When the Steelers and the ravens play it is almost always a very physical contest. With two of the best defenses in the NFL, you know it's going to be a low scoring affair. And yesterday's Monday Night Football match up was no different. Four quarter were just not enough for this heated rivalry. We had to go to overtime to decide this one.
It wasn't just defense the affected this game. Both teams were pretty banged up. Ed Reed was questionable and their were some other Raven injuries. The Steelers were missing Pro Bowl running back Willie Parker, D-lineman Casey Hampton, and the Swarmin' Mormon, Brett Kiesel from BYU. and those were just the players that would be out at the start of the game.
As always it was a very physical, hard-hitting game with player arguments breaking out left and right. on the first play of the game, Andre Frasier of the Steelers wen to the locker room with a spinal chord injury. This was just the beginning.
The starting running back for the Steelers was Rashard Mendenhall, he left early with an injury. Then it was down to Mewelde Moore and Carey Davis. Davis got hurt too so now we have one back for the rest of the game.
The starting right guard Kendall Simmons and his enormous and unusual facemask hurt his leg and had to hit the showers early.
Then the Ravens' Willis McGahee left with a chest problem. That left Laron McClain to play. He later on left with a leg injury and the rookie back Ray Rice was in at halfback.
The cart had to have been used at least four or five times. That has got to be some sort of record. As Tony Kornheiser put it toward the end of the game, "Good thing we don't have unlimited overtime like hockey, then there wouldn't be anybody left to play!"
The rest of the game was just as physical as the injuries. Tons of hard hits. Big plays. You name it. It was about 3-3 through the first quarter. Several punts in a row for both teams. Three and out after three out, it was just one big physical game.
then in the second quarter, Ben Roethlisberger threw a pick to one of the defensive lineman. He tried to hold on to it and the ball came out slowly and was a duck, very catchable for a defensive lineman. This gave Baltimore great field position and they got a field goal.
Then later on, Laron McClain ran one in, bowling over Lamarr Woodley, the second year man out of Michigan. This gave the Ravens a good 13-3 lead at the half.
Something must have been said in that locker room becasue the Pittsburgh Steelers came out of there an entirely different team. They were ready to play Steelers football.
About the first ten minutes of the third were pretty slow. This was until a personal foul penalty was called on a Ravens player and we got 15 more yard onto a five yard play. Then a bullet from Big Ben got us a score. It was a typical crossing route, Holmes caught it, bounced off of a defender, and juked another Raven on his way to a TD.
This was an enormous spark fo the team. On Baltimore's first play of their next drive, James Harrison forced a fumble and Lamarr Woodley recovered and ran it in for a touchdown. This gave us a solid 17-13 lead.
But then the Ravens cam soaring back. they held us to just a field goal on our next possession and the scored a touchdown of their own on a lofty pass from Joe Flacco to Wilcox the tight end. It was 20-20 with little time on the clock.
The Ravens then took it into overtime. They also won the coin flip and elected to receive. The Steelers D stood strong and they went three and out. This was the Steelers chance.
After a couple of nice runs the Steelers got their big play. Ben Roethlisberger stepped back to pass and was caught in the signature ravens' blitz. He scrambled away from a Bart Scott tackle and threw a perfect pass to a wide open Hines Ward for a huge gain through the air.
Finally, after foru hours of football, Jeff Reed got his opportunity. He launched a 46 yard field goal attempt to win the game. It was good, but only by a couple of inches.
The Steelers cut it close, but won an extremely tough divisional game against the renewed Ravens team.
We'll see how the Steelers fair against the jags, next Sunday night in Jacksonville.