Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rivalry Revisited: 12/14/08 Steelers 13, Ravens 9

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.

December 14, 2008
Steelers 13, Ravens 9

The Steelers came in to Baltimore on a 4-game winning streak, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Dallas the prior week that was capped off by Deshea Townsend picking off Romo and taking it back to the house. That win started the chain reaction in the Cowboys organization that led to the Death Star blowing up and TO skipping town.

The Ravens were riding their own 3-game winning streak and were one game behind the Steelers in the AFC North. A Steelers win would wrap up the division crown. A Ravens win would draw them into a tie for the division title.

The Ravens dominated field position in the first half, keeping the Steelers pinned back against their goal line. Having Mitch Berger trying to punt the Steelers out of trouble didn't help either. Joe Flacco didn't complete a pass in the first quarter. Wow.

The Ravens drew first blood in the second quarter with a field goal. The Steelers struck right back with Ben engineering a field goal drive to tie the game up. 

Baltimore came back on a series of Flacco-to-Mason hookups that get the Ravens as close as the 11, but the Steelers defense held them to 3 before the half.

The teams traded punts to start the second half, which obviously favored Baltimore since Mitch Berger sucked. Backed up against their goal line, Ben hits Tone on a slant, but the ball gets stripped and Ed Reed scooped it up. Max Starks made a game-saving tackle to bring Reed down at the 16. The defense stepped it up and held the Ravens to 3.

After another exchange of punts, Holmes muffs the punt and the ball bounces through the entire city of Baltimore before Keyaron Fox scoops it up and rumbles with it into Ravens territory.

The Steelers had a 3rd and 1 to start the 4th quarter and Arians called a play-action pass. Ben got stripped and turned the ball over to Baltimore. Man Arians was bad at short-yardage play-calling.

The defense forces a 3-and-out and the offense storms back, with Hines making two huge catches: one for 30+ yards and another on 3rd down to get into the red zone. The offense can't crack the goal line and Reed cuts the Ravens lead to 3.

The Ravens pick their way into field goal range, but a big-time strip-sack by Lawrence Timmons on 3rd down knocks the Ravens out of field goal range.

Ben takes over at his own 8 with 3:36 to go. If Elway's playoff performance wasn't already dubbed "The Drive" this drive might have garnered that title. Epic. 92 yards against the vaunted Ravens defense. Ben hits Hines twice to get our heels off the goal line then Nate Washington turns one upfield when Ed Reed falls down to get across the 50. Nate Washington had a few huge catches on this drive, one on 3rd down and one to get the Steelers down to the 14. Hines gets the Steelers inside the 5, setting up the play that will be everyone's lasting memory of this game.

Ben rolls left on 3rd and goal, then fires back across his body to Santonio, who makes a diving catch on the goal line.
Ravens fans still maintain Holmes wasn't in and use this play as an example of why the Steelers "get all the calls."

Whatever, they're jealous.

The Ravens had 45 seconds left to work with and got a return out near midfield. Flacco got a shot for the end zone with 20 seconds left, but Willie Gay stepped in front of the pass and pulled down a pick to seal the deal.

Bank it. 

The AFC North was ours.

With the division wrapped up, the Steelers went down to Nashville and got their asses thoroughly handed to them by the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens won out, but came up one game shy of the Division Crown. The Steelers got the #2 seed in the playoffs while the Ravens were the #5 seed and had to travel to Miami for a Wild Card game.

How Steeler Nation Celebrated:

How Baltimore Complained:

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