View Full Version : Looking at the Steelers-Ravens game

12-28-2009, 06:11 AM
Looking at the Steelers-Ravens game
December 28, 6:30 AMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski

PITTSBURGH - Not dead yet.

Those were the words of Steeler coach Mike Tomlin following the Steelers 23-20 win over the Ravens Sunday.

On a day that saw the all time season attendance mark fall, a day in which quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went over 4,000 yards passing, and a day where Rashard Mendenhall hit the 1,000 yard rushing mark, the Steelers found a way to keep their slim playoff hopes alive by playing Steeler football.

“We never quit, we never gave up on ourselves,” receiver Mike Wallace said. “We’re going out there and playing to the end. Every single game we have played in this year, we could be 12-0, 8-7, 0-15, every single game we have been in it until the last minute. Today we closed things out.”

It’s something the Steelers have had problems doing all season long, but against the Ravens the defense was stellar, especially in the fourth quarter as they pitched shutout ball.

Because Jacksonville and Denver lost on Sunday, the Steelers Wild Card hopes have become very complex, but still remain. They need the Bengals to beat the Jets on Sunday night, and for the New England Patriots to down Houston, which is hungry for its first post season berth ever.

The team also has to beat Miami on the road.

“All I know we don’t have a chance unless we win,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “We can’t think about what can happen or who needs to win, all we need to think about is winning ourselves, because if we don’t do that none of it is possible.”

The interesting thing is that seven of the AFC’s teams enter the final week of the regular season with a shot at the two Wild Cards including the Steelers.

“This team knows we control our own destiny, and with the opportunity these teams have given us, we are going to take full opportunity of it,” Santonio Holmes said. “And if that means every team thinks we are out of the playoffs with our record, we’re not. We want to go back to the Super Bowl again.”

NOTEBOOK: MENDEN’S HAUL – With his touchdown run in the second quarter, Rashard Mendenhall hit the 1,000 yard rushing plateau in just his second season and first as a full time player. He is the seventh different running back in team history to reach the 1,000 yard mark.

Impressive yes, but the second year back still needs some advice from the good hands people.

LOGANS’ RUN - Stefan Logan set a team record for most yards in a season via returns breaking Ernie Mills mark, set in 1995. Logan, who came to the Steelers via the Canadian Football League now has 1,398 on the year.

RICE BURNER – Although the Steelers defense came up big when it needed to, Ravens running back Ray Rice had a huge game at Heinz Field on Sunday racing for 146 yards.

“The offensive line does a great job. I just find the creases and hit them,” Rice said. “I call myself ‘patient.’ You have to be patient, you have to know when to hit creases, and you have to know when to run plays in certain ways. I give credit to my offensive line for getting me through there. Once I get to the second level, it’s all on me”

RENEGADE - The past few weeks there has been much written that James Farrior is over the hill. His interception Sunday, the first for the Steelers defense in seven games, of Joe Flacco seemed to spark the team.

“It was great to see him pull it down. It would have been even greater if he would have scored,” linebacker LaMarr Woodley said. “But the good thing is the defense was finally able to get a turnover. We were able to put our offense in good field position.”

Tomlin called it making plays at significant moments, something the team had been having trouble doing as of late. Farrior’s return put the Steelers in great field position.

WOODLEY’S WORLD - Ike Taylor recovered a fumble, and also had a sack, James Harrison was all over the field. When it came to crunch time, it was LaMarr Woodley’s turn to take things over. On the day, the linebacker had seven tackles. His play on the Raven’s final series was a reason the Steelers are still in the playoff hunt. He recorded two sacks, and now has 11.5 on the year.

“I’m always looking to be the guy,” Woodley said after. “I felt like, during runs, they were going to come at James a little bit [by] putting the tackle over there, [and] during play action plays, they were going to double-team me. James went out there and played an excellent game even though he was hurt. It didn’t seem like he was hurt. He did a great job putting pressure on the quarterback.”

60 MINUTE MAN - The Steelers have some big playmakers in Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward. Rookie Mike Wallace has been one of them.

“I’m out there to make plays whenever given opportunities,” Wallace said. “I’m just having fun and not worrying about anything except trying to make plays for the team.”

On Sunday he averaged 27 yards per catch, and had 83 yards.

“He’s done a great job every week he keeps impressing,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “He keeps getting better, and like I said the sky is the limit for him.”

12-28-2009, 10:53 AM
Isn't it kind of funny how Woodley got off to a very slow start at the beginning of the season and he now leads the team in sacks with 11 1/2? Great job Woodley and way to keep fighting!