The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers faced each other this afternoon to get one step closer to the Super Bowl. Televised on CBS, the first quarter started with the Ravens on offense. Neither team did much on the scoreboard until nine minutes into the quarter when the Steelers were in the Ravens’ red zone. On second-and-goal, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall broke the plane. Pittsburgh 7 and Baltimore 0. With fewer than 90 seconds left in the quarter, Ravens running back Ray Rice made a rushing touchdown. Pittsburgh 7 and Baltimore 7. Would you believe that the Ravens would be getting another TD before the next forty seconds ended? Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had cocked his arm back and was in throwing motion when a Ravens linebacker knocked the ball loose. It hit the ground, no whistle sounded, and Ravens defensive tackle Cory Redding was the only player to realize the ball was still live. He picked up that leather baby and scooted into the end zone. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin challenged the fumble ruling and lost. Baltimore 14 and Pittsburgh 7.
The second quarter scrunched and munched to just past the halfway mark when Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco connected with tight end Todd Heap. Baltimore 21 and Pittsburgh 7. Steelers kicker Shaun Suisam attempted a forty-three yard field goal attempt with less than thirty seconds left in the second quarter. It was no good.
The third quarter spelled out flabbergasting fumblery as Ray Rice lost control of the ball and Pittsburgh recovered. Two plays later, Ben Roethlisberger threw a TD pass to tight end Heath Miller. Baltimore 21 and Pittsburgh 14. Whatever the Steelers had to hear in their locker rooms during halftime obviously worked. Their energy was revved up; Joe Flacco threw an interception in the bottom of the quarter. I’m not sure which Ravens he was aiming for but Steelers Ryan Clark ended up with the ball. A few plays later, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward made a TD catch and dive. Baltimore 21 and Pittsburgh 21.
Three minutes into the fourth quarter, the Steelers had increased their lead by a FG. Pittsburgh 21 and Baltimore 21. The Ravens FG’d too towards the bottom of the quarter, tying the score 24 to 24. Mendenhall crept into the TD with 1.5 minutes left on the clock. Pittsburgh 31 and Baltimore 24. Final score. The Steelers are one step closer to the big game.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf provided commentary.
2. I’m guessing the winter weather is the reason why the turf on Heinz Field looks like pea green soup?
3. Bottom of the first quarter: one Steelers player had wrapped the Ravens QB around the waist and was bringing him down to the grond; another Steelers player was getting into the face of a Ravens linesmen. It never ceases to amaze me the aestheticizing powers of slow-motion.
4. Mike Tomlin’s eyeballs were as big as silver dollars whenever he got a close-up in the second quarter.
5. I watched the third quarter with the game sounds muted and with my discman on — yes, I (still) have a discman. I ordered a couple of CDs (One Moment More and Long Island Shores) on Tuesday by Mindy Smith and they arrived in the mail today (from NJ to the ATL even with the snow storm that affected both areas). Kudos to the participating postal services. Why on Odin’s fuscous plains would I be doing not listening while watching a televised playoff game? I wanted to know if I would pay attention to anything different on the visual side. If so, to what extent. For instance, Slow-motion seems much slower without the sound. The Hines Ward TD in the bottom of the third went on and on and on.
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