first down. Arians goes to the reverse again and Wallace picks up a few but gets brought down in the open field when he goes to the wrong side of a block by Heath. Ben gets sacked on 3rd down. Suisham nails it from 35.


The Ravens finally decided to play offense, and started to drive the ball, with Flacco hitting Douchemandzadeh on a post route to get the ball near midfield. Ike makes a great defensive play to get around Mason and bat the ball away on 2nd down, then Harrison flushes Flacco from the pocket on 3rd down.

Rather than throwing the ball away or trying to hit a receiver, Flacco runs out of bounds for a loss of 9, giving Harrison his 3rd sack of the game. The Ravens punter kills a 58-yarder, pinning us back at the 12. What a kicker.

With 7 minutes to play, the hope was that the Steelers could grind some time off the clock with a nice long drive. Bruce Arians has other ideas and goes to the motif offense. 

Your worst fears are realized when Kapinos makes a terrible punt and Webb takes it back to the house. However, there was a fairly obvious hold and it gets flagged. However, the Ravens still get the ball inside the Steelers 30.

Flacco goes right to the air and hits Heap on a deep cross to get the Ravens inside the 10. The defense locks it down and Boldin drops a touchdown on 3rd down, forcing the Ravens to settle for 3.


Ben takes over with 4 minutes left to play. It's only fitting that this game came down to the last drive. And I'm sure glad the ball was in #7's hands.

After two incompletions, Ben hits Hines to move the sticks and get us out to the 47. A 9-yard sack sets us back and makes things look bleak. Sanders has a chance to be a hero on a post route but the ball gets knocked out of his hands by a safety. On 3rd and 19, Ben chucks one downfield on a 4-verticals route and Antonio freaking Brown just blows between two defenders and uses his helmet to secure the catch.
What a picture.

Brown stumbles out of bounds at the 4, setting us up with 2 minutes to play. The Ravens still had 3 timeouts so the smart move was to run the ball and make them use their timeouts.

Instead, Arians goes to the air and calls for a fade route to Hines. Yeah, that doesn't work and it stops the clock. Luckily for us, Mount Cody gets called for defensive holding on the next play, giving us a 1st and goal at the 2. 

Mendenhall plows forward towards the goal line, gets stopped up and pushed back. For some reason, the refs forget about forward progress and put the ball back at the 2. The exact same thing happens on the next play, with Mendenhall getting to the goal line but the ball being spotted back on the 2. On 3rd and goal, Raise Some looks dead-to-rights in the backfield but he bounces it back to the right and is able to drive his way to paydirt.


007 does it again


Kemoeatu got called for a personal foul after the touchdown, and much like Super Bowl XLIII, we had to kick off from the 15. Suisham squibs it to keep it out of Webb's hands, and McClain brings it back across midfield.

Polamalu gets pressure on first down and forces a bad throw. On second down, Flacco goes deep for Mason, but Willie Gay, playing for the injured Bryant McFadden, gets inside position and almost comes up with the interception on a jump ball. LeBeau doesn't lay off the gas and keeps blitzing Flacco. On 3rd down, Unibrow tries to step up in the pocket but Ziggy is there.


4th and 18. 1:09 to play.

Renegade plays again during the timeout.

Flacco drops back, the Ravens pick up the blitz, Flacco guns one for Douchemandzadeh...

But the Ghost of Cope is alive and well.

The ball goes right through Douchemandzadeh's hands.

You don't mess with Myron's Towel.




Later, bitches.


Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Ben Roethlisberger
Defensive Game Balls: Ryan Clark and James Harrison

Honorable Mentions:
Ziggy Hood
LaMarr Woodley
Antonio Brown
Rashard Mendenhall
Emmanuel Sanders
Hines Ward
Maurkice Pouncey
Lawrence Timmons
Ike Taylor

Mr. Yuck Sticker of the Game

Using both challenges in the First Quarter

To be honest, this sucked. The second challenge was a good challenge and one we had to make on that crazy fumble/TD call. Even though we lost the challenge, we still had to challenge the call to see if Ben's arm was moving forward. It's really the first one that irks me. That was a blatantly obvious call that Suisham made the tackle on Webb. We never should have had to challenge it. Though, chances are, Tomlin would have challenged Mendenhall's fumble and lost that one too, so we would have been out of challenges by halftime anyways.

Final Thoughts
  • What a comeback. This might have been the best playoff comeback in Heinz Field history. It's close between this game and the Cleveland game in 2002. 
  • James Harrison played like a man possessed. He had 3 sacks, all in the second half.
  • That might be the best game Ryan Clark has played since coming to the Steelers. 5 tackles, 2 of them for a loss, 2 passes defended, and an interception.
  • Defense, defense, defense. How much can you say about these guys? They played with their backs against the wall for pretty much the whole first half, then held the Ravens to 3 points in the second half, along with forcing 3 turnovers. 
  • Hines made some HUGE catches. He came to play today.
  • Hell of a game by our young receivers. Wallace had a big 3rd down grab, Sanders had some big catches, and Antonio Brown...well, wow.
  • Memo to Steeler Nation: Never, ever, doubt Kevin Colbert's ability to scout personnel. In the 6th round of the draft, when he had already picked a receiver, Colbert picked a little-known speedster from Central Michigan named Antonio Brown. In his first playoff game, Brown makes a bigger catch than Limas Sweed ever made.
  • Rashard Mendenhall didn't have a huge game, but he got some big gains down in the red zone, and 2 touchdowns, including the game winner, are nothing to sneeze at.
  • Heath Miller led the team with 5 receptions. Good to see Heath getting some looks, especially when the middle of the field is wide open.
  • Ben Roethlisberger tied Peyton Manning's 9 playoff victories. Peyton has been in the league 6 years longer than Ben.
  • Let's face it, Joe Flacco isn't a big-game quarterback. He had 0.9 yards per attempt when the Steelers brought 5 or more.
  • The Ravens had 91 net yards passing. Flacco only had 125 yards.
  • Boldin had 1 catch for -2 yards and Mason got shut out. Hell of a game by Ike Taylor and Willie Gay, who was called upon to fill in for B-Mac.
  • I was surprised Flacco didn't look for Boldin more, they got him matched up on Anthony Madison a lot when Boldin was in the slot.
  • Did Ed Reed even play? He was a total non-factor.
  • The Steelers move to 9-0 against divisional opponents in the playoffs, 5-0 against teams from Baltimore (3-0 against the Ravens).
  • The Steelers will be playing in their 8th AFC Championship game since 1994. Wow. That's pretty incredible.

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