Big Lead Sports Bar


14 Thoughts on Steelers-Ravens

13 thoughts on football and one on a movie trailer played during the game that's driving me crazy...I guess that passes for 14 thoughts on Steelers-Ravens, right?

1. He had a foot that was sprained (some say broken) and a nose that was broken, but Ben Roethlisberger still managed to raise his lifetime record to an unreal 8-2 against the Ravens in what was probably the gutsiest effort of his career. 

It wasn't his prettiest game, and the team's lone touchdown drive was basically handed to them by another timely Troy Polamalu-caused turnover, but he had to score a lot of points with his teammates playing hurt. And to boot, he did it behind a patchwork offensive line that lost Flozell Adams and Heath Miller. Although I wish I knew what he has against Andrea Kremer. Man, he couldn't get away from her fast enough last night in the postgame interview.

2. Speaking of Miller, I was dumbfounded by the fact that no penalty was called when he was "helmet-to-helmet hit" as a defenseless receiver last night. Sure, there will probably be a fine for the play, but I'd much rather see the penalty called in that situation. 

3. I take back everything mean I ever said about Isaac Redman after his effort to get into the end zone last night. Everything. 

That was an absolutely crucial spot for the Steelers, who would've been facing a fourth down had Redman not willed himself past the goal line, yet he came through. It's gutty plays like that which define this rivalry. Now if he could only come up with those gutty plays a little more often, I'd really get behind him.

4. That being said, the Ravens had plenty of opportunities slip through their hands last night. When you're playing the Bengals, you can overcome a ton of mistakes and still win. But against a better team like the Steelers, there's a finite number of times you can shoot yourself in the foot via penalties, turnovers, bad decisions, etc. Baltimore reached that number last night, so symbolically ending the game on a failed fourth-down pass attempt by Joe Flacco when they needed only two yards.

5. The Steelers won the battle, but did they lose the war? 

Daniel Sepulveda has an ACL injury and will be lost for the year. Flozell the Hotel has a high ankle sprain. Trust me, that's bad, bad news. And Heath Miller was concussed, so his status for next week will probably be up in the air for a few days. 

Pittsburgh had that injury-ravaged look to their game for a good portion of the contest last night. I just didn't think they could overcome all that they've lost going into the game. But to be able to do it on a cold night in December...on the road in front of a national TV audience...with a battered QB and a thrown-together O-Line...shows me that this team still has a beating pulse, no matter who's in the lineup.

6. The Goat of the Game in victory has to go to Bryant McFadden. My goodness, was he awful last night. First, he showed poor tackling on the 61-yard bomb to Anquan Boldin, going for the knockout and failing. Miserably. Then, he found himself in no-man's land as Boldin broke free later in the drive for a touchdown. He was burned on a 67-yard pass play to Donte Stallworth, and he was called for pass interference on a play in the fourth quarter which would've given Baltimore a 3rd-and-8. His game film from this week should be filed in the horror category. I know I'd be terrified to watch it.

7. You can clearly see the Steelers going more to Mike Wallace in situations beyond the deep pass, trying to put the football in his hands at other places on the field and letting him run with it. He was targeted seven times last night and wound up with five catches for 76 yards, a much bigger part of the offense than Hines Ward, who had only one catch and four targets, including a rare drop. 

As for the other pass catchers of note, David Johnson had a season-high three catches and showed some Isaac Redman-like effort on his 25-yarder. Emmanuel Sanders also continued his mini-surge over the last month with three catches for 49 yards, including a 28-yarder. 

8. The running game was mostly ineffective last night, not surprising given the opponent and the state of the line. The Steelers ran the ball 24 times for just 54 yards, only 2.3 YPC on the night. 

Rashard Mendenhall continued to struggle against the Ravens: including last night, his career yard totals against Baltimore include 30, 95, 36, 79, and 45, totaling 285 yards on 94 touches. That's 3.03 YPC - far below his career average of 4.19.

9. The defense has had its share of good and bad moments this season, but other than McFadden's play, I can't be too critical. They limited the Ravens to a reasonable 10 points on two scoring drives, they got the crucial stop when they needed it (thanks to Joe Flacco, of course), they created the game-changing turnover, and they didn't absolutely kill themselves with penalties. And I'm pretty sure they did it without any potential fines TBA later in the week, either.

10. How about that Shaun Suisham? Two more field goals, including a 45-yarder, and he handled punting duties without a tragic error? I must say, he's been much better than I anticipated. 

As for the Skipster, he was 3-for-3 in his 49ers debut, connecting from 44, 26, and 23 yards. Unfortunately for him, he plays for the 49ers, so they lost by 18 points at Lambeau. And even worse, Don Banks thinks he's fat:
I guess it's true what they say about black, that it's a very slimming color. Because seeing ex-Steelers kicker Jeff Reed in a 49ers uniform for the first time on Sunday, his new colors seemed to add about 15 pounds to his frame.

Reed looked like a modern-day Ray Wersching.
11. Around the AFCN, the Bengals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again, falling 34-30 to the Saints on a Drew Brees-to-Marques Colston touchdown with 31 seconds remaining. 

Is there anyone left who still would take Carson Palmer over Ben Roethlisberger? Heck, is there anyone left who would still take Carson Palmer?

Meanwhile, the Browns somewhat redeemed Cleveland's bad week with Miami, beating the Dolphins 13-10 on a Phil Dawson field goal as time expired. Although somehow I think that wasn't the game Cleveland wanted to win over a Miami team given the chance. 

12. Looking ahead to next week, the Steelers get those bumbling, 2-10 Bengals back at Heinz Field for a do-over of their November 8th Monday nighter, won by the Steelers 27-21 after fending off a late Cincy rally.

Further down the road looms the New York Jets on December 19, and  I hope the Steelers don't get caught looking past the earlier job at hand in the proverbial "Trap Game". I know we'll hear about it roughly 8,000 times before then.

As for the rest of the division, Cleveland travels to sunny Buffalo next Sunday in a game sure to intrigue the nation. And Baltimore visits Houston on Monday Night football, as the Texans try desperately to get Gary Kubiak fired purely through their play. Maybe Andre Johnson can punch Terrell Suggs for the established 25 grand.

13. I'm sorry to bring this up here, but the ad was shown too much over the weekend to ignore. Can we all admit that the whole "Focker" thing has passed its prime? OK, we get it, it sounds like you're swearing, but you're really not. Is the comedy genre so out of ideas that this is worthy of a trilogy? Yes?

14. Now that I got that out of my system...Sad Trombone time!

As you know, the Sad Trombone  goes to someone who deserves no sympathy and in turn gets mocked by internet tough guys such as myself.

The winner of this week's award deserves it purely on merit. Players like him are the reason the award was created in the first place.
So congratulations, Ray Lewis. You've just won a Sad Trombone - the only thing you won this weekend. Awww.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


BurressWithButterflywings said...

This victory showed the heart and character of a champion. Big Ben is a freaking warrior and that defense took risks and gave up some, but made some big plays as well.

Are we really surprised about the non-calls? People have been calling me crazy and will continue to call me crazy for my assertions that the NFL's new rules only apply to the Steelers. Look no further than last night. The Miller play, Ngata punches Ben in the face, Suggs wrangles him by his helmet of the great escape, nothing called. the shot on Heath was illegal before the Harrison Witch Hunt and the NFL saying 2 minutes later it should have been called is ZERO consolation.

Also ,on the 61 yd bomb to Boldin, Troy blitzed and Ray Rice grabbed him by his facemask or Flacco was toast. anyone else see this? I have a still from pausing the DVR. Terrible.

McFadden was apparently hurt prior to the game and he is not very good when he is healthy. What the hell he was doing half the time is beyond me.

Losing Sepulveda is big, I wonder if Adam Graesle is available?

When Cris Collinsworth is questioning whether the league has an agenda against the Steelers or not, it's time to wonder. But what he said late in the game, that he would prefer to see that type of game 16x a year, was poetic. He kept beating that drum too, even in the post-game saying this is how he hopes the playoffs are played . I took that as a message to his employer to get their weenie out of the soup and let them play ball.

Adam said...

I've had it. I've reached my tipping point. I can't stand the NFL. It's hard, because I grew up loving the Steelers, but when you've got a commissioner handing out fines and suspensions purely for the purpose of exploiting the media backlash, it's screwed up. I'm sure Harrison will get fined again just because his name is Harrison and that asshole who damn near killed Heath Miller won't get a fine simply because there ain't no one who is going to report on it/debate it on television.

The NFL is the Bleacher Report of pro sports. It's like a league built around search engine optimization, fantasy football and gambling without any real substance.

I just don't want to deal with it anymore. The NFL isn't even trying to be a sports league anymore. It's just whoring itself out to creating google-able stories.

/end conspiracy rant.

Bababooey said...

Although, I agree about the fines and suspension topics in terms of the league singling out the Steelers, we should overlook that for the moment and focus on this win.

The gutsy performance by Ben and the well timed effort by Troy were amazing. I'm really at a loss of words to describe the type of competitive character and team effort these players show. I think this team has become closer to overcome the adversity they have met from the league and their opponents. As for the game, it was just classic smash mouth football. I haven't seen that good of a game ALL year in regard to physicality, rivalry, and competitiveness. Like these teams say, "We don't like each other, but we respect each other." Anyone up for a Round 2 AFC Championship Game?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else question the two clear hits to ben's head? I thought they were clear on the fact you touch a qb's head it is a penalty! The first would be the broken nose and the second when he did his houdini-esque escape from Suggs who hit his head as well. The other clear helmet-to-helmet was when our new fb in training Kemeotu picked up the fumble and was clearly drilled with a helmet-to-helmet by a player who launched himself. Great game just looking for some feedback.

okel dokel said...

What. A. Game. This is why I love football. The Ravens are easily my least favorite team, but I respect them.

However, Coach Harbaugh's pre-game comment to the elfish Bob Costas about how his team plays within the rules and thus has not received the level of interest the Steeler have is complete bullshit. I offer the McClain, Nogota and Suggs hits as evidence that his team, like everyone else, does it.

Further, the smarmy smile he had when saying, "I am sure he will learn it," when referring to Harrison's tackling style deserves a big, fat, flying FUCK YOU! I loved that Collinsworth, someone I despise, showed in slow motion how Harrison had a text book tackle on "the great" Joe Flacco.

Ben is a man and his capacity to take abuse is unparalleled. This guy is going to have a short career.

Troy was awesome. The linebackers and d-line had a great evening. This team is truly a team.

I like the call for Grassele.

Unknown said...

@okel dokel - i was thinking the same thing when watching harbaugh's interview... what an arrogant jackass...he got his last night though.

Unknown said...

After a Steelers-Ravens game you can pretty much take all the stats, penalties, play calling, etc crumble them up in a ball and throw it in the trash. Just ask, which team made the big plays in the last four minutes? It's pretty much the Steelers every time 7 suits up against them.

So help me God if theres a mitchberger sighting this week, i'm out on the season.

Anonymous said...

Not much else you can say but this team as a team is mentally tough!!

I have to agree 100% when Cris Collinsworth is questioning whether the league has an agenda against the Steelers it is time to wonder because Chris hates Pittsburgh, with a passion!

Koz said...

Big win. Sorry to be Mr. Glass Half Empty here, but anyone else surprised/disappointed with Hines Ward this year? He is having a Derek-Jeter-like over the hill season and I'm concerned long term. It's becoming obvious this team can compete for a Super Bowl, but I'm not sure we can do it with an invisible #86. It's not just since the concussion, either. He just has seemed to age 10 years since last season.

Hines is probably my favorite offensive Steeler ever, so I'm not trying to hate here. Am I alone in my concern?

okel dokel said...


I agree about Hines. However, I did see somewhere that his numbers are down because teams are focusing on him since Holmes is gone.

They respect Wallace but not to the level of Holmes.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Every blog, board, and article I have read pretty much calls Big Ben a warrior. I wonder if that could stick as a permanent nickname?

I'm all for it.

Louis Lipps Sinks Ships said...

RE: Hines

When you make Chris Carr look like a shutdown corner, you've obviously lost a step or twelve. That said, Hines still brings a lot to the table. It looks like Manny Sanders is starting to pass him on the depth chart, at least in terms of targets, even though Hines is still the starter. If Manny plays like he has the past few weeks (minus some drops), I'm fine with the changing of the guard.

RE: Big Ben = "warrior"

Real warriors use BowTech brand archery equipment -- available at Dick's Sporting Goods and other fine retailers.

RE: Steelers fines

Every week I want to believe that the NFL wouldn't single out one team for punishment...and every week the refs/Goodell make it harder and harder to believe that.

Question: Ben's been hit plenty this year, despite missing the first 4 games. Can anyone remember one roughing the passer call in Ben's favor this season?

Bababooey said...

The real warriors are our men and women currently serving our country in the armed services. Let's not get the term "Warrior" confused with someone who plays a kid's game while getting paid an extremely high amount of money. Not hating, just saying. I'll give credit where anyone shows their mental and physical toughness, but by no means are these athletes "warriors."

Bababooey said...

That's a good question. Can't remember the last time Ben got a roughing the passer in his favor. Most likely because he's an elusive beast in the pocket.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

@ Loooooou
Super Bowl XLIII is probably the last time Ben picked up a RTP call. And that is not a joke.

@ Baba
I forgot that you are the absolute authority on everything.

Bababooey said...

Burress, I'm not trying to start anything. I just have a lot of close friends and relatives currently serving and I wanted to mention that, that's all. I apologize if you feel like I crapped on your blog post.

Anonymous said...

Quote from Ben, "The broken nose took a lot of the [foot] pain away.''

He is the man, so glad he got those first 4 weeks off, this team needs a first round bye.

I thought the best play of the game was Ben escaping Suggs on 1st down to throw the ball away. Such a great play.

Can someone redo 'The Warriors' movie poster with pictures of the team in their place?

Nate said...

Maybe we can talk The Unblockable Chris Gardocki out of retirement if we can convince him he'll be competing for another Super Bowl ring.

No matter what we do with the punting situation though, the blocking is about to look baaaaaad. Pouncey can't do it all.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

1. Andrea Kremer is certainly no Rachel Nichols!

2. After Heath Miller was (apparently) legally almost decapatated, i thought David Johnson really stepped up and had a great game. Watching that replay of that hit still makes me a little queesy.

3. Man, what a time for 'redzone' to FINALLY do something at all to deserve that nickname! That was a pretty big 'something' though!!!

5. Bring in Josh Miller! Please God, bring in my Grandma, just don't call Mitch Berger, for the love of God, don't call Mitch Berger!!!
Losing the HO-tel for what will prob be an extended period hurts real bad too... could we put 3 starting OTs on IR??? Yick

6. Yeah, B Mac was absolutely atrocious yesterday... No question goat of the day. That being said, he's still the 2nd best CB on the roster :-(

14. Not your best sad trombone. Ray wasn't any more deserving this week than any other week. I'd break the trend and give it to a member of the winning team, the afforementioned B Mac. Or a sad trombone to Big Ben's nose, cause many pittsburghers (and certainly others nationwide) feel he/his nose does not deserve sympathy.

I don't fault the refs for non-calling Ben's broken nose... let's be honest, how many of you saw that he even got hit in the head at full speed? I sure as hell didn't! When we was slow to get to the sideline after the play i thought, 'oh crap, someone must've tweaked his foot!'.

@ okel dokel - AMEN! This is how a football game is supposed to be!!!

@ Koz - yeah, this season with hines kind of reminds me of Gonchar's last season with the Pens. He looks/looked real bad this season. Then again, i thought Farrior looked too old last season and he's bounced back nicely this yr.

@ Bababooey - Thanks for point that out... People like to use the 'warrior' cliche WAAAAYYY too much. It's not like there are men and women dying overseas to preserve our freedom to bitch 'n moan about a game, right? Let's just say Ben is a tough dude and move on. Why must we always disrespect the soldiers by comparing them to professional athletes?

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Borsk said...

Listen folks, everyone respects the military. My family has a long history of service like others here so I know that it takes something special to put your life on the line.

What was I doing last night? Texting back and forth with my brother who is about to go back over for another tour of duty (doing the "Hurt Locker" job). Even he was saying Big Ben was playing like a warrior.

It's all about context. In the context of football, Big Ben is a warrior. I think that's perfectly fine. We don't thank our military enough, but I think we can dial the rhetoric down a bit.

Just my opinion. Political correction without context always irks me.

YinzerInExile said...

Just in case anyone had forgotten, words can have *multiple* meanings (yaaaaaay fun with words!)!

Per Merriam-Webster: Warrior: a man engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict

Did some of you also jump down Pat Benetar's throat over "Love Is A Battlefield"?

Nate said...

Calling an athlete a warrior is no more disrespectful to the military than calling an athlete a beast is disrespectful to animals everywhere. Seriously. Let's tone it down a bit. And while I have some strong political opinions, let's keep them out of the context of a sports blog.

Unknown said...

Huge win for the black and gold.

Anybody else love how sid and the pens are on an absolute tear?

BURGH08 said...

Ben is a warrior.

Unknown said...

Great team effort all around. Ben, the LB's and Polamalu were all great as usual. It was also great to see some of the other guys step up too. Some of you are too hard on McFadden. They only gave up 10 points! Big plays are bound to happen once in awhile.

One of the only downsides was Arian's playcalling again. The offense left a lot of points on the field and almost wasted a great effort by The WARRIOR. 1st and goal from the two yard line and they take the ball out of his hands completely??? They also had a lot of momentum killing rushing attempts throughout the game. I still don't understand why they don't throw more-- and why they don't use the no huddle more. Why not committ to what WORKS?

nuthinhere said...

I was at the game. I won't comment much about the play since everybody else did. I was actually surprised at Raven fans. They didn't say a nasty word to us and were even civil in some cases. The seats we had were 1 row away of being on the very top so they were literally nose bleed seats. Its a pretty good stadium to football though. You can see the field clearly, even from the thin oxygen seats. The Raven fans kept chanting "No means no" which amused me for some reason. They are also much harder on there own team than they were on the Steelers. Anyway it was a damn entertaining game and I got out of Baltimore with out getting shot by Omar (ref. The Wire).

nuthinhere said...

Oh, one more thing. It was bitterly cold and I'm now a middle age wimp who can't handle it. I think my lungs froze shut.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I have nothing but respect for our men and women at arms. But I don't think suggesting that as a nickname could be taken as offensive. I wasn't saying what Ben did is remotely as heroic as our soldiers.

With the logic I have seen here, should we go back and change history? I mean, maybe this is insensitive, but "A Nigthmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Civilians" just doesn't have the same ring.

Dirty Sanchez said...

I too was at the game, and I'm officially too old to be doing that. My face has been red ever since from windburn. It was fun and the Ravens fans weren't too bad for the most part (wearing my Ben jersey probably didn't help) but other than the "No means No" chants, it was civil. But being at the game meant that we had no idea that Ben's nose was broken, or Miller got a concussion, or why Suisham was punting, etc etc. There's something to be said for sitting on your ass at home with a big TV, instant reply, a bathroom, and beer that doesn't cost $7.50 per.

And my take on the "warrior" debate - I was in the military and I don't think vets have exclusive license to that name (as evidenced by my bitching about the cold weather). Athletes can be warriors, inner city teachers can be warriors, kids fighting cancer can be warriors. Let's settle down with the Palin-esque flag waving and indignation.