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lamberts-lost-tooth
01-05-2009, 08:59 AM
Ravens rematch ahead
Monday, January 05, 2009
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


At the risk of violating Mike Tomlin's most sacred rule -- sorry, coach -- let's look ahead and ponder a couple of delicious questions:

How would you like another Steelers-Baltimore Ravens matchup at Heinz Field in the AFC championship game Jan. 18?

And:

Are you ready for a little more bounty talk and Spitgate revisited?

It's going to happen.

Write it down.

Wild-card weekend couldn't have turned out much better for the Steelers. Because of the results, they get a relatively weak opponent -- the San Diego Chargers -- at home Sunday in their first playoff game and won't have to go to Tennessee for the AFC title game. The Baltimore Ravens are going to take out the Titans Saturday.

Write that down, too.

The Chargers did the Steelers a favor Saturday by beating the dangerous Indianapolis Colts, 23-17, in overtime, thanks, in large part, to two defensive holding penalties and a facemask personal foul against the Colts on the Chargers' winning drive. Better that the Chargers come to Heinz Field -- especially if injured star running back LaDainian Tomlinson can't play -- than the Colts with the great Peyton Manning.

Then yesterday, the Ravens embarrassed the overmatched Miami Dolphins, 27-9. Clearly, they are better right now than the AFC's top-seeded Titans. Heck, they just might be good enough to beat the Steelers at Heinz Field, but who wants to waste time worrying about that now?

I'm going to cite Tomlin's don't-look-ahead rule on that one.

You can argue a home game Sunday against the Dolphins would have been the Steelers' easiest path to the conference championship game, and I won't disagree. The Dolphins were the worst of the AFC teams playing this past weekend. We also lose a little entertainment value with the Chargers as the opponent. It would have been great fun watching Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter squawking at Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker.

Oh, well.

What's important is that the Chargers also are a lesser team than the Steelers. They were an 8-8 club that made the playoffs only because the Denver Broncos gagged down the stretch. I don't buy that they're hot at the right time with five consecutive wins. I might buy it if Tomlinson were healthy, but he left the Colts game early with what appears to be a serious groin injury. It's hard to imagine backup Darren Sproles running for 100 yards against the Steelers the way he did against the Colts. Certainly, there's no way he gets 178 yards in kickoff and punt return yardage against the Steelers' coverage units.

Philip Rivers is a fine quarterback, better than fine if you look at his NFL-best 105.5 passer rating and 34 touchdown passes. But he struggled big-time in an 11-10 loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field Nov. 16. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison had interceptions and Harrison sacked Rivers for a safety. Rivers' passer rating was a season-low 44.4. It didn't help that, even with Tomlinson, the Chargers rushed for just 66 yards.

The Steelers, meanwhile, had one of their better offensive days, although you wouldn't know it by the score. They had the ball for a season-best 36 minutes, 31 seconds. Roethlisberger threw for 308 yards with no interceptions. Parker ran for 115 yards on 25 carries. Wide receiver Hines Ward had 11 catches for 124 yards. Blame the Steelers' season-high 13 penalties for 115 yards and tip your hat to the Chargers for keeping the outcome in doubt by sacking Roethlisberger four times and stopping running back Mewelde Moore on fourth-and-goal at the San Diego 1. But the Chargers won't be able to survive that kind of domination Sunday.

So, as long as the game doesn't come down to the punters ...

Did you see the way the Chargers' Mike Scifres kept pinning back the Colts?

I'll still take the Steelers despite Scifres' edge over Mitch Berger.

Here's one final thing to write down:

This isn't the last time you'll be seeing Berger's name in the paper. He'll be front and center in the news when the Steelers and Ravens play in the AFC championship game because he accused the Ravens' Frank Walker of spitting in his face in their game in Baltimore Dec. 14. So will Ward, the object of any number of bounties over the years by the Ravens players.

I can hardly wait.

Sorry, coach Tomlin.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09005/939647-87.stm

Vincent
01-05-2009, 09:13 AM
"That's why they play the games". And the last time we "looked past" the Bolts in a playoff scenario, we watched the SB on TV.

But a Stillers / rats III seems inevitable. And we did beat the rats (when they were the stains) thrice in '94. Bolts. rats. This is spooky.

The rats' defense looked scary yesterday.

KeiselPower99
01-05-2009, 09:28 AM
Of the possible choices Im not sure which one is the lesser team. Tennessee whooped us with a backup dline and the Rats always play us tough and we did beat them twice on down to the wire games. Kinda still wish Miami would have won so I can cheer for the Chargers to beat the Titans and for us to have an easier path to Tampa.

Crow-Magnon
01-05-2009, 10:55 AM
That was a good read.

As much as I'd like to look past Tennessee, I can't. It's going to be a battle. I just hope Collins has flashbacks to Super Bowl Sunday of 2001 and the rest of the Titans have the same for the AFC Championship two weeks prior.

Nothing would please me more than a Steelers-Ravens rematch for the AFC Conference title. That would most likely outclass any SB match-up and would be the game of the year to watch.

Good luck against San Diego but don't look past them, either. One game at a time.

Jammer
01-05-2009, 11:04 AM
we would like to play the Rats at the Q :)

The Duke
01-05-2009, 11:39 AM
I want another steelers-ravens game so bad!!

Can't beat them 3 times a season? BS!!

Let's embarrass them for the 3rd time this season!! Another 4th quarter comeback!!

but on to san diego....

stlrz fan
01-05-2009, 03:50 PM
Not taking the Chargers lightly but I would rather spend a week recovering from playing them than the Titans. Hopefully if we face Baltimore the Titans will have played them hard and worn them down a little bit. Thank goodness for the bye going in on fresh legs. A Baltimore-Pittsburgh Championship game would be historic.

nickelbolt
01-05-2009, 04:04 PM
I do like that the Chargers are playing with zero pressure right now.

LT was only close to 100% healthy for 4 games this season. He was real big factor in the Denver game, but other than that... the offense has run through Rivers all year. Had Norv played Sproles early on, this team probably would have won 2-3 more regular season games.

So if this is an 11-5 or 10-6 Chargers team coming in without LT... would this article be any different? The Chargers would still be thought of as the weakest of the remaining teams.

This writer gives no regard to the improved Chargers D. That's the key to this game. The offense will run essentially the same, but with MORE firepower than last time the teams met. If the defense can hold that running game in check, Ben will not shred the secondary like he did last time.

Seriously. Forget about LT. He may have been a "key" for the defense, but Sproles is more explosive and way more likely to score on a big play than LT has been all season.

I'm sure the Steelers players know all of this. Just thought I'd point it out to those who may not have watched every Chargers game like I have.

Burghfan58
01-05-2009, 04:27 PM
I want another steelers-ravens game so bad!!

Can't beat them 3 times a season? BS!!

Let's embarrass them for the 3rd time this season!! Another 4th quarter comeback!!

but on to san diego....

I'd prfer they didn't wait till the fourth quarter. Too hard on the nerves and blood pressure.:tt03:

Vincent
01-05-2009, 04:29 PM
Can't beat them 3 times a season? BS!!

Yes, history agrees with you. 3 times in 94 as the stains. And do you recall who was their coach? None other than Coach Cowher's then boy, the emerging bellicheat. :rofl:

It can happen again. Man it'd be a brutal game. :duel::injured::bash:

And we beat the new stains thrice in 2002. :tt:

Steelerstrength
01-05-2009, 04:39 PM
I do like that the Chargers are playing with zero pressure right now.

LT was only close to 100% healthy for 4 games this season. He was real big factor in the Denver game, but other than that... the offense has run through Rivers all year. Had Norv played Sproles early on, this team probably would have won 2-3 more regular season games.

So if this is an 11-5 or 10-6 Chargers team coming in without LT... would this article be any different? The Chargers would still be thought of as the weakest of the remaining teams.

This writer gives no regard to the improved Chargers D. That's the key to this game. The offense will run essentially the same, but with MORE firepower than last time the teams met. If the defense can hold that running game in check, Ben will not shred the secondary like he did last time.

Seriously. Forget about LT. He may have been a "key" for the defense, but Sproles is more explosive and way more likely to score on a big play than LT has been all season.

I'm sure the Steelers players know all of this. Just thought I'd point it out to those who may not have watched every Chargers game like I have.

Let's see how explosive he is in a predicted high of 23 degrees! A little guy can get pretty beat-up by a hard-hitting D, to add to his already very sore body. He was fantastic vs the undersized ponies! But soreness & cold weather vs our D is a scenario that favors Steel.

Good luck!

nickelbolt
01-05-2009, 05:16 PM
Let's see how explosive he is in a predicted high of 23 degrees! A little guy can get pretty beat-up by a hard-hitting D, to add to his already very sore body. He was fantastic vs the undersized ponies! But soreness & cold weather vs our D is a scenario that favors Steel.

Good luck!

Everything favors the Steelers.

Everything would still favor the Steelers even if LT was 100%.

That's my point.

Sore or not... Sproles will still be the most explosive, big play back we have.

Like I said... no pressure.

The Chargers are 6 point dogs.

SteelersinCA
01-05-2009, 05:24 PM
Everything favors the Steelers.

Everything would still favor the Steelers even if LT was 100%.

That's my point.

Sore or not... Sproles will still be the most explosive, big play back we have.

Like I said... no pressure.

The Chargers are 6 point dogs.

I know it's easy to say there is no pressure because they are underdogs and no one thought they deserved to be here, but they didn't look like they we're playing carefree football. They were methodical and meticulous. I don't recall many deep threats or gambles at all.

This is the playoffs, there is plenty of pressure on both sides.

westcoastransplant
01-05-2009, 05:29 PM
I would like another crack at the Titans in Nashville. Revenge would be nice. Plus, even though I know the Steelers can do it, but beating a team like the Ratbirds 3 times would be difficult.

nickelbolt
01-05-2009, 05:34 PM
I know it's easy to say there is no pressure because they are underdogs and no one thought they deserved to be here, but they didn't look like they we're playing carefree football. They were methodical and meticulous. I don't recall many deep threats or gambles at all.

This is the playoffs, there is plenty of pressure on both sides.

True. Guess I'm just speaking more from a media/fan perspective. And believe me, these Chargers seemed to have believed their own hype a little too much this season. It was only when people wrote them off that they appeared to rally and play with some passion & pride.

So in that regard, I can only hope they're reading and hearing all of the talk. Maybe they'll buckle down and not party at the bars before the game. Apparently this had been a problem earlier in the season. And they played like they were hungover too.

SteelersinCA
01-05-2009, 05:37 PM
True. Guess I'm just speaking more from a media/fan perspective. And believe me, these Chargers seemed to have believed their own hype a little too much this season. It was only when people wrote them off that they appeared to rally and play with some passion & pride.

So in that regard, I can only hope they're reading and hearing all of the talk. Maybe they'll buckle down and not party at the bars before the game. Apparently this had been a problem earlier in the season. And they played like they were hungover too.

Yeah what's up with that? I read those articles in the paper. There are some good bars in Pitt if they are interested, I'm sure we could arrange for a few cases of Yuengling to show up at the hotel.

nickelbolt
01-05-2009, 05:44 PM
Yeah what's up with that? I read those articles in the paper. There are some good bars in Pitt if they are interested, I'm sure we could arrange for a few cases of Yuengling to show up at the hotel.

:laughing:

I was pissed, but not surprised at the articles.

I had heard from some "sources" that Chargers players were partying pretty hard in San Diego as well as on the road.

The KC game (we won) was where the report surfaced in the paper. But it was pretty vague. Could have just been a group of guys out to dinner on Friday night prior to the Sunday game. Didn't state names of player, names of bars, etc. Just that a group of Chargers players was seen out at "hotspots" in KC.

The reports I heard from the sources said they love "Hard Rock" hotels & places like that. Also said they booze pretty hard.

Not sure if this is still the case, but apparently they're working harder now at least.

TeeJay
01-05-2009, 05:55 PM
(No disrespect to The Chargers.....and no respect to the RatBirds....)

But, if there is any justice in this World, it'll be a Steeler v Titan AFC Championship.

The Tits didn't just offend The Towel, Pittsburgh or The Steeler Nation. They disrespected the memory of Myron Cope. And THAT is unforgiveable.

And it'll never, NEVER be forgotten, nor forgiven.

Revenge is Black and Gold, and unrelenting. It may not be this year, but it won't stop until Titan Blue is the new Cleveland Brown, or Bungle Orange - just another Steeler's Bitch.

(And yes, I do own several Towels - One untouched, still with the labels etc, that's going to be framed, and one that accompanies me everywhere.....that's been waved to near threadbare! - Yup, I wave it whilst listening to The Steelers Radio Network......better reception than AFN ever was!)

HometownGal
01-05-2009, 06:18 PM
While I would love to play the Rats again in our house, I think I'd like to trample the Tites into the ground more and knock their arrogant asses into the following week.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

TeeJay
01-05-2009, 06:30 PM
Revenge is a dish best served cold.


With fries and a beer....and a Ring to throw in for good measure :thumbsup: :tt03:

steelers3131
01-05-2009, 07:24 PM
I'm not sure, they still have to get past Tennessee and I'd love to play either of them again. Read this crap:

http://www.examiner.com/x-1089-Baltimore-Sports-Examiner~y2009m1d5-Harrison-wins-DPOY-Reed-shut-out

sdnunes
01-05-2009, 07:49 PM
I'm not sure, they still have to get past Tennessee and I'd love to play either of them again. Read this crap:

http://www.examiner.com/x-1089-Baltimore-Sports-Examiner~y2009m1d5-Harrison-wins-DPOY-Reed-shut-out


I always wonder why people point to playoff performances when talking about regular season awards. Here in SD I don't know how many times I've heard people rave about Scifres' performance against the Colts and then say "why didn't he make the pro bowl?"

westcoastransplant
01-05-2009, 07:52 PM
I'm not sure, they still have to get past Tennessee and I'd love to play either of them again. Read this crap:

http://www.examiner.com/x-1089-Baltimore-Sports-Examiner~y2009m1d5-Harrison-wins-DPOY-Reed-shut-out

The guy use to be the Ratbirds beat writer for the Baltimore Sun so I can see why he would say this. Bringing up Reeds game yesterday is pointless since they don't take postseason play into acount.

The Duke
01-05-2009, 08:17 PM
Yes, history agrees with you. 3 times in 94 as the stains. And do you recall who was their coach? None other than Coach Cowher's then boy, the emerging bellicheat. :rofl:

It can happen again. Man it'd be a brutal game. :duel::injured::bash:

And we beat the new stains thrice in 2002. :tt:

See, that's the spirit :tt02:

It would be fun to kill those ratbirds again

markymarc
01-06-2009, 07:21 AM
I always wonder why people point to playoff performances when talking about regular season awards. Here in SD I don't know how many times I've heard people rave about Scifres' performance against the Colts and then say "why didn't he make the pro bowl?"

There is no question he showed up big time in the Colts playoff game. It will be interesting to see how he does in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

revefsreleets
01-06-2009, 10:51 AM
This is a toughie.

A) I'm glad to play the Chargers again. The score of the earlier game was not indicative as to how dominant we were. I'd like to whoop them up good.
B) Rats: They are evil, and I'd like nothing more than to completely crush their spirits by beating them 3 times and knocking them out of the playoffs. Like the Browns, it's that kind of thing that really gets into a teams head and makes them believe that they are simply inferior. It could set up a nice long run of us owning them. However...
C) The Titans beat us and they'll always have that "Well, we were the better team no matter what Pittsburgh did" thing if we don't get revenge. We already beat the filthy rats twice, and we DO owe the Tits their comeupance, so, all in all, I'd say beating the Bolts and Tits is the preferred path to Tampa.

Vincent
01-06-2009, 08:49 PM
See, that's the spirit :tt02:

It would be fun to kill those ratbirds again

@#$% the rats. I watched the 2nd game again last night. :helmet: We can take them. :helmet:

HometownGal
01-06-2009, 09:07 PM
There is no question he showed up big time in the Colts playoff game. It will be interesting to see how he does in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

He'd better hope he can keep that foot warm. It's going to be bone chilling cold in the Burgh on Sunday come kickoff.

markymarc
01-07-2009, 07:20 AM
He'd better hope he can keep that foot warm. It's going to be bone chilling cold in the Burgh on Sunday come kickoff.

No doubt about that. And hopefully that means Scifres will not have a good game punting.

Steelers & I
01-07-2009, 07:44 AM
I want the Ravens again. As I've already said, NO OTHER TEAM cranks up the Steelers players like the Ravens do. Besides, Jeff Fisher has been pretty successful versus the Steelers while the Steelers have basically owned the Ravens. So, Tennessee, revenge? I think that the Ravens knocking the #1 seed Titans out of the playoffs is revenge enough.

The Steelers can't always be the tough guy that "exacts the punishment". Just like the New York Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Revenge is sweet, no matter who imposes it.