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|11-05-2007, 03:51 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Member Number: 5886
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Man this game is going to be Good!! I hope we shut them out!
MOTIVATION. MOTIVATION, MOTIVATION!!!
PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pittsburgh Steelers are staging a 75th anniversary party Monday night, and everybody is invited. Franco and Rocky will be there, plus Swann and Stallworth, a still Mean Joe Greene and maybe a snarling Jack Lambert, too.
The living members of the Steelers' 33-man all-franchise team are the guests of honor, and no doubt they will receive an ovation that can be heard halfway to Cleveland. They might even show off their five Super Bowl trophies, shiny reminders of the Steelers' extended run as one of the NFL's showcase franchises.
The Baltimore Ravens will also be there, and they're beginning to wonder if anybody will notice until kickoff. Baltimore outscored Pittsburgh 58-7 in a pair of routs last season, winning 31-7 in Heinz Field, yet the Steelers (5-2) are big favorites to win and open up a two-game lead over the Ravens (4-3) in the AFC North.
"These are the games that you're not supposed to win. These are the opponents you're not supposed to (beat)," linebacker Bart Scott said with more than a hint of sarcasm. "What are we, 35-point underdogs? Hopefully, we can get off the bus without tripping."
Ravens coach Brian Billick recalled his daughter's days at Northwestern and how the Big Ten powers often designated the Wildcats as the opponent for their special occasions.
"We look at it as we have been scheduled for their homecoming," Billick said of the Steelers.
Some Steelers are wary of all the hoopla, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger saying he hopes the extracurricular activities don't prove a distraction. Coach Mike Tomlin doesn't appear as worried.
"I would imagine it will provide a unique atmosphere at game time, one we should be able to feed off," Tomlin said. "I would also like to think we don't need things to feed off to play this game."
The Ravens, of course, are looking for any perceived slight or motivational edge going into the most important game of the season so far for both teams.
A Steelers win assures them of owning the division lead going into the second half of the season. A Ravens victory ties up the race at the very time they are getting back many of their injured regulars, including quarterback Steve NcNair, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive tackle Trevor Pryce.
No wonder linebacker Ray Lewis wrote this on the locker room message board: "The division lead is on the line. Need any other motivation. The perfect team to claim our territory."
"The most exciting part is this is a love-hate relationship with the Steelers," Lewis wrote on his Web site. "We respect them, but we don't sit well with Pittsburgh and they don't sit well with us. It's a nasty ballgame and that's why I said there's no better team to go in and do it the way we're going in to do it. All the pressure's on them."
As usual before any Ravens-Steelers game, there has been considerable jabbering. Only this time it's not been the two teams exchanging words.
Instead, Lewis caused a stir by second-guessing Billick's play-calling during a 19-14 loss against Buffalo on Oct. 21, which came before the Ravens' bye week.
Lewis, unhappy the Ravens threw on three consecutive plays on their final possession while needing only one yard for a first down, has since tried to downplay the criticism. Billick called it "old news."
That's exactly what the Steelers are saying about last year's defeats against Baltimore, which already has as many losses as it did while going 13-3 last season.
"It's a new year. You look back on it and look at some of the schemes they ran against you, but this is a total different makeup of a team than we had last year," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "What happened last year happened last year."
Roethlisberger appears to be over the various miseries that led to his off season a year ago, when he was sacked 14 times and threw four interceptions against Baltimore. Last week, he threw twice for scores and repeatedly kept drives going by using his legs to elude the Bengals' pass rush during a 24-13 victory at Cincinnati.
There's also this: the Steelers haven't lost a Monday night home game in 16 years, going 11-0 since losing to the Giants 23-20 on Oct. 14, 1991.
The Steelers' challenge is to get Willie Parker going against the team that limited him to 51 yards in two games last season. The Ravens likewise need more production than they've been getting, scoring only eight touchdowns offensively in seven games.
The problem: the Steelers and Ravens are 1-2, respectively, in fewest yards allowed, so both offenses may have to work for every first down they get.
Sounds just like the days when Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, John Stallworth and Lynn Swann were the Steelers' stars, not Parker, Roethlisberger and Alan Faneca.
"It's going to be one of those classic games," Lewis said.
The Associated Press News Service
|11-06-2007, 07:50 AM||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: A couple of hours north of Pgh - so close and yet so far...
Member Number: 5212
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Re: 75th Anniversary
Watching last night's game was the most football related fun I'd had in a while - at least until Ben got hurt, and thank goodness, he seems to be okay!
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