Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Rivalry Revisited: 11/29/09 Ravens 20, Steelers 17

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.

November 29, 2009
Ravens 20, Steelers 17
Our Recap: Dark Magic: Steelers Lose

After starting the season 6-2, the Steelers dropped two in a row: one to division leader Cincinnati and the other, more inexplicable loss, to Kansas City. Thanks for that pitch play to Mewelde Moore on 3rd and 2, Bruce.

The big news coming into the game was the injury Ben Roethlisberger suffered at the end of the game against the Chiefs. The news all week was that he was going to play, but all of a sudden it was Dennis Dixon's gig since Chuck Batch broke his hand in the 3 plays he had in relief of Ben.

The Steelers started the game slow, keeping the gameplan conservative for Dixon. Baltimore draws first blood with Willis McGahee punching it in from one yard out.

The Steelers open things up at the beginning of the second, with Dixon going play-action and finding Holmes wide open over the middle. Tone makes a great play to beat the corner to the pylon and tie up the game.

The Ravens come back at the end of the half when Clark goes for a big hit rather than the ball and Derek Mason reels in a big gain. A few plays later, Unibrow goes back to Mason for the score.

Willie Gay forces a fumble at the beginning of the 3rd, but the offense can't convert it into points.

On the next drive, Dixon tries to find Wallace downtown but underthrows him by a hair. Reed coverts to cut the lead to 14-10.

Nothing really happens until the middle of the 4th quarter when Timmons forces another fumble. The offense looks like it's going to fizzle out but Dixon pulls off a great QB wrap on 3rd down, faking the end-around and tucking it down, sprinting past the Ravens defense and into the end zone.

There was a glimmer of hope for the Steelers to snap their two-game slide, but Ray Rice reels in a 4th down pass in man coverage with James Farrior and is able to take it all the way down to the 10. A field goal ties the game with just under two minutes to play.

The Ravens D forces a punt and it looks like the Steelers might blow another game in the 4th quarter. In one of the craziest endings to a game you'll see, Flacco gets sacked and fumbles on 3rd down, which the Ravens recover as the clock runs. They run out their kick team and get off a 56-yarder which falls short. Interestingly, the refs missed a big-time call here that you can't advance a fumble (the "Fumblerooski Rule") and the ball should have been placed where Flacco was sacked, not where it was recovered. Luckily for the Steelers, that didn't matter.

The teams exchanged punts in overtime, and the Steelers start their second drive near midfield. Dixon doesn't read a zone blitz on 3rd down and throws it right to a D-lineman who dropped into coverage. The Ravens take it back to the 28 and are able to knock in a field goal to hand the Steelers their 3rd straight loss.

The Ravens win put them at 6-5 and in a tie with the Steelers and Jaguars for the last playoff spot. At this point, the Jets were 5-6 and not really on anyone's radar. Boy how that changed over the next 5 weeks.

West End Bridge Watch:

Party Time:

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