Baltimore Ravens

Live Blog: AFC Playoffs – Ravens at Steelers: War Machines

Hey, this might be the best game of the weekend.

Ravens. Steelers. DUCK FOR COVER!

4:28 – This game was just too good pass up. My only concern is having to type the word punt a lot, which I feel may happen.

4:29 – Paging Mr. Lewis…Paging Mr. Ray Lewis…

4:32 – I don’t know if you’ve figured this out but the Steelers and Ravens are really good on defense.

FIRST QUARTER

4:36 – A Lardarius Webb 52-yard return sets up Baltimore near midfield. However, it appears Webb’s elbow was down…and we have a challenge.

4:40 – Tomlin wins the challenge. The payoff? A net 14 yards of field position. Tomlin is not taking any chances today.

4:41 – Tight end screen alert. Heap brings it into Steelers territory. Here’s a challenge for teams during the offseason, do some homework on that tight end throwback play. It works way too much.

4:43 – Ravens drive ends on an incomplete throw to Todd Heap, who apparently is the only player able to get open for Baltimore besides Ray Rice, who is battling a flu bug.

4:46 – We have our first skirmish and personal foul on Hines Ward (!). Thanks to all of the mouthy nonsense coming out of Baltimore and New York this week, the extra nonsense is not going to fly this weekend.

4:49 – Big Ben goes to work on the Ravens secondary and we already get a pass interference call against Baltimore. The deep throw/penalty lands the Steelers into Baltimore territory.

4:51 – Ben runs head first as he realizes the Ravens may not be able to pressure him without using a blitz. Oh boy.

4:53 – WOW. Ed Reed rejects Rashard Mendenhall at the goal line.

4:54 – No such luck on the second try. Mendenhall scores to get Pitt on the board. As you would suspect, some big wood being delivered towards paydirt.

STEELERS 7, RAVENS 0

4:57 – Hey Joe, you might want to locate your wide receivers on this drive. Just sayin’.

5:00 – On cue, Flacco finds Derrick Mason but he is flagged for offensive pass interference. In the meantime, we have our first casualty of the game…Ike Taylor got blasted by teammate Ryan Clark in an effort to stop Mason.

5:04 – Baltimore barely pretending to run the ball at this point…can’t balme them.

5:05 – Of course, as soon as I type that, Baltimore counters with consecutive runs.

5:07 – We have our first Anquan Boldin target of the day…an incomplete pass. After the play, CBS replays an Ike Taylor headbutt of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Well, did you expect anything less from this game?

5:09 – Another Boldin target and another incompletion. Third and long for the Ravens…not where they want to be.

5:10 – That is until the Ravens get bailed out with a DPI on Anthony Madison. The league needs to change that to a 15-yard penalty. It will never happen though because it might reduce scoring.

5:11 – The rare rushing score on Pittsburgh as Ray Rice drops a shoulder on Polamalu and heads to the house from 14 yards away. Love this game so far.

STEELERS 7, RAVENS 7

5:14 – Back to the headbutt for a moment. Was there a better headbutter than Bobo Brazil? A very dated reference…I know this.

5:17 – The Ravens hit Roethlisberger jar the ball loose and return it for a score. Too bad no one realized it was a fumble right away. Cory Redding does the honors for Baltimore.

5:18 – That’s a fumble but Coach Tomlin calls for another challenge. ESPN’s Michael Smith accurately sums up my feeling on this play.

http://twitter.com/#!/MrMichael_Smith/status/26402621614981120

Steeler offensive linemen…PICK UP THE BALL!!!

5:21 – Pittsburgh loses its challenge and is now out of challenges for the game.

RAVENS 14, STEELERS 7

Baltimore gets a cheapy score for its second TD in 27 seconds.

5:24 – That is the end of a rather action packed first quarter. Good times.

END OF 1ST: RAVENS 14, STEELERS 7

5:26 – Time for a quick word from our sponsors.

SECOND QUARTER

5:27 – Bad sequence for Pittsburgh. A Ngata sack of Ben and then on third and long, he airmails a pass to Mike Wallace.

5:28 – Pittsburgh’s D needs to go to work.

5:32 – Boldin makes a catch but is tackled immediately. This does not seem to be a Boldin game.

5:34 – Punt time for the Ravens after an unsuccessful screen to Rice. Emmanuel Sanders catches the punt inside the 10 for some reason and as starts the return, yellow litters the field. It’s an illegal block in the back and another mental error by Pittsburgh.

5:41 – A Rashard Mendenhall fumble gives Baltimore the ball inside the Steeler 20. Wow. This is a tragic comedy for Pittsburgh in the first half.

5:45 – A pivotal sequence coming on goal to go. Game Manager Joe fires one out of the back of the end zone. Third and goal. Ravens need six here to really put the screws to Pitt.

5:47 – Heap Heap Hooray.

RAVENS 21, STEELERS 7

5:49 – Balt’s defense can’t letdown. They have their collective foot on Pittsburgh’s throat. Time to keep the energy going.

5:52 – Pittsburgh’s offensive line collapses. A T-Sizzle sack.

5:54 – How does one use the hurry-up and still get called for a delay of game penalty? Brutal first half by Pittsburgh.

5:55 – It’s rather interesting that neither Lewis or Polamalu are having much of an impact on this game.

5:59 – Here we go…Steelers mounting a drive to break Baltimore momentum.

6:02 – Pitt acts like they’ll go on 4th and 7 but it’s a rouse as they call a timeout.

6:04 – And…Shawn Suisham misses it. That collective noise you hear is panic running through the streets of Pittsburgh.

HALFTIME: RAVENS 21, STEELERS 7

THIRD QUARTER

6:20 – We’ll start off this second half with a tweet from the illustrious Peter King:

http://twitter.com/#!/SI_PeterKing/status/26417742936539136

6:23 – Another sack on Roethlisberger. Just too many third and long situations for the Steelers.

6:27 – Where have you heard this before during a playoff game? Defense needs to force a turnover…well, they sack Flacco so that’s a start.

6:28 – Wow. A Ray Rice fumble. I’m good!

6:30 – Wiiiiide open. A Heath Miller touchdown. Not only do the Steelers get a touchdown, they don’t have to work for it thanks to the turnover.

RAVENS 21, STEELERS 14

6:34 – Here comes the tough part for an offensive coordinator.

Which tact will Cam Cameron take?

A. Try to back into the win and play it safe.

B. Throw caution to the wind with Flacco.

C. Pray the Baltimore defense forces another turnover deep in Pitt territory.

D. Both A and C.

My guess is D.

6:37 – Well, at least they called a pass on first down. Harrison with the sack for Pittsburgh.

6:38 – Attention all Ravens fans…go into the bedroom…hide under the covers. I don’t think you’re going to like what happens next. Punt time for Baltimore.

6:42 – Pittsburgh crossing midfield…

6:47 – Pittsburgh’s drive stalls. Punt time. The city of Baltimore breathes a heavy sigh of relief.

6:50 – Too many penalties in this game. At this moment, 11 penalties for 135 yards total have been dished out. Feels like 50 penalties for 500 yards.

6:51 – As mentioned earlier, this game is out of Flacco’s pay grade. Pittsburgh INT. Ryan Clark should have called for a fair catch.

6:56 – Roethlisberger to Ward. An eight-yard rocket. Tie game.

RAVENS 21, STEELERS 21

6:59 – The officials really don’t like James Harrison. He gets mugged consistently in this game. No flags.

7:00 – Another Ravens turnover. Flacco fumbles the snap. Pittsburgh ball.

7:04 – That 15 minutes of football may cost the Ravens a berth in the AFC title game.

END OF 3RD: RAVENS 21, STEELERS 21

FOURTH QUARTER

7:07 – Steelers nearly convert on a 3rd and 11, falling a yard short. Now, they want to go for it on 4th and 1.

7:08 – Roethlisberger at the last second on the play clock opts for the sneak.

7:10 – Finally! A Baltimore defender makes a play. Suggs with a third down sack.

7:11 – Pitt calls Suisham’s number for a 35-yard FG attempt, which he bangs through.

STEELERS 24, RAVENS 21

7:14 – Now, the Ravens finally start running on first down.

7:18 – 3rd and 11 near midfield for Baltimore…THROW IT AWAY JOE!!!!! Instead, he decided to run out of bounds to take an eight-yard loss.

7:24 – Huge three and out forced by Baltimore.

7:27 – Webb takes it to the house from 55 yards away on a punt return…BUT…HOLDING against Baltimore.  Wow.

7:29 – The Ravens have to score a TD here. Must have.

7:30 – And they don’t get it. Boldin drops a TD in the end zone. I mean, Baltimore is doing what they can to lose this. By the way, Cundiff kicks a FG for the tie.

STEELERS 24, RAVENS 24

7:36 – It’s almost painful watching Pittsburgh’s line pass protect for Ben.

7:39 – Oh man, Sanders got a safety sandwich including from Reed and now, a third and 19.

7:40 – Isn’t Jared from Subway’s 15 minutes of fame over yet?

7:41 – OOHHHHHH! What a throw by Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown.  They convert a 3rd and 19 down to the Raven 4 with a 58-yard gain.

7:47 – A Ravens penalty sets up a goal to go for the Steelers from the 1.

7:50 – Mendenhall scores…barely. However, a personal foul penalty was called on Chris Keomatu, which will be issued on the kickoff.

STEELERS 31, RAVENS 24

7:53 – Oh sweet lord. That penalty allows Baltimore to open the drive in Pittsburgh 48.

7:55 – Ravens allow their fifth sack, which sets up the game-deciding 4th and 18.

7:57 – Flacco hits Houshmandzadeh between the 8 and the 4. He drops it. The end.

7:59 – Ben takes a knee to end it.  The Steelers survive.

FINAL: PITTSBURGH 31, BALTIMORE 24

Summary: What was more spectacular? Pittsburgh’s comeback or Baltimore’s collapse.

The Ravens had their collective foot on Pittsburgh’s throat and not only let them breathe but allowed them to get up off the ground to knock them out.

Meanwhile, Joe Flacco once again showed that he has a lot of growing and improving to do before jumping into the upper echelon of quarterbacks.

That was easily the worst loss in Baltimore’s relatively short playoff history.

As for the Roethlisberger to Brown throw to setup the game-winning TD, Deion Sanders probably had the best response on Twitter.

http://twitter.com/#!/DeionSanders/status/26439359729238016

Pittsburgh will take their remains into the AFC Championship game to face New England or to host the Jets.

We’ll close it out with AC/DC!

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