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Old 01-15-2011, 07:18 PM   #1
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Default Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again
14-point lead at halftime not enough in another excruciating loss to Pittsburgh
By Jamison Hensley

The Baltimore Sun

8:15 PM EST, January 15, 2011


In a rivalry defined by big hits, it was the Ravens who knocked themselves out Saturday.

A crushing third-down play in the fourth quarter and three third-quarter turnovers in their territory led to the Ravens' 31-24 self-destructing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC divisional playoff game at a boisterous Heinz Field.

The second-seeded Steelers advance to the AFC championship game against the winner of Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets. The No. 5 Ravens are headed home, and only have themselves to blame after squandering a 14-point halftime lead.

The seventh straight defeat to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was more frustrating than the rest. On third-and-19 at midfield, Roethlisberger heaved a 58-yard pass down the right sideline to Antonio Brown, who got a couple of steps behind Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb.

The devastating drive was capped by Rashard Mendenhall's 2-yard touchdown to put Pittsburgh ahead, 31-24, with 1:33 left in the game.

On the Ravens' final possession, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw two incompletions and was sacked. Their last play fourth-and-18 was an incomplete pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who just dropped the pass.

In a season where the Ravens have lived dangerously in the fourth quarter (nine times they've lost leads), their meltdown came in the third quarter this time. Three turnovers on seven offensive snaps foiled the Ravens' attempt to beat the Steelers for the first time in the postseason.

A fumble by Ray Rice (his first of the season), an interception by Flacco and a fumble by Flacco all in Ravens' territory turned into 17 points.

The Ravens had chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but mistakes again doomed them. Lardarius Webb's touchdown on a punt return was negated by a holding penalty on Marcus Smith. Moments later, wide receiver Anquan Boldin had a pass bounce off his chest in the end zone.

After the Ravens failed to take control of the game, Roethlisberger made them pay for it at the end.

The Ravens' fifth game at Heinz in three seasons had a nightmarish first 10 minutes. The Ravens, who had given up one touchdown in each of their previous two games, gave up one on the opening drive.

Helped by a questionable 37-yard pass interference penalty on the Ravens' Josh Wilson, Rashard Mendenhall punched in a 1-yard touchdown to put the Ravens in an early hole.

But the resilient Ravens proved again why they have the best road winning percentage in the playoffs since 1960, responding with 21 straight points.

The first quarter closed with two touchdowns by the Ravens in 27 seconds. Ray Rice scored on a bullish, 14-yard run, bouncing off Troy Polamalu to reach the end zone. But that was trumped by one of the strangest plays in Ravens' history and perhaps NFL playoff history.

After Terrell Suggs hit the ball out of Roethlisberger's ****ed arm, it flew forward and laid at the 13-yard line for 5 seconds with four players standing around it. Noticing no whistle had blown, defensive end Cory Redding picked it up and went uncontested into the end zone. Still, it seemed as if no one believed what had happened until the official signaled touchdown and Redding hopped high in the air.

The 13-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Redding who is in the playoffs for the first time in his eight-year career put the Ravens ahead, 14-7, with 53 seconds left in the first quarter.

Pittsburgh, which had turned the ball over 18 times in 16 games this season (which was tied for the third-fewest in the AFC), fumbled again in the second quarter. In a pile, the Ravens' Dannell Ellberbe knocked the ball from Mendenhall and Ed Reed recovered it at the Steelers' 16.

The Ravens converted another turnover into a touchdown on a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Todd Heap from Joe Flacco. Getting a pick from T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Heap was wide open in the end zone to increase the Ravens' lead to 21-7.

If there was any doubt about the Ravens' fortune in the first half, it ended with Pittsburgh kicker Shaun Suisham was wide left on a 43-yard field goal.

All that momentum was halted when the Ravens, who hadn't allowed a touchdown in the third quarter, gave up two in that quarter against Pittsburgh.

Rice's first fumble of the season led to a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller. Flacco's interception turned into an 8-yard touchdown throw to Hines Ward.

Two turnovers in Ravens' territory tied the game at 21.

Two plays after that score, Flacco fumbled the snap from center Matt Birk at the Ravens' 23. Unlike the first two turnovers, the Steelers could only manage a field goal, a 35-yarder by Suisham to give Pittsburgh a 24-21 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Ravens appeared to have taken the lead back on a Lardarius Webb punt return for a touchdown. But a holding penalty on Marcus Smith negated it. Still, the Ravens were close to going back ahead before another mistake a dropped pass by Anquan Boldin in the end zone forced the Ravens to settle for a game-tying, 24-yard field goal.



Copyright 2011, The Baltimore Sun
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

sorry i can't read it yet, im too busy going YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

if we were all at a bar there'd be a couple rounds on me guys
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

Birds were found falling in Pittsburgh..............................

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

I think the Steelers D deserves some credit. It was a heroic effort by the D.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

massive bird strike!

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:32 PM   #6
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

Why did the Ravens knock themselves out? The Steelers made the same exact mistakes that cost them 2 TDs and they didnt knock themselves out. Its called a 60 min game. Its Ravens Vs Steelers. One way or the other, it ends up being a last drive win. This game went exactly how it was suppose to be. And like usual, our QB outplayed theres is the difference....
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again


SuperBowl Wins - How many does YOUR team have?
Steelers 6, 49ers 5, Boys 5, Packers 4, Giants 4, Skins 3, Raiders 3, Pats 3, Broncos 2, Fins 2, Colts 2, Ravens 2 Bears 1,Jets 1, Bucs 1, Rams 1, Chiefs 1, Seahawks 1, Saints1
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

Guess Flacco isn't all that. After he carved up a really bad Chiefs defense last week, you would have thought he was the second coming of the great Joe Montana.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Bitter defeat: Ravens fall to Steelers again

I just have to say it again, WOOHOOO!!!
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