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Old 12-24-2006, 04:23 AM   #1
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Default Steelers seek revenge for last loss to Baltimore

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, December 24, 2006


The Steelers want to put last month's 27-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens behind them.
Today's rematch between the AFC North rivals at Heinz Field could be just what the Steelers ordered.

This will be the Steelers' fourth game since their most-humbling performance in years. The Steelers have crafted a season-high three-game winning streak and look nothing like the team that was held scoreless for the second time this season.

Unlike a month ago, the Steelers are running the football successfully on a consistent basis and not facing third-and-long situations that contributed to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger being sacked nine times in the first Baltimore game.

Running back Willie Parker, who this week was named to his first Pro Bowl, has rushed for 355 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games, removing some of the pressure from Roethlisberger, who is throwing less during the winning streak.

The Steelers amassed 172 total yards against the Ravens on Nov. 26 at M&T Bank Stadium. During their first five possessions, the Steelers faced 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-19, 3rd-and-19 and 3rd-and-16 and failed to convert each time.

Baltimore put the game out of reach early and led, 17-0, at halftime.

"We put ourselves behind the eight-ball all day long and just enhanced everything that we were doing wrong," Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca said. "They were able to tee off and try all kinds of new things on us."

In consecutive wins against Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Carolina, the Steelers did a much better job of avoiding those dangerous third-and-longs. They were a combined 25 of 47 on third down, after going 1 of 12 against Baltimore.

Moreover, Roethlisberger, who was battered and bruised by the Ravens and knocked out of the game briefly following a vicious second-quarter sack, has been sacked only four times during the winning streak.

"We've been doing a better job on first and second down. We've been doing a good job making 3rd-and-makeables," Faneca said. "Third-and-4, 3rd-and-5 is definitely a good situation compared to 3rd-and-8 or more.

"We're staying on the field. There were times we weren't able to stay on the field long enough to get a rhythm going, to try new plays and get a chance for (offensive coordinator) Ken (Whisenhunt) to see what works. Now we're doing that."

The Steelers need their current offensive trend to continue against Baltimore's sophisticated stunts and blitzes taught by defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, who's teaching elements of the 46 defense developed by his father, former NFL coach Buddy Ryan.

Baltimore has an intimidating, physical defense led by veteran linebacker Ray Lewis that can also be extremely complex and confusing.

"It has a lot to do with Rex putting us in positions to make plays," said Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce, who had two sacks in the first meeting. "Teams have to worry about all of our talent, where we're going to attack you. That stuff wears on an offense."

The first time the teams played, the Steelers didn't cross midfield until the third quarter.

The Steelers rushed for only 21 yards, and Roethlisberger was forced to throw 41 times and he had a fumble returned for a Baltimore touchdown.

"They move around a lot. They do a good job. They give you some really different looks," coach Bill Cowher said. "We kind of pride ourselves on it; they have done a nice job of taking it to another level. They really do a good job of disguising and bringing different people from outside, from inside and they move around. Certainly, we are going to have a better plan than we had last time."

The Steelers have worked on Baltimore's various blitzes and stunts. Faneca expects a few more gimmicks to be added for today's game, but he believes the Steelers have made strides lately.

"It wasn't the looks, but the situations we kept putting ourselves in," Faneca said. "It's not like we were getting those looks and we were having trouble with the noise, dealing with what they were giving us. That's what they do. We've just always done a good job of not having to face it like that the entire game."
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Old 12-24-2006, 06:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers seek revenge for last loss to Baltimore

I believe this game will be a little different, will we win or lose? I dunno but I think that our boys have learned from the last game and I hope that it carries over and we can put a little more pressure on McNair this time around. If we dont then our defense will have a hard time again and they will have success against our secondary which is definitely still our shakiest spot on the field..
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers seek revenge for last loss to Baltimore

They're looking for payback. And I think they'll get it.
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Old 12-24-2006, 10:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers seek revenge for last loss to Baltimore

The Steelers want to put last month's 27-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens behind them.
Today's rematch between the AFC North rivals at Heinz Field could be just what the Steelers ordered.


Let`s get it on!
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