Earlier on Sunday we talked about how the odds were stacked against the Steelers as they headed into Baltimore for an AFC North showdown.
After the debacle in Cleveland (that word never gets old), and so much controversy surrounding not only Charlie Batch but also the turnover problem and overall lack of offense, the order was tall for Pittsburgh and most of the media experts had written this game off.
I fully admit I was not confident in this game and for me being a devout hater of all things Baltimore; it’s been a tough week. Wondering how this team would respond in such a hostile environment and how much gas they had left in the tank, the odds were just about insurmountable…or so we thought.
Grandpa Charlie Batch, basically older than dirt in NFL years, was able to overcome a bad game last week and a rough first half Sunday evening to lead the Steelers to victory. Many are already talking about this game being the biggest regular season win in the Mike Tomlin era.
Batch went 25/36, 276 yds 1 Touchdown 1 Interception, making key throws to Heath Miller, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, and Emmanuel Sanders late in the game to engineer the last second comeback. Clearly Tomlin’s decision to go with the veteran over newcomer Brian Hoyer paid off. He did throw a costly interception to Ed Reed, that could have killed the comeback with the game tied at 20 but the defense was able to bail out the offense on the miscue and get the ball back for the game winning drive and ultimate winning kick by Shaun Suisham.
Speaking of Suisham, what can you say about the man other than he’s just been simply fantastic this season and as clutch as you can get under pressure. Has he made a believer out of you yet? Still get nervous when he kicks? I’m just about past it but I’m afraid to say it so we’ll just leave it at that.
Speaking of adversity, the Steelers Offensive Line certainly overcame that and then some tonight. Rookie Kelvin Beachum had a formidable challenge going up against Terrell Suggs and Paul Kruger. While it wasn’t all Iron City and Primanti Bros sandwiches tonight, he held his own and gave Batch enough time to get his passes off more often than not.
Maurkice Pouncey at Left Guard and Doug Legursky at Center had their hands full with guys like Haloti Ngata but again they did enough for the Steelers running backs to find holes and gain yardage. Legursky admitted previously this week that the word is out on him, he’s a better Center than Guard and Mike Tomlin was able to put him in the best position for success. What can you say about Pouncey as well, just a superb athlete who used his talent and tenacity to adjust his game when the team needed him to do so.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the best Tight End in the league as far as I’m concerned, Heath Miller. That’s not homer talk that’s just the truth, he is absolutely the most underrated Tight End in the league at the very least. Miller not only had a key touchdown, and a beautiful one at that, but he finished up with key receptions totaling 5 for 97 yds.
On defense, there wasn’t so much adversity in terms of players being injured and flipping positions but the task was no less easy even with a healthy unit, minus Lamarr Woodley.
James Harrison is seemingly as close to being fully back as you can get, registering 6 Tackles and a strip sack, with Ziggy Hood recovering the Joe Flacco fumble. Jason Worilds with another solid outing nearly had 2 sacks but Flacco was able to escape or just get rid of it at the last possible second.
Ryan Clark registered a key interception, and the secondary as a whole played solid all night long. Perhaps it was the return of Troy Polamalu as an inspiration, or perhaps it’s just them coming into their own they smothered Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and Jacoby Jones all night long. Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen especially came up big in coverage and knocking passes away.
The Ravens repeatedly went after Cortez Allen, after Ike Taylor left with an ankle injury, and while he gave up some yards and was flagged for pass interference, he made more plays than he gave up.
Overall this was just an amazing team win where everyone was counted on and responded. We’ll break down this week here on SCB so stay tuned!
If you don’t mind my indulgence for just a moment while I remove my blogger bifocals and put on my Steelers Shades….WE BEAT THEM RAVENS TONIGHT, THE STEELER NATION STUCK IT TO BALTIMORE!