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Old 12-15-2008, 08:17 AM   #1
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Default Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 14 vs. Raven

Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 14 vs. Raven
Monday, December 15, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Game ball goes to:

Roethlisberger
He has been doing it most of his career with the Steelers, and he did it again against the Ravens -- taking a struggling and seemingly lifeless offense that hadn't produced a TD and driving 92 yards for the winning score with 43 seconds left. "When our backs were to the wall, we delivered," coach Mike Tomlin said. "[No.] 7 delivered." Indeed, Ben Roethlisberger completed 7 of 11 passes for 89 yards on the winning drive, and kept the touchdown play alive with his ability to reverse his field and avoid the Ravens pressure.

The countdown

A quick look at yesterday's top performances:

1. THE DRIVE FOR FIVE: No play, of course, was bigger than the winning touchdown pass to Holmes, but there were any number of big plays on the 12-play, 92-yard drive that extended the Steelers' winning streak to five games -- and ended their five-game losing streak in Baltimore. But maybe none was bigger than Nate Washington's 16-yard catch on third-and-10 at their 34, a play in which safety Ed Reed slipped as he came up to tackle Washington, allowing him to gain extra yards and get a first down. It was one of three catches for 49 yards by Washington on the final drive.

2. NATE WAS GREAT PART II: Washington, who had two earlier drops, was wide open on the left side for a 24-yard catch when the two-deep coverage followed Hines Ward up the middle of the field with 1:12 remaining. "Hines is such a big-play guy, they had to respect him," Washington said.

3. WARD TO THE RESCUE: After catching just one pass against the Cowboys, Ward finished with eight catches for 107 yards against the Ravens -- four for 64 yards on the final two possessions. His 30-yard catch-and-run to the Ravens' 26 set up a Jeff Reed field goal that cut the lead to 9-6.

4. ANOTHER LAWRENCE TIMMONS SACK: He delivered a big sack on Joe Flacco in OT in the first meeting, and he did it again -- sacking Flacco and forcing a fumble on third down at the Steelers' 27 with 3:42 remaining. The 11-yard loss knocked the Ravens, leading, 9-6, from field-goal range.

5. MAX-IMUM EFFORT: Max Starks made what might have been a game-saving tackle on Ed Reed at the Steelers' 16 after Reed, who has three scoring returns this season, scooped up a fumble by Holmes in the fourth quarter. Instead, the Ravens had to settle for a field goal and a 9-3 lead.


Inside the numbers
That's the number of turnovers forced by the Steelers in their five-game winning streak, including 12 in the past three games against New England, Dallas and Baltimore. Of those, 10 have been committed by the quarterback -- seven interceptions and three forced fumbles.

What was he thinking?
It might have seemed like a foolish penalty, and it probably was -- Jeff Reed getting assessed 15 yards for shoving Ravens cornerback Frank Walter after the extra point on the winning touchdown. That forced Reed to kick off from the 15 and gave the Ravens, after a 13-yard return, possession at their 47 with 0:43 remaining. But Reed said he shoved Walter because Walter spit in the face of holder Mitch Berger, who was standing between the players. OK, it wasn't a smart penalty. But understandable.

Overheard
"That's one of those things, you don't have to make every play, you just have to make plays when they really count. ... We never get discouraged dropping balls. We never lose the focus of the game." -- Santonio Holmes, on the big plays on the final drive

Up next: @ TITANS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY

The Steelers have lost three in a row and seven of their past eight games in Tennessee, including a 2002 playoff game. But the Steelers have a chance to claim home-field advantage in the AFC from the Titans.

X's and O's
It was a play, Roethlisberger said, intended for Hines Ward, a drag route over the middle on third-and-goal at the Ravens' 4, with just 50 seconds remaining. Instead, it turned out to be a broken 4-yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes on a play in which Roethlisberger considered running for the end zone. "The whole left side was open," he said. "Then four Ravens came out of nowhere." When that happened, Roethlisberger reversed field and threw to Holmes, who had drifted from coverage in front of safety Ed Reed.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08350/935278-66.stm
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Gerry Dulac's Two-Minute Drill: Game 14 vs. Raven

A lot of key plays yesterday. IMO none bigger than Timmons sack of Flacco and then everything the offense did on their last drive. Another big time victory. We continue to perform in the clutch and this team thanks to the tough games down the stretch will be ready physically and mentally in the playoffs. Now we just have to take away the #1 playoff seed from the Titans on Sunday.
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