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|01-12-2009, 11:20 AM||#1|
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Steelers vs. Ravens: Round III
Steelers vs. Ravens: Round III
Published: Monday, January 12, 2009 12:04 AM EST
Times Sports Staff
PITTSBURGH — It will be Round 3 when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens meet in the AFC Championship Game at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at Heinz Field.
“It will be a physical game, like a heavyweight fight,” Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend said. “You know the Ravens will play physical and we’ll be ready to play the same way. It will be a lot of fun.”
The Steelers won both regular-season meetings with the Ravens to win the AFC North, posting a 23-20 victory in overtime in a Monday night game at Heinz Field on Sept. 29 then rallying for a 13-9 victory at Baltimore on Dec. 14 that clinched the division title.
The Steelers advanced to their third AFC Championship Game in five years by beating the San Diego Chargers 35-24 on Sunday in a divisional playoff game at Heinz Field. Baltimore posted a 13-10 road win over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday in Nashville.
“The one thing about playing the Ravens is that you know what’s going to happen,” said Steelers linebacker James Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. “They know us and we know them. There are no secrets. We’ll just go after each other.”
The Steelers are the No. 2 seed in the AFC but will host the championship game because the top-seeded Titans got knocked off.
“The road to the Super Bowl leads through Pittsburgh and we’re all excited about playing at home next week,” wide receiver Santonio Holmes said. “It’s huge to be playing in front of our fans.”
The Steelers beat the Ravens in front of their home fans in September as Jeff Reed kicked the game-winning 46-yard field goal with 8:55 remaining in overtime.
The Steelers won despite rushing for just 69 yards as running back Willie Parker missed the game because of injury. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 192 yards and linebacker LaMarr Woodley returned a fumble 7 yards for a touchdown, offsetting 137 yards receiving by the Ravens’ Derrick Mason.
The Steelers pulled out the December game in Baltimore with 43 seconds left as Holmes caught the winning 4-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to complete a 12-play, 92-yard drive. Roethlisberger finished with 246 yards passing but the Steelers were held to 91 yards on the ground.
“It’s going to be a battle to play a team three times in one year, especially a divisional opponent,” Roethlisberger said. “It’s going to be one for the ages, I have a feeling.”
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