Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Rivalry Revisited: 10/3/10 Ravens 17, Steelers 14

On Saturday, the Steelers and Ravens will face off for the 8th time in the last 3 seasons. It's the playoffs. The intensity is already through the roof. If you're like me, you're going out of your mind asking why it isn't Saturday yet.

Glad it's not just me.

To help you get through the week and get you pumped for the game, we're going to take a look back at the last 7 meetings between the Steelers and the Ravens, dating back to the 2008 season. To put some perspective on how both fanbases reacted to the game, I tried to assemble a short list of game recaps from Steelers and Ravens bloggers.

October 3, 2010
Ravens 17, Steelers 14

The Steelers entered the fourth game of the year riding a 3-0 start to the season. Despite not having Ben under center, the defense was playing out of its mind and Chuck Batch had just had the performance of a lifetime in Tampa Bay. The Ravens stumbled a little out of the gate. In the worst primetime game not involving NFC West teams, the Ravens beat the Jets in Week 1 then lost to the Bengals in Week 2. This was the first time in over a decade the Steelers had started a season 3-0, and the prospect of going 4-0 without Ben Roethlisberger was at the forefront of everyone's minds.

Cundiff shanks a field goal and the Steelers respond with Chuck finding El Yeah near the goal line who makes a leaping grab that has been a fixture on highlight reels all season. Mendenhall pounds it in to give us an early lead.

The Ravens go after Ryan Clark and get themselves into scoring territory. McGahee weaves his way in from 7 yards out. Tie game.

The defense is able to thwart the Ravens next scoring opportunity when Big Snack forces a fumble. The offense almost gives the ball right back when Batch tries to scramble, but luckily penalties offset a fumble and we're able to punt.

Dan Sepulveda is an incredible human.

The Ravens came back and added a field goal at the end of the half to take a 10-7 lead into halftime. Heck, it could have been a lot worse. The Second Quarter felt like we were hanging on until halftime. The defense kept us in it with some big plays in the red zone to keep things close. The defense was dropping 7 and 8 into coverage most of the first half. The offense was still stuck in its shell and couldn't put together a sustained drive.

For the umteenth consecutive game at Heinz Field, Willis McGahee gets laid out and has to be helped off the field. Timmons recovers the fumble, giving the Steelers great field position. Batch gets sacked on 3rd down, turning a 41-yard field goal into a 49-yarder. Reed hits the post.

Ike Taylor makes an interception and Batch tries twice for the home run, but can't connect either time. Reed misses from 44. Difference in the game right there. Two turnovers in positive territory, went 3-and-out after both of them and missed field goals.

The offense finally sustains a drive in the 4th quarter by converting a few 3rd downs. Once they're in the red zone, they come out with 2 receivers to the left and 2 tight ends to the right. Mendenhall goes behind the tight ends, picking up some great blocks and beats the safety to the pylon to give us the go-ahead score.

The Ravens take over with just over 7 minutes to play and drive it all the way down to the Steelers 2. Willie Gay makes two solid defensive plays to halt the Ravens drive and give the Steelers the ball back with 2:44 to play.

The offense craps all over themselves by switching off between running for 3 yards and taking a false start penalty. If we pick up a first down there, the game is over. Rather, we have to punt with Sepulveda heeling the back of the end zone. Yes, "heeling" is a word. Ask Rex Ryan.

Sepulveda gets off a 47-yarder but a holding call on Keyaron Fox gives the Ravens the ball on the 40. The Ravens have 55 seconds to go 40 yards. They set it up perfectly. Two out-routes to Douchemandzadeh then an out-and-up double move with a pump fake to freeze B-Mac leaves Douche wide open in the end zone.

The Steelers had 28 seconds and 1 timeout and only needed a field goal to tie, but Ray Lewis undercuts a pass to Hines and that was all she wrote.

The Ravens took control of the AFC North and didn't relinquish first place until they faced the Steelers again in December. This game was really the beginning of the end for Jeff Reed. His two misses from 40-49 off of turnovers were the difference in the game. Michael Oher had about 40 false starts in the game that weren't called, including one on the game-winning touchdown pass. Despite the loss, the Steelers had still started the season 3-1 without Ben, something not many people thought was possible. Considering we faced Atlanta (who went on to get the #1 seed in the NFC), Tampa Bay (who finished with 10 wins), and complaints at all about a 3-1 start.

Ben is coming back!

First place, bitches!

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