Saturday, January 15, 2011

LiveBlogging the AFC Semis: Steelers v. Ravens

In the comments ... pile on.

RELATED: P-G, Michael A. Fuoco. These public transit cuts cannot be allowed to become the overarching trajectory.


  1. You know how Ike Taylor always says he's from "Swaggin'" or "Swagger University"?

    They were doing recorded team introductions on WDVE -- a little more informal than network TV -- and Ike says he's from "Swagger University. Established [somewhere] in 1980 ..." and keeps going and then breaks out into song.

    Someone needs to produce his musical one day.

  2. Tunch Ilkin reports that Aaron Smith "is so beloved in that locker room ... they want him around." This has been a mild point of strategic controversy, seeing as how Smith injured his triceps in a manner that some argue should have landed a guy on the Injured Reserve, enabling the team to save a potentially valuable active roster spot.

    But hey, he's in the locker room for the guys -- and he hasn't been ruled out for Super Bowl XLIII if we get that far.

  3. The Steelers and Heinz Field (Stadium Authority?) are rumored to have this week been pumping Renegade all around Baltimore Ravens practice areas and locker room time. Approve.

  4. They are really going on about the acoustics at Heinz Field. Right now there is Europeanish, worldish soccer music as Suisham prepares to kick off. And then came the crazy Suisham seeming tackle and the challenge. By rule, one elbow equals a knee. WDVE has declared it conclusively a tackle. Also, we could be "overmojinated". The referees are still considering all these things.

    Minutes later, referee Jeff Triplit (sp?) agrees. And Jeff Reed might not have made that tackle.

  5. Tight end Todd Heap is the x-factor here for the Ravens, that's for sure.

  6. On offense, after the first play Hines Ward got involved in a fight just exactly like he was in a hockey game -- resulting from too much "milling and loitering".

  7. And the speediest man in the NFL, Mike Wallace, bails everybody out from 1st and 25. And draws a penalty from a frustrated Raven defender. We're on the Baltimore 25.

    Ben is running, and gets us into the Heinz red zone. Isaac Redmond next lunges for the 1st down. Mendenhall gets us down to the 2. Now a 1st and goal at the 1. Craig Wolfley reports the Steelers offensive line is doing great and "turning ribcages".

    TD, Rashard Mendenhall!!!

  8. Ravens draw an offensive pass interference penalty. This game is penalty-LADEN, and clearly justifiably so. I agree, everyone is over-mojinated.

    Ike Taylor is down, and eventually only on his knees. WDVE reports he has "taken a shot to a body part which is sensitive". Everyone is pondering the situation over a commercial.

    Ike Taylor comes back in the game and gets caught on a holding call. Hines Ward, on the sideline, is looking quietly sad over that fight but vindicated over the score. The Ravens are creeping up to midfield -- Flacco throws one just over the middle. Even when there are no penalties, there are little shoving matches. These teams seem to loathe each other. Which is odd because in the media, it was a love-fest.

    Lamar Woodley SACK. Suddenly, 3rd and 15 for Baltimore. Flacco's pass is underthrown, but a very late marker comes out for pass interference. Unfortunate.

    Ray Rice with the 14-yard touchdown draw. Tie game, sevens all.

    Polamalu kind of missed a tackle there; Ray Rice just shook off his hit.

  9. @Kelso - In regards to Swag', it seems whatever is this injury, one can play through it. It might even help to take one's mind off of it.

    Steelers receive kickoff, another flag. Holding on the Steelers. These teams will eventually wear down the refs, it's only a matter of how soon.

    Baltimore's Terrel Suggs strips the ball, and the Ravens score a defense TD on the pickup. Mostly because everyone was standing around, believing it to be a dead ball. This is highly unusual.

    Coach Tomlin throws the challenge flag for the 2nd time.

  10. Coach loses his challenge, and the Steelers trail 7-14.

  11. By many interpretations, this is an intense and exciting game. At the same time there's no disputing it's a little choppy.

    Bryant McFadden has a hip injury; his return is questionable.

    Ben Rothlisberger is sacked. He limps and overthrows a receiver. Steelers punt. It's a great punt inside the 20.

  12. @Dayvoe - Heck no, I'm at Comet World Headquarters in Pittsburgh North Side's historic East Deutschtown. I'm within the fireworks-enjoying area, through.

    Steelers D is stepping up big. Up to them to set the tempo of the game, maybe. Ryan Clark nails a tackle, and Ray Rice is stopped by Ziggy Hood. A screen play goes nowhere. Ravens punt.

    Steelers are called for an illegal block to the back, and will be backed up deep -- down by 7 points.

  13. This is starting to feel like a regular new-era Steelers game. The Steelers are down by a bit early, and will need to get it done in the air to some extent.

    The Ravens get called for two penalties and are assessed for the more severe infraction. Steelers still having trouble getting anything going. Makes me think, "Go to Wallace again."

    STEELERS FUMBLE, RAVENS RECOVER. They're at about the Steelers 20. They're reviewing the play, but video replay clearly shows a fumble.

    Thus far, the Ravens are making plenty mistakes in this game, but the Steelers are making bigger, huger mistakes. We need to keep this reasonable going into halftime.

    On a big 3rd and 7th down play, Ravens achieve a gutsy pass for a 1st down. Ray Rice again. Now Willis McGahee is pushing forward. My, but these Ravens are always powerful scrappy. WE NEED TO GET AT Joe Flacco.

    Touchdown, Flacco to Todd Heap. Ravens 21, Steelers 7. Five minutes remaining in the half.

  14. Rothlisberger is sacked by Terrel Suggs. If we can't solve that, we have no particular business in the AFC Championship game.

    Delay of game penalty, offense. Our heads are not in this game in the right way. Coach Tomlin doesn't look upset so much as confused.

    Rothlisberger throws for a first down. Now we're rolling to midfield. Ben under shotgun is calling out audibles and notes, and throws another one close to the Baltimore 40. Maybe Ben needs to establish the tempo; give the D some time to process. Two-minute warning.

  15. Ben again to the 30 yard line, care of Emmanual Sanders. He looks calm. Ravens call a time-out, apparently to break up the momentum.

    A miss to Heath Miller, coming sideways. A miss over the middle. 3rd and 10. Ben gets five and we'll have to settle for a field goal try.

    STEELERS ARE GOING FOR IT on 4th and 7. No, they play some mind games and call a time-out with 1 second on the play clock remaining.

    IT'S NO GOOD. Just barely wide left. I'd almost challenge that.

    Ravens lead going into halftime, 21-7. Steelers get the ball to open the 2nd half.

  16. Am now going to chime in more infrequently so I can better clutch a Terrible Towel, like Linus on uppers.

    Harrori Nakamura sacks Ben (part of the Raven's "exotic package" ... WDVE) and the Steelers punt.

  17. Steelers D steps up huge for a big three and out -- or they would have, if the Ravens didn't totally FUMBLE AND TURN IT OVER.

    Mendenhall ambles down close to the goal line. Heath Miller TD. 14-21.

    Terrible Towels = spinach.

  18. Heinz Field PA system: Ozzy Obourne, Crazy Train.

    James Harrison sacks Joe Flacco; "Sacked by the Silverback!" Another huge no-go on a wraparound attempt. Ravens look a little stunned. Tipped ball, and the Ravens will assume punt formation.

  19. Emmanual Sanders dances the ball forward. Hines Ward continues to provoke and annoy the Ravens, and I'm going to say unnecessarily and counter-productively. Emmanual Sanders pads his resume AGAIN. I'm just sayin', here.

    Long story short: punt, touchback plus a holding penalty on the receiving team, choppiness, and Hines Ward is annoying.

  20. PICK!

    Joe Flacco thew deep and underestimated Ryan Clark by about 17 clicks.

    Steelers are down by 7 and at the Baltimore 25. Mendenhall gets some profit off of a screen.

    The Steelers are entering the Heinz red zone. Stop by your local Giant Eagle for great deals on thick and rich Heinz ketchup.

    We are getting stymied around the 8 yard line. Rothlisberger calls time-out on 3rd down.


  21. Tie ballgame, 21-21.

    The Steelers have just scored from the Heinz red zone. You too, can score with thick and rich Heinz ketchup. But I wouldn't recommend it.

  22. Larry Foote is a brick wall on kickoff coverage.

    The Ravens are basically cowering on offense. Flacco fumbles the thing and the Steelers take over at the 20.

    "Brett Keisel pulled it into his beard."

  23. 3rd and ten, starting to look like Suisham is going to get a chance to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Johnathan Scott is down and injured, possibly concussed. He was filling in for Max Starks to begin with, and the Steelers are running out of tackles. Troy Essex will be called upon to come in on his opposite side. Tunch Ilkin doesn't seem panicked about the notion.

    End of 3rd quarter. High drama.

  24. PA system: Thuderstruck, ACDC.

    Ben in the shotgun, empty-set. OH, Antonio Brown gets like nine. AND IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE GOING FOR IT WHAT? The Ravens coach tries to challenge the spot, but that's against the rules STEELERS ARE STILL GOING FOR IT. FANS BOO SOMETHING. 4th AND ONE. Ben sneaks it -- second effort looks good.


    Okay, Heinz red zone blah.

    Nothing further comes together. Ben is brought down. Shaun Suisham nails this 35-yarder through.

    Steelers lead 24-21.

  25. This game has been suffused with plot points.

    I've figured out this much about fearsome Ravens halfback Ray Rice -- he is assisted in his efforts by very fearsome Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain.

    Ravens march. Keisel comes up with a big stop. You know he was called up to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, right? He's playing like he fully realizes he's a big star now.

    HUGE TIP by Ike Taylor, Swagger University. And Flacco is chased out of bounds for like a 10 yard loss. Homie is cowering.

    Punt formation for the Ravens. Steelers ball at their own 12. We have the lead.

  26. Steelers go uber-conventional for three plays which I believe, in accordance with the Steelers Necronomicon, were called by Chuck Knoll. 3 and out.

    Ravens ball again. Flacco throws to Todd Heap gets serious yardage. Rumors that James Harrison is a touch gimpy or at least bruised.

    3rd and goal at the 6. 4:30 left in the game. Pass broken up by Ryan Clark with an assist by William Gay.

    Chip shot field goal. TIE BALLGAME.

  27. Ben is missing some targets. Mike Wallace basically has to break up an interception. 1st DOWN TO HINES!

    Now Ben gets dragged down. Emmanuel Sanders gets hammered on what would have been a nice completion. 3rd and 19; Steelers call a time-out and they have 1 left. Ravens have all 3 of their time-outs remaining.

    HUGE BOMB TO ANTONIO BROWN DOWN TO THE 4 YARD LINE!!! A 58 yard pass! Unbelievable! 2-minute warning...

  28. The Steelers are now entering the Heinz red zone. Stop by your local Giant Eagle this week, for thick and rich Heinz ketchup.

    Ben misses Hines. Mendenhall spins for not far enough. DEFENSIVE HOLDING PENALTY wow, automatic 1st down. Tunch Ilkin is like, "You never see that called, ever!" Of course he's also crowing, "It's about time."

    Looks like a bad spot. Mendenhall pushes not far enough. The Ravens now eat their 2nd time-out as the field goal unit takes the field.

    The wind is kicking up, in either of freezing drizzle or sticky snow.

    Steelers go quick-count, and Mendenhall is hit and keeps driving and driving and TOUCHDOWN.


  29. Bram, as excellent as you are as a blogger, reporter etc, I think you may have missed your career in play-by-play. Seriously.

  30. "Big Juicy" (I'm not sure which Steeler that is) took an unsporstmanlike conduct penalty, which puts the home team in the hole for its kickoff to the Ravens. Baltimore takes over inside the 50.

    Flacco misses Heap. William Gay breaks up the next one. Steelers cream Flacco on 3rd down, led by Ziggy Hood. 4th and 18...

    The Steelers PA people are playing what our announcers are insisting is "a Ravens version of Renegade"...

    William Gay breaks up the final attempt, Steelers win, Steelers win, Steelers win. 31-24.

    It is off to the AFC Championship Game.

  31. @Van - I'm getting surreptitious help on some of the phraseology from the folks at Pittsburgh Steelers Football Network. Their product is embarrassingly good.