A Son of Martha
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Re: Steelers-Ravens playoff chat with the PG's Jerry Micco & Ron Fritz of the Baltimo
reggie: Do the Steelers have a chance if Suggs has a dominant game?
Ron Fritz: Reggie, sure they do. Suggs has been the only pass rusher, so even if he gets two or three, I think Big Ben can survive.
Jerry Micco: If the Steelers can't handle Suggs, then it's going to make for a long day. Ben is their best offensive weapon. If he's neutralized by the pass rush, the Steelers are in big trouble.
Dan Hudson: How much will it help the Ravens Offense/pass Blocking to have Heap & Mclain back - they both missed the last game with Pitt
Ron Fritz: Dan, that's huge for the Ravens. They are a totally different team with a healthy Heap and McClain is such a good blocker.
PhillyMarty: Considering #7's tendency to hold the ball too long and both teams are not strong in QB protection, which LB/DB is most likely to get the strip sack fumble that changes the outcome of this game?
Jerry Micco: For the Steelers, that would be James Harrison.
Ron Fritz: PhillyMarty, I'm going to throw a longshot out here and say Paul Kruger for the Ravens and Harrison for the Steelers.
hamhocker: Hi Ron,would it be accurate to say that the Ravens feel second best to the Steelers, they have lost the important games to them time after time? I feel the Ravens will not have the appetite for this ravenous encounter with their masters of late. Hard to understand why Suggs thinks his team can compete with such a superior opponent.
Jerry Micco: Actually, the teams split this year, so this is the rubber match. And it'll be close.
Ron Fritz: Hamhocker, all I can say is wow. These teams are so close it isn't funny.
Suburban Rhythm: Ron, what are the field conditions and wind like in Baltimore compared to Heinz? Could these change what is a Ravens advantage in Koch and Cundiff to a push?
Ron Fritz: SR, they are both very good and they are pros. They've kicked in Pittsburgh before so unless it's really bad, they should be fine and yes, they are an advantage.
OrioleMark: If game goes to OT what do you expect winner of the toss to do? Take ball or defer?
Jerry Micco: With the new OT rules for the playoffs, it might be better to defer.
Ron Fritz: OrioleMark, I think you have to defer.
daBurgh: Is Bmore going to have a rally? Anything like the Terrible Tree the Steelers have? I just can't imagine too many cities get as excited/involved as Pgh.
Ron Fritz: daBurgh, yeah Pittsburgh's the greatest city in the world. Please. Baltimore has rallies planned all day, all over the city. They call it Purple Friday. You should try the Purple Kool-Aid.
Jerry Micco: I'm sorry, I'm thinking grape juice on that one.
Jerry Micco: Purple Friday? Really?
Ron Fritz: Jerry, I'd look like the world's biggest Oompa-Loompa if I wore purple.
Ron Fritz: Yep. I have to contain myself from wearing purple.
Ron: Flacco in the past has folded under Pittsburgh's blitz pressure, but if he brings his new found scrambling ability with him Saturday Steelers are in trouble, your thoughts.
Ron Fritz: Ron, again, nice name. Flacco has been running for his life, but I don't think he's particularly adept at it. If he can run against the Steelers that would be a big plus. They always seem to get to him.
vic weinryb: Want a game strategy for the Ravens? Step/fall on Ben's bad foot at the first opportunity!
Jerry Micco: Usually, a guy like Chris Kemoeatu can do that for the Ravens.
Ron Fritz: Vic, Suggs is going to twist Ben's foot at the bottom of the pile.
Jerry Micco: I'm thinking of you in purple and it is not pretty, Ron.
Ron Fritz: Blue and white are my colors!
The Chief: Do either of you really think the winner of this game can go to Foxboro and beat the Patriots?
Ron Fritz: The Chief, I think either team can beat the Pats. Any given Sunday.
Jerry Micco: Certainly. Either team can beat New England. Not that it would be easy or that it would happen, but it's not out of the question.
Derrel: Heap won't be as active against the Steelers as he was against the soft KC defense. I like Rice in the slot on some of the plays. He's quick and more likely to take a long one for a TD than Heap.
Ron Fritz: Derrel, Rice can indeed take it to the house from anywhere.
Jerry Micco: I think the Steelers fear Rice more than Heap. Rice has been devastating out of the backfield on passes, and the Steelers are challenged to cover him. That job may go to Lawrence Timmons, who can run very well.
PhillyMarty: Officials did not call much holding in last week's games, typical for a playoff game. Does that help/hurt one team more than the other?
Jerry Micco: If the Steelers tackles can't get away with a hold now and then, it could be a long day for them.
Ron Fritz: PhillyMarty, it helps both teams. If they can get to the QB, it could mean all the difference.
Joe: Both teams are extremely familiar with each other . However it always seems like each team will try something new. What do you expect?
Jerry Micco: The Steelers always like a little wrinkle, but I don't expect many changes for this game.
Ron Fritz: Hey Joe -- I really think the Ravens will stick to what they've done. Trick plays seem to backfire on them. They might have Stallworth run a reverse or two, if he's active.
Mitch: In the first game, Ray Rice was hurt. In the second game, he was not used much out of the backfield in passing situations. With Heap hurt at the beginning of the second game, Rice was kept in for protection purposes. Do you think he will play a much bigger role in this game? I feel he has to if the Ravens are going to win.
Jerry Micco: You cannot hold back any of your big play guys when you face Pittsburgh. So I expect Rice to play and be a big part of the offense.
Ron Fritz: Mitch, Ray Rice could be the difference in the game. If the Steelers pay too much attention to him, Heap and WRs can hurt them. If they don't lock down Rice, he'll kill them.
Steve: Jerry, why are Steelers fans so annoying? For having so much success, they sure act like whiny toddlers.
Jerry Micco: Why don't you stuff it, Steve. Now where's my pacifier? Actually, all kidding aside, they are the most passionate bunch of folks you'll ever find. And they are world wide. And like any fan base, there are always some knuckleheads.
Ron Fritz: Steve, I'll help you there. Steelers fans are born that way. My parents are Steelers fans, so I grew up hearing about their team's greatness.
Ravens1: who will play the most dominant role for both teams?
Ron Fritz: Ravens1, let's go with Reed for the Ravens and Harrison for the Steelers.
Jerry Micco: I really look for the Steelers great corps of linebackers to have a good game. I think they are the difference makers for them. Everyone looks for Troy P., so someone else is going to have to step up to make a play. For the Ravens, Boldin and Rice are true threats. If Flacco can play well, the Ravens will do well.
bob m: If the ravens lose this game, does Cameron move on??
Ron Fritz: Bob M. -- if the offense disappoints, that's very likely. Harbaugh is very loyal to his assistants, though.
Nick: Now that Flacco seems to be a little more comfortable in the pocket, do you think the team has been practicing with the WRs more to come back to the ball when Flacco scrambles in the pocket? A la Big Ben... The Steelers receivers seem to have an innate ability to come back to Ben when he scrambles...
Jerry Micco: The Steelers receivers know if they don't give him an outlet, he'll get killed, that's why.
Ron Fritz: I think they've done that all season, but Flacco rarely got out of the pocket. Honestly, he's pretty much a statue back there.
Guff: Where do you guys watch the game from?
Jerry Micco: I'll be in the press box at Heinz Field.
Ron Fritz: I'll be in the office for this one.
Big Tony: Prediction Guys?!
Ron Fritz: Ravens 17, Steelers 13.
Jerry Micco: Very tough game, and very close. A part of me likes the Ravens for special teams, but a part of me knows the Steelers win plenty of big playoff games at Heinz Field. I'll say 16-13 Steelers.
Jerry Micco: Ron, I need to wrap up, OK?
Ron Fritz: OK. I'd like to thank yinz in Pittsburgh. This has been a blast. Have fun this weekend! Take care Jerry.
Jerry Micco: I want to thank all of you for taking part in the chat. These are great and Ron is the only fellow sports editor I do this with, which tells you what this game is like for fans in both cities. It's always huge. Ron, see you down the road. Enjoy the game, everyone.