Steelers Retire Greene, Ravens In Huge Win: Instant Reaction
The Pittsburgh Steelers went toe to toe with the much hated Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night at Heinz Field. A magical and emotional evening between halves turned into a charged and emotionally fueled game throughout. At the end of the evening, either the Steelers or the Ravens were either going to have the most wins in the AFC North or be at the bottom of the basement. Well the Steelers are looking over and waving after pushing the Ravens off the cliff. Hope there’s a pillow to land on at the bottom. Mean Joe Greene was probably grinning from ear to ear.
It wasn’t all smiles. The Steelers defense opened up strong by not giving up points on an opening drive for only the second time this season. The offense had an opportunity to start strong and make a statement. However, Ben was slightly off on some throws, the wide receivers dropped some passes that hit their hands, and the offensive line could not hold back the Ravens if they put up median barriers. It took until the 4th offensive series before the Steelers would get their first down. Poor field position for numerous series also didn’t help the cause. The offensive struggle continued throughout the first quarter and into part of the second. At one point the Ravens racked up three straight sacks. It looked as if it was going to be another one of “those” nights.
The first momentum swing went the Steelers way when Arthur Moats caused a fumble that was recovered by Brice McCain. The ensuing drive resulted in a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Le’Veon Bell in the end zone for the Steelers first points of the game. The Steelers began to roll after that, and despite a few dips in performance, rarely looked back once they were up. The line played better, the receivers were running crisper routes. Big Ben took a shot to the jaw and had to stretch things out with his mouth. If you were on Twitter at all during that span, you saw some of the funniest tweets to come out about Roethlisberger – Popeye being one of them. But, I would have to say that the pipe smoking picture was my favorite.
The defense, who struggled so much this season and in recent seasons past to hold a 2nd half lead did just that on Sunday. James Harrison was all over the place causing problems in the backfield for Flacco. Harrison finished the night with two sacks. He pressured Flacco frequently and pounded him into the ground. He forced an errant throw that ended up in the hands of Jason Worilds for an interception. The Steelers offense responded with a touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant. Since that moment, Flacco heard footsteps and saw ghosts all night. He looked spooked, uncomfortable, and really could not settle in and consistently hit his receivers. The nation did get to witness a few patented Joe Flacco “Throw It Up” passes in hopes for DPI, but the secondary (nor the refs) never bit on that ploy.
Nov 2, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Joe Greene in a ceremony to retire his number during halftime of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
The Steelers took control of the second half. The defense held. The offense continued to move the ball. It wasn’t as pretty as the game against the Colts, but the Steelers scored almost three times the amount points they usually do against the Ravens. The down field stuff is still working – someone needs to stroke Haley’s ego a bit to ensure that he doesn’t toss this most recent playbook in the trash for his old one. The pressure on defense is working too. While the combinations seem strange and rarely make sense with all the substitutions and shifting that goes on in the front 7, it WAS working for the most part on Sunday night. Props to Dick LeBeau for not making like a turtle and hiding in a defensive shell when they had a sizable lead. That is the way to beat the Ravens – put pressure on Flacco, make him fold, then let the offense aggressively move the ball downfield.
The clock struck :00 and the Steelers came away with a huge win that now puts them near the top of the AFC North and right in the middle of any kind of playoff talk. One game is luck, two games is a trend, but three is a statement. And, what a statement to make with what could arguably be the “meat” of their schedule. Sad to say that the following game against the Jets should be considered a trap game. The Steelers are obviously an improved team and better than Sexy Rexy and Mike Vick. Hopefully the Steelers don’t play down to their competition this time around and keep the win streak going.
Yes, it was a truly special night for the Steelers and Steeler Nation. Mean Joe Greene has his number retired, and that nostalgia fueled the current Steelers to a huge win over their rivals.
Other Notables from Sunday:
Cortez Allen was replaced by Brice McCain and Antwon Blake. Blake was targeted frequently near the end of the game when the Ravens could have climbed their way back, but Blake held his own.
Ben Roethlisberger has now throw 12 TD’s in 8 quarters of play. An NFL record I hear – there’s so many that we just never hear about, eh? Also along with those 12 TD’s – zero interceptions. Just superb and brilliant play by Big Ben when Haley let’s him throw down field and move a bit in that pocket. Truly Top 5. Truly elite.
Terrell Suggs is complete trash. While LeGarrette Blount was stood up in a pile while trying to run the ball, Suggs (who was well out of the play) turn back to the pile and went low right at Blount’s knees. It was a dirty play. The refs were completely wrong to not eject the man who looks like a giant penis. I hope the NFL fines his sorry ass for taking this rivalry beyond the spirit of the game. He continued to try and stir up the pot as the game went on. The Steelers responded with some hits of their own and points on the scoreboard. Suggs went home packing but with a smile on his face – guess someone needs to tell him his team is at the bottom of the AFC North.