In the two days since the Ravens’ 35-7 victory over the Steelers (never get tired of typing that), I’ve heard several talking head and sports talk radio caller types droning on about how the Ravens were somehow “piling on” or “disrespecting” Pittsburgh when Sam Koch ran the ball in for two after B’More went up 27-7 early in the third quarter.
It’s not just the typical yapping blowhards though. Even some of the Steelers were apparently offended. Here’s Cheap Shot after the game:
“It leaves a taste in your mouth,” he said. “The 2-point conversion [when the Ravens led, 27-7]. The passing at the end …
“We’ll remember everything.”
Give me a break, Hiney. I know his feelings were probably just as hurt as the rest of his body was after the game, but that’s just some sour grapes whining right there.
Not only that, but that line of thinking is patently WRONG.
Far from being a sign of disrespect from the Ravens, the decision to exploit the Pittsburgh special teams in that situation was much more a show of RESPECT to them. Respect to the abilities of both their vaunted defense and their star quarterback to bring them back.
Did Hines and the rest of the “disrespect” card-playing crowd already forget what happened the last time the Ravens and Steelers met?
Just like this time around, the Ravens had 21 points at the half and the Steelers had 7. And then after four quarters, the Steelers had 31, and the Ravens had 24. One need only go back to THE LAST GAME these two teams played to find the Ravens’ justification for trying to score absolutely as many points as possible, every chance they got, on Sunday.
But hell, let’s look back at some other (Ben and non-Ben) Steelers vs. Ravens games from recent memory:
- 2008 Week 4 – Ravens hold a double digit halftime lead in Pittsburgh, 13-3. Steelers win in overtime, 23-20.
- 2008 Week 15 – Ravens lead 6-3 at the half. Steelers win 13-9.
- 2009 Week 12 – Ravens lead 14-7 at the half. Steelers force overtime before Ravens win 23-20.
- 2010 Week 4 – Ravens lead 10-7 at halftime. Steelers take the lead and Ravens need a last-minute drive to win 17-14.
- 2010 Week 13 – Ravens lead 7-0 at the break. Steelers win 13-10.
Notice a trend here? The Ravens lead at halftime, the Steelers come all the way back and at least take the lead, if not win outright.
And somehow the Ravens are supposed to be comfortable with even a 28-7 lead with 29:40 left in the game?
A three touchdown lead, in the minds of Ravens fans everywhere, could have been easily overcome by a strip-sack fumble recovery by Troy Polamalu, a deep bomb to Mike Wallace, and a Ben-wriggling-out-of-a-sure-sack to lob a 15-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller.
That one additional point, at that juncture in the game, meant that Pittsburgh would not only have to score three touchdowns to tie the game, but they would also, at some point, have to try for and convert a two-point conversion of their own. One that the Ravens would be expecting. It put the contest just that little bit further out of reach, which was absolutely the right thing to do when the opportunity presented itself.
Mike Tomlin left his starters in the game until the final snap when Terrell Suggs brought down Roethlisberger for the third time. He wasn’t giving up. So why should the Ravens stop scoring?
This is the NFL, people. The Ravens weren’t running up the score or disrespecting anybody by opting to try to go up by 22 points instead of 21 with nearly an entire half of football left to play. They were recognizing the skill and determination of an opponent that has proven time and again more than able to overcome most any deficit against them. That they were unable to do so Sunday was a testament to the fact that the Ravens never stopped trying to put them out of reach.