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mesaSteeler
01-16-2011, 12:26 AM
Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: vs. Ravens
Sunday, January 16, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
The Steelers' Rashard Mendenhall carries as he's defended by the Ravens Ed Reed and Josh Wilson in the third quarter at Heinz Field Saturday.
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11016/1118464-66.stm

Game ball goes to: S Ryan Clark

It's hard to pick against OLB James Harrison, who had three of the Steelers' five sacks and two passes defensed. But it was Clark who made the big plays that started the second-half turnaround, starting with a hit on RB Ray Rice that forced a fumble and led to a touchdown that made it 21-14. Two series later, Clark intercepted a Flacco pass on first down and returned the pick 17 yards to the Ravens 25, setting up the tying touchdown. "The forced fumble kind of got us going," Clark said. "The big thing is, we scored touchdowns. They didn't hold us to field goals."

X's and O's

Antonio Brown's longest catch was 26 yards in the regular-season finale in Cleveland, but the rookie wide receiver outdid himself in his first playoff game. With 2:07 remaining, he ran a simple go-route down the right sideline and beat CB Lardarius Webb for a 58-yard catch to the Ravens 4, setting up the winning touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger went down the right side to stay away from Ravens S Ed Reed on the left. After a slight bobble, Brown pinned the ball to his helmet to make sure he had possession as he ran out of bounds. "It was a great throw and I was able to make the catch," Brown said. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity."

The Countdown

A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:

1. CLARK'S SPARK: Needing something to get going in the second half, S Ryan Clark provided the impetus when he hit RB Ray Rice after a short pass, forcing a fumble that LaMarr Woodley recovered at the Ravens 23. It took the Steelers only two plays -- a 14-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall on first down and a 9-yard pass to Heath Miller in the end zone -- to make it 21-14. "To get a big play like that, where we get the ball down in the Ravens' territory and the offense punches it in, it gave us some momentum," DE Brett Keisel said.

2. RASHARD RUNS HARD: After scoring 13 touchdowns in the regular season, Mendenhall added two more against the Ravens, the biggest when he cut back at the line of scrimmage and scored the winning 2-yard TD with 1:33 remaining.

3. BIG DROP PART I: On third-and goal from the Steelers 6, Ravens WR Anquan Boldin dropped a pass in the end zone from Flacco, forcing the Ravens to settle for a 24-yard field goal that tied the score, 24-24, with 3:24 remaining.

4. HINES SHINES: WR Hines Ward had only three catches for 25 yards, but on third-and-10 from the 35, he caught a 12-yard slant from Roethlisberger that kept alive the winning TD drive. Ward also caught the tying 8-yard TD pass from Roethlisberger.

5. BIG DROP PART II: With 1:09 remaining, down to their final play, Ravens WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped a Flacco pass on fourth-and-18 at the Steelers 36 that would have given the Ravens a first down. "By the grace of God we needed that play," said CB William Gay.

What was he thinking?

Next time someone wants to criticize Bruce Arians, consider the play-calling of Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Holding a 21-7 halftime lead, the Ravens came out throwing, not running, in the second half -- a move that will be wildly questioned in Baltimore. On their third play, RB Ray Rice fumbled a short pass from Flacco and LaMarr Woodley recovered, leading to a Steelers touchdown. Two possessions later, leading 21-14, Flacco threw on first down and it was intercepted by Clark, leading to the tying touchdown. (Once again I'm supposed to be happy because someone is dumber than the Airhead? Earth to Dulac, Belicheat is smarter than Airhead. - mesa)

Overheard

"That's Ryan. Ryan doesn't get a lot of notoriety outside of our locker room because he plays with some great players, like Troy Polamalu and others. If you ask anybody in the locker room and you watch us work at practice, this guy is a leader. And that's why it was so important that we got him back here when he was a free agent last offseason."

-- Mike Tomlin on Ryan Clark
Inside the numbers: 28
That???s the number of offensive yards by the Ravens in the second half ??? 14 rushing, 14 passing. After gaining 98 yards and nine first downs in the first half, the Ravens finished with 12 first downs and 126 yards.

Next Sunday's Opponent
The Steelers (13-4) will play in their third AFC championship game in six years at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 23 against either the Jets or the Patriots. If the Patriots win, the Steelers will play in Foxborough, Mass. If the Jets win, at Heinz Field.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11016/1118464-66.stm#ixzz1BB1COfx0